The railway board had earlier sanctioned Rs 9 crore to the workshop for creating the new coal-fired loco. Shyamadhar Ram, chief workshop manager, said, “This is an X-class steam loco with rack and pinion system, made exclusively for NMR track. This is the first such meter gauge coal-fired loco being manufactured here.”
More than 50 technicians were involved in making the steam loco and many of its parts were locally sourced. Most of its key components were developed through reverse engineering as drawings of the old coal-fired locos weren’t available, the official said.
Weighing about 50 tonnes, the locomotive was run for 100m in the workshop with rack bar arrangements as a trial.
“Now, polyurethane painting work for the loco is underway. The engine will maintain the heritage look with the symbolic ‘NMR blue’ colour. It will be taken to Mettupalayam on August 25,” Ram said.
A Guatam Srinivas, Salem divisional railway manager, said the new loco would be operated between Ooty and Coonoor. “Trial runs will be conducted after the loco arrives at Mettupalayam. Only after that, it will be operated on the NMR section.”
K Natarajan, managing trustee, Heritage Steam Chariot Trust, said the indigenous coal-fired loco was a great achievement and NMR lovers were happy about the same.
Golden Rock Railway Workshop had manufactured four indigenous oil-fired locomotives for NMR a decade ago.