R. Rajaram

Golden Rock Workshop to despatch first loco in December 2010

TIRUCHI: Preliminary work connected with the manufacture of four new oil-fired steam locomotives for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) has commenced at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here.

Alongside embarking on the task of procuring major sub assemblies required for the oil-fired steam locos, the workshop has simultaneously commenced “in-house” manufacture of certain small components for the engines.

The Railway Board has chosen the workshop for manufacturing the oil-fired steam engines as it had the designs and the necessary technical know-how for carrying out the work.

Periodic Overhaul (POH) of the steam locomotives that are currently in operation in the Mettupalayam – Udhagamandalam hilly terrain section are done at the over 75-year-old Workshop.

Various vendors have been approached for the procurement of major sub assemblies such as boilers, cylinders and frames for the manufacture of new steam locos that will belong to the “X” class, workshop authorities here told The Hindu.

Rs.40 crore sanctioned

The Railway Board has already sanctioned Rs.40 crore for the manufacture of four oil-fired steam locos. The first steam engine would roll out in December 2010, the authorities said, adding that efforts would be made to advance the delivery.

A senior official said that of the seven steam locos that were in operation in the over 100-year-old NMR metre gauge section, two engines had already been converted from coal to oil-fired by changing some components in the locos.

The work of converting two more steam locos from coal to oil-fired was currently on at the workshop.

The engines have been brought to the workshop for POH, which is done once in four years.

The steam locos would be fitted with on-board generators for running the burners, water and oil pumps and blowers. The official said that one oil-fired steam loco would be dispatched shortly and the other by March.


Conversion of coal into oil-fired system has some benefits as it would prevent forest fires that could be caused by embers flying out from the loco. Secondly, manual lifting of coal and putting it into the boiler would also be done away with. An oil-fired loco would require only one fireman accompanying the loco pilot, whereas coal-fired engine requires two firemen other than the loco pilot.