The Diesel Loco Shed here has become the first railway shed in Southern Railway zone to home EMD-type high horsepower diesel locomotives.

Of the 15 EMD locos allotted to the Tiruchi shed by the Railway Board, two new engines were formally commissioned on Friday making it a red letter day for the over 30-year-old shed. The rest of the locomotives would be sent in batches over the next eight months.

Manufactured at the Diesel Loco Works, Varanasi, based on the transfer of technology from General Motors, USA, the two locos would be utilised for hauling freight wagons from Karaikal Port to various destinations. Equipped with micro processors, the 4,500 horsepower EMD locos are longer than the ‘Alco' diesel locomotives with higher fuel and lube oil capacity. The EMD locos have better fuel efficiency than the conventional engines.

The new locos, each weighing 126 tonnes, can run at a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The EMD locos are sent for periodic overhaul once in 18 years, unlike Alco engines which are sent for overhaul once in eight years.

The Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi P.V. Vaidialingam told ‘The Hindu' that the Tiruchi Diesel Loco Shed was the first in Southern Railway zone to home EMD locos. The other diesel loco sheds are located at Tondiarpet in Chennai, Erode and Ernakulam. The new locos would be sent for field trials before being deployed for operation, he added.

Infrastructure facilities would be created at a cost of Rs.14 crore to maintain the EMD locos at the Tiruchi shed, which homes over 120 locomotives including 85 broad gauge diesel engines at present. Senior officials of the shed were present on the occasion.