Nilgiris steam locomotive is now diesel powered – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

COIMBATORE: The Steam Loco Shed, Coonoor in Nilgiris has converted the UNESCO recognized Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) (No.X-37398) which is an oil-fired Class X steam to a high speed diesel locomotive since ce latter is more environmentally friendly.

According to railway sources, the heating oil is very viscous, sticky and dirty to handle, which makes the locomotive and its surroundings unclean. It is also difficult to handle in Coonoor because the low temperature increases its viscosity. In addition, the locomotive driver and firefighters are forced to work in the heat and feel suffocated, especially inside the tunnels. Apart from that, the oil contains high sulfur content which is harmful to the environment, sources added.

Meanwhile, HSD is less viscous and produces less heat providing finer control and atomization, and fumes in the driver’s cab are reduced. The fuel can also be fully used in this type of locomotive.

A Salem Railroad Division official said: “Pollution is reduced because heating oil contains 2.7% sulfur while HSD fuel contains only 0.01% sulfur. Carbon deposit, Ashes and other sediments settling on parts of the locomotive like the combustion chamber, smoke tubes, smoke tubes, etc., would be greatly reduced, keeping the train cleaner and easier to maintain.

“The modification was done in-house within 3 lakh. The estimated cost of this work by a third party was 22 lakh. The conversion is technically done, but further trials to test fuels that produce less heat will be done,” the official said.

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Jose P. Rogers