Freight Locomotives Approved for 120km/h Operations in India

The WAG 12B electric locomotives, manufactured by Alstom, are the first freight locomotives approved for operations at 120km/h in India.

The 12,000 HP locomotives have received their official approval by the Ministry of Railways and RDSO to run at a top speed of 120km/h. Earlier in 2020 Indian Railways started inducting the WAG 12B electric locomotives. They are the most powerful locomotives operating in India. They have together already travelled more than one million kilometres.

An Alstom WAG 12B electric locomotive for India
An Alstom WAG 12B electric locomotive for India

The WAG 12B is capable of hauling up to 6,000 tons of freight at its maximum speed of 120km/h. This model is to be deployed on some of the major freight lines of Indian Railways, including its Dedicated Freight Corridors. The fleet of WAG 12B electric locomotives should raise the average speed of freight trains in the country by 20–25km/h.

Alain Spohr, Managing Director Alstom India & South Asia, said:

“The approval from RDSO is indeed a matter of pride for all of us at Alstom and a testimony of our technical expertise in partnership with the Indian Railways. In line with India’s push towards self-reliance, we have successfully leveraged our local engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Alstom is also committed to support IR in reducing its carbon footprint and adopt cleaner technologies in its quest to transform into the world’s largest Green Railway network. India is a priority for Alstom, and we are committed to work closely with the Indian Railways for all their future modernization endeavours.

“Equipped with Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) based propulsion technology, it would lead to considerable savings in energy consumption due to use of regenerative braking. The technology is also helpful towards making the acceleration process more efficient by reducing the heat generation and traction noise. Additionally, this move will not only bring down operational costs, but also reduce the congestion faced by Indian Railways.”

The locomotives are broad gauge units (1,676mm) and use 25kV overhead lines. They are built at the electric locomotive factory in Madhepura, Bihar.

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