Oil Fired engine for Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Fired up by the British, the Indian Railways is hoping to get third time lucky in its attempts to get the steam-run Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) oil-fired.

After two failed attempts with Himanand and Himrati — oil-fired engines developed at Golden Rock Workshop in Tiruchirapalli — the railways is now trying out the locomotive 1001 B, developed in consultation with Ffestiniog Railway, the 175-year-old narrow-gauge railway in the UK.

Engine 1001 B is now at the DHR loco shed at Siliguri Junction. M. Vishwanathan, a junior engineer from Golden Rock, arrived here today to oversee the experiments being carried out at the shed. Cederic Lodge, a trained engineer with Ffestiniog Railways, who reportedly helped the workshop with the designs, also paid a visit. “So far so good,” he said. “There are some problems, like the one with the safety valve, but they can be fixed.”

Lodge has volunteered to act as an consultant to the Indian Railways free of cost. “I prepared detailed designs of oil-fired engines for the DHR and gave them to the Golden Rock engineers. I have also prepared a detailed manual on how to operate an oil-fired engine for the drivers,” he said.

Mehtab Singh, divisional railway manager of Katihar, Northeast Frontier Railway, has welcomed Lodge’s offer.

The railways plans to introduce oil-fed steam locomotives on the Kurseong-Darjeeling-Kurseong route, the joyride between Darjeeling and Ghoom and all chartered rides.

The oil-fired engines have the same look and “feel” of the age-old coal-fed steam locomotives. However, they will cause less environmental pollution — diesel being more eco-friendly than coal — and also bring down running costs.

Source: The Telegraph