Now, Central Railway gets battery-operated engines

Published: 20 October, 2020 10:19 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Named WCAS Meghdoot, the locomotive, built at a cost of Rs 12 lakh, has been able to pull 60 empty wagons that is 1,400 metric tonnes at 20kmph in one stroke

Battery-operated locomotive
Battery-operated locomotive

Nearly a century after they were first attempted, battery locomotives are back in action. A battery-operated locomotive that can pull heavy trains has finally been successfully developed by the Central Railway.

Named WCAS Meghdoot, the locomotive, built at a cost of Rs 12 lakh, has been able to pull 60 empty wagons that is 1,400 metric tonnes at 20kmph in one stroke and can work up to two to three hours without diesel or wired sections, depending on the load.

This is an improvised version of a similar experiment conducted in June 2020, when a loco called Garuda was built which could pull just 300 metric tonnes and run at 10kmph.

In 1927, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CIR) had imported two battery-powered shunters from England for use in yards at Mumbai. After that, in 1987, the Central Railway had used battery-electric locomotives on the Gwalior lines, after three units were built by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.

“Both Garuda and Meghdoot have been built by the Central Railway team in-house at Bhusawal division. The main advantages of Meghdoot are easier maintenance, no need of coupling extra loco for non-wired sections, environment friendly as it eliminates the need of diesel loco and generates a saving of approximately Rs 3 lakh per month,” Central Railway’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said.

New public amenities

The Central Railway also announced public amenities in pink shade dedicated for women commuters. Launching a pink washroom with sanitary napkin dispensing machine, Nirbhaya room (with a baby feeding and diaper changing room), selfie point and watering facilities at Mulund station on Sunday morning, officials said these facilities will soon be extended to other stations.

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