The International Steam Pages

Second oil-fired steam loco for Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The following reports originally appeared in The Hindu newspaper in India. I reproduce them without comment.....

TIRUCHI, MARCH 8 . The Golden Rock Railway Workshop here crossed yet another milestone today when it despatched a new oil-fired steam locomotive 
to the Darjeeling Hill Railway (DHR). The narrow gauge B-Class locomotive is the first of the three meant for the DHR to roll out of the Golden Rock premises.

This is the first time a steam loco has been manufactured in the workshop, which was hitherto carrying out only repairs to steam engines. 

TIRUCHI, MARCH 1 . After making modifications in the newly manufactured oil fired steam locomotive for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here is all set to despatch the engine to Darjeeling.

Final touches were being given to the heritage engine at the workshop where it was manufactured last year. Of the two locomotives made here last year, one is being sent for trial runs in the hilly terrain of Darjeeling.

The chief workshop manager, G.R.K. Raju told The Hindu that the modified locomotive would be despatched in a week to enable trial runs in the DHR section before the beginning of the tourist season. The locomotive had been modified without changing its "heritage look." A team of technical personnel from the workshop are already in Darjeeling to oversee the trials. The locomotive manufactured at a cost of nearly Rs. 2 crores weighs 15 tonnes.

Modifications to the oil-fired locomotive had been incorporated based on the feedback received after trials conducted on a rehabilitated loco at Siliguri near Darjeeling.

The modified locomotive had been fitted with steam automised burners developed by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd here. Four such burners have been fitted in the locomotive to reduce noise pollution. BHEL has taken a patent for the burners.

Further, the reservoirs and compressors are "hidden" to bring back the old look of the locomotive. New "economisers" have been introduced in the smoke box to enhance the efficiency of the boiler. The need for an oil-firing system was felt following apprehensions from the Forest Department that a flying spark or hot cinder from a coal-fired locomotive could trigger a forest fire.

The capacity of water in the saddle tank had been increased from 1,800 to 2,100 litres without compromising on the look of  the engine. The locomotive has been provided with a 5-kilowatt generator for lighting arrangements and an air brake system. The decibel level of sound in the generator set has been brought down to five to reduce noise pollution and suit the environment of the DHR section.

The new loco, with a 900-litre capacity diesel tank, can haul two to three coaches at a speed of 20 km in the hilly terrain. Mr. Raju said based on feedback after the trials, further modifications would be made in the other locomotive. 

TIRUCHI, JULY 28 2004. The Central Workshops, Golden Rock here, has manufactured the second oil-fired, steam locomotive for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). 

Christened "Himanand", the new narrow gauge locomotive has been manufactured with certain modifications and special features for better performance in the hilly terrain. Weighing about 15 tonnes, the loco, belonging to the "B Class" type, has been manufactured at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crores over one and half years. Both "Himanand" and "Himrathi", first oil-fired steam loco, also manufactured in the workshop in December last, will be sent to the DHR in three weeks, the Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer (Production), V. Ramachandran told The Hindu today. Trial runs of the two locomotives would be done on the DHR lines. "Himanand" has pre-heating arrangement for water to improve boiler efficiency. Further, the reservoir of the compressor has been relocated to retain the original shape of the loco. It resembles the original steam loco used on the DHR lines, years ago. 

Improved design 

Explaining the special features of "Himanand", Mr. Ramachandran said it was provided with a compressed air brake as a safety measure. Provision was made for a generator set to provide power to the pumps to enable circulation of water for supply of fuel oil to the burner. Besides, provision of a deflector plate in the firebox of the boiler was made. The design of the firebox had been improved for optimum heat transfer. The small engine with four-wheel discs and two axles had a fuel tank with a capacity to hold 900 litres of diesel, besides a water tank with a capacity of 1,800 litres. Mr. Ramachandran said the initial steam loco drawings were given by the North Frontier Railway and new components were designed by the Golden Rock Workshop. The Railway Board had entrusted to the workshop the task of manufacturing three oil-fired steam locomotives for the DHR, based on its experience in manufacturing locos for the Nilgris Mountain Railway. (Actually they have never built a complete locomotive to the best of my knowledge. RD) Prior to manufacturing the locos, an existing engine was brought from the DHR and converted into an oil-fired loco at the workshop here. 

Rob Dickinson