by: S. SHANKAR
16 Apr. 1853 - 16 Apr. 2002
With most of the trunk and major traffic carrying routes having been electrified, the juiciest assignments are now under the wires. Most of the important trunk routes and supertrains are now hauled by electrics.
Notwithstanding the attempt by the diesel lobby to trash the very basis of electrification, the powerful electric lobby lunges forward regardless. The wires are spreading at a considerable pace, and over 25% of the total route miles of the IR are already electrified. With the trunk routes already energised, barring the Bombay- Madras and Howrah -Madras routes, the electrification pundits are now turning their attention towards unelectrified patches and important connecting lines, so that there is no need for dual traction in such areas. Sure enough, electrification is the mode of traction of the future.
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A selection of images of electric locomotives in India.
|1. The shunting master hitches a ride on a WCM/3 engine # 20075 at Lonavla. Shot in 1992, the engine was withdrawn from service the following year.|
|2. A WCAM/3 unit prepares to Leave Poona in Nov. 1997 with the Shatabdi Express to Bombay.|
|3. A WCG/2 running light at Kamshet near Lonavla. Note the 'LV' plate on the buffer beam.|
|4. A rare pic of the first WAP/1 prototype, just out of the works circa 1980. The engine probably never entered service in this form. Note the parking/tail light assemblies fitted in a vertical positon, the rounded headlight casing without tap changer assembly, and the absence of remote control cables. The marker lamps were later refitted in a horizontal positon, and m.u. control cables were also added in later. (Scanned from the Indian Airlines inflight magazine 'Namaskar' circa 1981).|
|5. A WCM/5 shoots past at Kamshet near Lonavla with the very late running Indrayani Express to Poona. Note the rare twin-collector pantograph on a WCM/5, and also the fact that the front panto is up.(1992).|
|6. A pair of WCG/2s await banking duties at Karjat in April 1996. The WCG/2 were given the standard CR blue/cream after serveral decades:the WCG/2s were usually painted full blue. (See pic. # 3 above).|
|7. An elderly Crocodile WCG/1 (EF/1) enters Bombay VT in May 1992 with the empty rake of the Deccan Queen for the train's 1710 departure to Poona.|
|8. A WAG/4 shoots past Basin Bridge Junction in the early morning as she approaches Madras Central with the Bokaro Alleppey Express. This engine is from the Tatanagar loco shed, as is shown by the humanoid logo of that shed, emblazoned on the loco side. (seen just below the station sign.) (Photo by Shriram Chellappan.)|
|9. Another WAM/4 about to give way to a diesel at Renigunta. This engine has hauled the 1063 Dadar Express from Madras Central. This is a slightly modified version of the WAM/4: the 6P means all six motors are connected in parallel. (Photo by Apurva Bahadur.)|
|10. A lonely WCG/2 stabled at Lonavla shed awaits the call of duty in April 1996.|
|11. A dramatic dusk shot of trains in electrified territory. (This pic appeared as a cover of the 'Business World' magazine circa 1977).|
|12.A rare pic of a WCM/4 hauling the Deccan Queen over the Bhore Ghats. Built by Hitachi in 1958, the WCM/4s were the last imported engines in India to have noses (bonnets) at each end. After an entire lifetime hauling freights, barring a brief fling with passenger trains as seen in this photograph, all the WCM/4s have now (2000) been withdrawn from service.. (This pic appeared in the India supplement of the local Khaleej Times newspaper in Dubai circa 1986.)|
|13. WCM/3 # 20073 prepares to leave Poona in 1977 with the local train to Lonavla. Initially built for the 3000 V dc lines out of Calcutta, these engines were transferred to the Bombay area after conversion of the Calcutta area to 25000 V ac.|
|14. A freshly painted WCM/2 enters the Poona loco shed. I shot this from a passing train in 1992. The English Electric built (1957) WCM/2s were also transferred to theBombay area after an initial stint on 3000 V dc in the Calcutta area. All have now been withdrawn from service.|
|15. As replacements for all the WCM class of engines are these sturdy bi-current WCAM/3 locomotives, outshopped in 1997. They now handle all passenger services in the Bombay area, which is now under conversion to 25000 V ac. Against a backdrop of the Le Meredian Hotel, a WCAM/3 21942 is seen here leaving Poona in July 2000 with the Bangalore-Bombay Udyan Express.|
|16. Prior to the advent of the WCAM/3s were the dual current WCAM/2 class. These units however work at a substantially lower power in dc territory, and are now confined to the Western Railway lines out of Bombay Central, which serve a relatively level line, unline those out of Bombay VT, which encounter the arduous ghat lines of Bhore and Thull. Here a WCAM/2P is seen at Virar on the WR. She is hauling the Ranakpur Express to Bikaner.|
|17. A goods version of the WCAM/3 is now (2000) coming in, classed WCAG/1. Here, a pair of WCAG/1s run through Poona Jn. in July 2000, returning light to Kalyan after having brought in a heavy freight train from Bombay.|
|18. Back to the straight dc engines: A nose job? Close-up of the nose of WCM/2 20177. Note that the engine has just undergone a nose job: the top part of the nose has been cut open, and then crudely sealed with tar.|
|19. A dual current WCAM/3 runs through lush green and positively rural scenery just outside Poona's suburban Shivajinagar station, with the Bombay bound Pragati Express in July 2000.|
|20. In ac territory, here is a pic of a WAP/1-FM II (later re-classed WAP/3) locomotive, with the Bhopal Shatabdi Express. These are actually WAP/1 engines fitted with high speed bogies, and are capable of 160 kmph. Only a handful of WAP/3s were built. The older WAP/1s are still being built, and are rapidly taking over fast express operations.|
|21. AdTranz beauties now rule the roost with India's fastest trains being put in their charge. With 5,000 hp packed into a dimunitive Bo-Bo frame, the imported WAP/5s will soon be built in India. (1999). This one is at the end of the platforms on a wet day at New Delhi station. (Photo by I.S. Anand).|
|22. A goods version of the WAP/5 was not far behind, and the WAG/9s were born. These are of Co-Co design with 6,000 hp under the cover.Also imported, the first home-built ones have already been outshopped.(1999). An upgraded passenger version (tentatively classed WAP/7) is also on the cards. Here is a WAG/9 at Delhi. Some of these have been built in India, and have been classed WAG/9H. (Photo by Nikhil Arora).|
|23. Here is a picture of the passenger version of the WAG/9. These are classed WAP/7. Primarily Indian innovations based on the WAG/9 design, two of these units have been turned out so far: they are undergoing trials on the ER. They are intended to haul heavy 24 to 26 car trains at 130 to 140 kmph. (Photo courtesy: Sujeet Mishra/Satish Pai).|
|24. In the meantime, heavy 24 to 26 car superfasts are being hauled by these WAP/4 units. While these engines were externally identical to the earlier WAP/1s, the newer units (2001) are being offered with better streamlining, and a smooth front profile. Just like the imported WAP/5 and WAG/9, the indigenous WAP/4s too have recessed twin beam waist level headlights. Here is one of the modersn WAP/4s. This particular unit has been fitted with dynamic brake equipment on the roof. The latest WAP/4s are being built with crash resistant pillars in the cab. (Picture from the Indian Railways Magazine, circa Apr. 2002.)|
|25. A lineup of WAM/4 electrics going through the works at the Chittaranjan Loco Works in Eastern India. (Scanned from the Indian Airlines inflight magazine 'Namaskar' circa 1981).|
|26. Active blast from the past: an elderly crocodile WCG/1 (EF/1) performing shunting duties at Lonavla in 1980.|
For more pages on Indian electrics, please consider the following links:
[My IR 150 Years page]
[My DC Mania page]
[My AC Unleashed!!! page]
[Scores of electric links from my Superlinks page]