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Business News/ News / India/  What makes WAG-12B Indian Railways the most powerful locomotive? Top features
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What makes WAG-12B Indian Railways the most powerful locomotive? Top features

The WAG-12B electric locomotives are revolutionizing freight transportation in India by increasing speed and reducing maintenance costs.

WAG-12B locomotive of Indian Railways (Photo provided by Alstom)Premium
WAG-12B locomotive of Indian Railways (Photo provided by Alstom)


The fully electric WAG-12B locomotives are amongst the most powerful freight engines globally and are pivotal in transforming the landscape of freight transportation within the nation. It is designed to enable faster and safer movement of freight trains. With a power output of 12,000 HP, it possesses the capability to pull loads exceeding 6,000 tons at top speed of 120 km/h.

These electric locomotives are twice as powerful, compared to its immediate predecessor WAG-9, and have effectively doubled the average speed of freight trains in India. The WAG-12B elocos are equipped with HealthHub™, an ingenious strategy that integrates cutting-edge digital technologies to analyse train data. This provides us with valuable insights into the real behaviour of trains and infrastructure in the field. This will help to enhance performance and refine maintenance processes.

The eight-axle configuration enhances performance while reducing energy usage and maintenance expenses. Moreover, they incorporate specific elements to ensure seamless operations in challenging conditions like humidity, dust, and extreme temperatures. Unique features such as climate control systems, air conditioners, food preparations, storage facilities and toilets have been introduced into Indian freight trains through these locomotives. The spacious cabins also offer enhanced comfort, enabling loco pilots to operate with greater efficiency.

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How is WAG-12B helping in reducing maintenance cost for Indian Railways?

In the WAG-12B electric locomotives of Indian Railways, state-of-the-art predictive maintenance tool called HealthHub goes beyond conventional mileage-based maintenance. It adopts a condition- based predictive approach, which is a step further than routine or preventive servicing. This approach contributes to the optimization of lifecycle costs. Backed by innovative data capture solutions like TrainTracer™, HealthHub significantly prolongs the operational lifespan of various rail equipment. This, in turn, leads to a substantial reduction of up to 20% in preventive maintenance labor and up to 15% in materials consumption.

How are these e-Locos helping in changing the freight transportation by Indian Railways, specially with DFCs becoming operational?

With elocos, the biggest transformation that is driven by Indian Railways in freight transport is towards sustainability and a positive impact on the environment. The WAG-12B elocos offer exceptional ergonomics, safety, economical life cycle, and high recyclability, rendering them an appealing and sustainable option for improving freight transportation. Its usage plays a vital role in reducing air pollution and fostering the growth of a greener transportation system. Equipped with propulsion technology based on Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT), these e-Locos will have considerable savings in energy consumption with the use of regenerative braking.

Additionally, this technology enhances the efficiency of the acceleration process by minimizing heat generation and traction noise. These locomotives have played a pivotal role in alleviating congestion on heavily utilized rail tracks by substantially enhancing the average speed (by atleast 20-25 kmph) and increasing the loading capacity (from 22.5T axle load upgradable to 25T axle load) of Indian freight trains. The locomotives are capable of running seamlessly on major freight routes, including DFCs, to enable faster and safer movement of heavy freight trains.

Thus, facilitating swifter and more secure movement of substantial freight trains. With a fleet of 310 eLocos in commercial service, this endeavor has not only boosted train speeds but has also unlocked fresh prospects for local industries, thereby supporting India's rapid economic growth through faster and safer freight transportation.

*This article has been drafted based on the information shared by Alstom. The company is currently manufacturing these WAG 12B locomotives 100% indigenously, under a joint venture with Indian Railways.

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Published: 25 Sep 2023, 08:41 PM IST
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