The third new oil-fired steam locomotive meant for the Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR) is expected to roll out from the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here before mid-January.

Similar to the second steam loco dispatched in February this year, the third loco has also been fitted with an all-welded boiler instead of a riveted design boiler equipped in the first loco.

Major works involved in the manufacture of the third steam loco have already been completed and the engine would be tested at the workshop before being dispatched for operation.

The metre gauge steam loco, belonging to ‘X’ class, would also be equipped with two water tanks made of stainless steel.

Workshop authorities here said 80 per cent of the works for manufacture of the third loco has been completed and the engine was expected to be dispatched before Pongal.

Barring the boiler, the rest of the components required for the manufacture of the steam loco have been produced at the workshop which is engaged in a myriad of activities including manufacture of container wagons and periodic overhaul of diesel engines and passenger coaches. Around 2,000 to 3,000 components had been utilised for the manufacture of the third loco.

Low viscosity furnace oil would be used as the main fuel for the oil-fired steam locomotive, which can run at a speed of 30 kilometres per hour in the plains and 15 kilometres per hour in the gradient.

The loco has been provided with pinion arrangement to operate on the hilly NMR section that has a rack bar arrangement in the stretch from Kallar to Coonoor. Passenger coaches are hauled by a diesel engine in the remaining stretch from Coonoor to Udhagamandalam.

Officials said the two oil-fired steam locos sent earlier were working well, adding that the fourth would be dispatched in June.

The Railway Board had entrusted the over 80-year-old workshop with the task of manufacturing four new oil-fired steam locos for use in the NMR section and sanctioned Rs.40 crore for this work. The new oil-fired locos are replacement for the over-aged steam locos already in use in the NMR section.

Locos to Myanmar

The authorities said the workshop would be exporting four more MG diesel locos to Myanmar after carrying out necessary modifications in them.

Two locos have been readied and would be dispatched to Myanmar before this month. The remaining locos would be sent before April next year.