In what is great news for environment lovers and green activists, the Indian Railways has revealed plans to manufacture dual mode engines that will work on both electric as well as diesel. The engines will be based on designs that are already operational in countries like South Africa and the US and will mark a first for the Indian Railways working on a project of this sort.
In the first phase of the project, the Indian Railways will be manufacturing five units of the dual mode locomotives and will be produced from the Diesel Locomotive Works located in Varanasi. The engines will have a 4500 Horsepower capacity.
Presently, more than half of India’s trains depend on diesel to run and when electrification is done on the routes, the electric engines are allowed to take over. However, with the presence of the dual mode engines, the need to switch over will be done away with and the engines can continue to operate normally on all routes once they have been electrified. As per reports, the cost of the engines will be about Rs.18 crore, which is a fair amount above the Rs.13 crore required to manufacture a diesel locomotive with the same capacity.
The engines are likely to be heavier than the diesel variants and are expected to come with a 135 kmph top speed. The plan is being worked on initially by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) following which, it will be given over to the DLW for manufacturing on a trial basis.
When it comes to diesel locomotives, the engine tends to be the powerhouse whereas in case of electric engines, the power is generated through a pantograph which is placed on the roof of the vehicles in order to draw power.