पटियाला Patiala: Innovation in railway engines could soon move to the next level with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-driven locomotives set to turn into a reality. Patiala-based railway engine manufacturing unit has started pre-production exercise to manufacture LNG locomotives, which would be the first of its kind in the country.
The dream to manufacture country’s first LNG driven engine has moved beyond embryonic stage as Diesel Loco Modernization Works (DMW), a unit of Railways, has floated tenders to purchase the equipment required to manufacture the engine.
“It has been decided that the country’s first LNG driven railway locomotive will be manufactured in this unit. We have already moved beyond the planning stage. We have invited tenders from international companies to provide us some equipment, which we will use while manufacturing the locomotive”, HK Kala, chief administrative officer, DMW, told.
“If all goes according to plan, we will be able to manufacture first such engine in next 1-2 years that would be subsequently run on trial. Rationale to manufacture such a locomotive is to conserve fuel cost, increase efficiency and make locomotives more eco-friendly”, added Kale.
Pulling equal load with same speed, the LNG-based locomotive will cut per unit running cost by 40% compared to the running cost of a diesel engine, said a senior DMW engineer, who is supervising the project.
“The first engine would be of 3300HP capacity, which would be sufficient to pull a long distance passenger train,” he added.
He said initial cost of the locomotive would be around Rs 20 crore, which is nearly double than a diesel locomotive manufactured in DMW. It costs Indian Railways around Rs 11 crore to manufacture a new locomotive with latest techniques at its Patiala unit.
A separate LNG chamber, nearly similar to the size of engine itself, would be attached behind the engine. This chamber would be of around 11,000 litre capacity which would be sufficient to run a train up to a distance of around 1500km.
The engine is same as that of diesel engine. The only difference is the type of fuel injectors. “For ignition, LNG-driven engine will require diesel as a fuel. However, once started, the engine would run on LNG. So we require injectors that can inject both diesel and LNG. This is the major item we have sought to purchase through tenders,” said an engineer.