Electrification Effects: Codal Life of Diesel Locomotives Reduced – WDG4x, WDP4x Avoid Death Row, For Now

Grappling with a large surplus of diesel locomotives, the Indian Railways has slashed their codal life from the earlier 36 years to 30 years.

The move is subject to these locomotives being declared surplus by the Traffic Directorate.

The Railway Board has instructed disposal in working condition or after removing useful spares and assemblies for use on other locos.

A multi-disciplinary committee was constituted by the Railway Board to review codal life of diesel locos. The Board’s decision to reduce codal life follows the recommendations of the committee.

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The ageing ALCo design based WDM2, WDP1, WDP3A and WDM3A classes are likely to go on the chopping block first. These account for a total of 1,173 units out of the 5,482 diesel locomotives on Indian Railways as of 1st October 2020.

Minimization of financial impact

In a letter to General Managers of all Zonal Railways, the Board has prescribed that higher horsepower and more efficient locomotive classes should be the last to be phased out.

Disposal of locos is to be done in a manner that extracts maximum financial output from the process, according to the Railway Board’s instructions. The methodology to be followed to derive financial values has not been clarified.

Condemnation of such locos would be done as per the Railway Board’s extant policy, the committee said.

EMD and GE/Wabtec units live to fight another day

This implies that WDG4G and WDG6G class diesel locomotives, currently being manufactured at the Marhowra plant of GE/Wabtec, and the large fleet of GM/EMD design WDP4x and WDG4x units will be around for a while on the Indian Railways network.

As on 1st October 2020, Indian Railways held 236 GE/Wabtec produced WDG4G units in its fleet. Another 2,459 units are of the EMD platform based WDG4 and WDP4 classes. Together, these relatively modern ‘high-horsepower’ locomotives form almost half of the Indian Railways diesel fleet of 5,482 units.

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The GE/Wabtec plant at Marhowra in Bihar continues to churn out new units as of now.

Rapid electrification of the Indian Railways network has meant a growing number of surplus diesel locomotives with zones. The Railway Ministry had earlier asked for a speedy reduction of the diesel locomotive fleet by 2,500 units.

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  1. I think modernization is very necessary, But, in my view existing loco must be used optimaly to reduce the loss of public property. These locos must be used for other purpose. Many locos ,which are bunching are even not crossed their codal life.

  2. As i was born in the year 1993 in South Central Railway region, i hadn’t got much chances to travel in Steam Locomotive hauled trains as we got upgraded to diesel by that time.

    Tonight, i dream of steam locomotives, as i can’t travel in trains hauled by them, missed of steam whistles. I still watch those holy steam locomotives virtually, thanks to those videographers for preserving them in YouTube.

    In coming future, our grandsons dream about Single cab and dual cab Alco (WDP-3A’s) and watch chugging Alco’s virtually.

    I’m lucky, i had experienced live actions of chugging Alco’s and humming EMD’s.

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