Rolling Stock - II

Freight Wagons

Q. What are the loading gauge restrictions (maximum dimensions) on IR wagons?

Please see the 1971 standards for rolling stock dimensions and also the older, 1929 standards for rolling stock dimensions. Also of potential interest in this connection are the dimensions of tracks.

Q. How are freight cars classifed by IR?

The following codes are used now for classifying freight cars. The classification scheme is not entirely systematic. Older wagons especially have codes that are not easily explained in this way. But in general an optional gauge code is followed by a type code which is followed by an indication of the coupler and whether the wagon is air-braked.

  • Gauge code
    • M : (prefix) MG
    • N : (prefix) NG
  • Wagon type code
    • B : (prefix) Bogie wagon (sometimes omitted)
    • BV : Brake van
    • V : Brake/parcel van (see above for brake van codes)
    • O : Open wagon (gondola)
    • C : Covered wagon (boxcar)
    • F : Flat car
    • FK : Flat car for container transport
    • FU : Well wagon
    • LA : Low flat car with standard buffer height
    • LB : Low flat car with low buffer height
    • LAB : Low flat car, one end with low buffers, the other with high buffers
    • R : Rail-carrying wagon
    • T : Tanker (additional letters indicate material carried)
    • U : Well wagon
    • W : Well wagon
    • K : Open wagon: ballast / material / refuse transport (older wagons)
    • C : Centre discharge
    • S : Side discharge
    • R : Rapid (forced) discharge, bottom discharge
    • X : Both centre and side discharge
    • X : (also?) High sided
    • Y : Low (medium?) side walls
    • L : Low sided
    • H : Heavy load

The ‘B’ indication is sometimes omitted as all new wagons are bogie stock.

Following the type code in the classification code a letter may denote the type of coupler, nowadays optional, as all new freight cars are fitted with centre buffer couplers (CBC). An 'N' suffix is for 'pneumatic', or air-braked wagons. Most newer stock that is air-braked also has CBC couplers, so the 'C' is usually dropped. E.g., BOXN for air-braked BOX wagons, not BOXCN. Almost all the older stock is vacuum-braked.

  • Coupler, brake, and other suffixes:
    • C = Centre buffer coupler (CBC)
    • R = Screw coupling only
    • T = Transition coupler (CBC with additional side buffers and screw coupling)
    • N = Air-braked
    • M = (suffix) Military

Most wagons are made of steel, except for a few special-purpose wagons. Some specialized wagons have been made with stainless steel or special steel alloys to reduce corrosion. Some Recently [12/04] with the rising price of steel IR has been looking into using steel substitutes, and plans have also been drawn up for the production of aluminium-body wagons (see BOBNAL, BOBRAL below). It is thought that about 750 aluminium wagons will be built in 2005-2006. Interestingly, some of these are said to be of a 4-wheel design. The tare weight is expected to be reduced by about 4.2 tonnes. A few aluminium wagons are already in use on a trial basis. Aluminium wagons besides being of a lower cost and having a lower tare weight, also have the advantage of suffering less corrosion in many circumstances. A typical rake with aluminium wagons instead of steel ones would carry almost 240t more goods.

As seen in the permanent way section, many BG routes have rails that allow axle loads of up to 25t, or in many cases 22.5t. However, normal operating procedures on IR restrict BG wagons to 20.3t of axle load. Now [3/05] it has been proposed that this be raised to 23t.

Descriptions of some wagon types follow below.

BOX High-sided bogie open wagon. Side discharge arrangement. 55 ton capacity, 25 ton tare. Used for coal and other bulk goods. About 7,000 of these are in use [2006]; this class is in decline since the advent of the BOXN and other variants. There used to be over 14,000 of these in the 1990s, and about 8,800 as late as 2005. BOXT, BOXR, and BOXC are the same with transition, screw, and CBC couplers, respectively.

BOXNBOXN wagon. Picture from Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Ltd.BOX variant: High-sided bogie open wagon with pneumatic brakes, high tensile CBC couplers, CASNUB cast steel bogies, cartridge tapered roller bearings. Perhaps the most common wagon, there are around 64,000 or more of these in use [2002-2006]. Used for bulk movement of material commodities (coal, iron ore, stone, etc.).

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare22.47t
Payload (RDSO spec.)58.81t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)64+2 = 66t (RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)86.47+2 = 88.47t
Capacity56.3m3
Width3.2m
Height3.225m
Length over headstock9.784m
Length over coupler faces10.71m
Distance between bogie centres6.524m
Standard rake size (2007)59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)4809.3t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)5399.32 (BOXNM1) A.L. - 22.9 tt
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5233.53t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60 (CC+8+2), 75 (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)80 (CC+8+2), 80 (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)60km/h (CC+8+2), 75km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)80km/h (CC+8+2), 80km/h (CC)

AAR 'E' high-tensile coupler with high-capacity draft gear. CASNUB 22 NLB Cast Steel bogies. Air brakes and parking brakes. Rated speed 80km/h (some older ones were rated at 75km/h).

BOXN-HA The BOXNHA type is a BOXN variant with improved bogies and higher capacity, fit for 100km/h. (Suffix 'HA' = 'high axle load'.) Uses IRF 108HS cast steel bogies with secondary suspension, CBC couplers, and single-pipe air brakes. The wagon is similar to the BOXN wagon in length and width, but taller by 225mm. Rake loads rise to 3783t from the 3411t of ordinary BOXN wagons.

These wagons were designed for higher speed (100km/h) operations with higher axle loads (22.1t for coal, 23.5t for iron ore). 301 of these wagons were produced between Nov. 1999 and March 2000 and at first allocated to the Hospet - Chennai section. However, the track on this section could not handle the higher axle loads (the wagons required 52kg 90 UTS rails) and upgrade plans were dropped, so the decision was made to run the BOXN-HA wagons with reduced loading and stop the manufacture of more of them. About 400 more of them were eventually manufactured before production was halted permanently. RDSO later developed the BOXN-HS variants (see below) which later became more widely used for high-speed iron ore and coal loads. BOXN-HA production has not resumed although now many main line sections have 60kg rails and are quite capable of handling the wagons' higher axle loads. It appears that the poor condition of some bridges and other track structures may have been the reason behind halting the BOXN-HA production. Had this wagon come into general use, freight rakes of 5220 tonnes could have been run. These wagons number about 731 as of 2006.

Max. axle load22.9t
Some variants 23.5t.
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner14
Tare23.17t
Payload (RDSO spec.)65.23t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)66+2 = 68t
(RC 102/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)88.40t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)91.17t
CapacityNA
Width3200mm
Height3450mm
Length over headstock9780mm
Length over coupler faces10713mm
Distance between bogie centresNA
Standard rake size (2007)59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)5229.4t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5392.8t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60km/h (22.9t), 100km/h (20.32t)
RDSO design speed (empty)65km/h (22.9t), 100km/h (20.32tkm/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP (22.9t), 75km/h (20.32t)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP (22.9t), 100km/h (20.32t)

BOXN-HS BOXNHS wagons are converted BOXN wagons fitted with CASNUB HS high-speed bogies raising the max. speed to 100km/h. Developed by RDSO after the BOXN-HA wagons didn't work out; it has a 8% lower capacity compared to the BOXN-HA. Many BOXN-HS wagons have been seen [8/05] with a name, 'Pragati', stenciled on them. It is not known whether these represent some sort of class name or a variant design.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner12
Tare22.47t
Payload (RDSO spec.)58.81t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)64+2 = 66t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)86.47+2 = 88.47t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstockNA
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centresNA
Standard rake size (2007)59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)4809.32t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)5399.32 (BOXNHSM1) A.L. - 22.9 tt
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5233.53t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60km/h (CC+8+2), 100km/h (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)65km/h (CC+8+2), 100km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP (CC+8+2), 100km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP (CC+8+2), 100km/h (CC)

BOXN-HL BOXNHL wagons are like BOXNHS wagons but about 250mm longer, and made of stainless steel and cold rolled sections. Air-braked, CBC couplers, roller bearings.

Max. axle load22.9t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner14
Tare20.6t
Payload (RDSO spec.)71.0t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)70t
(RC 29/2009)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)91.6t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)90.6t
Capacity61.05m3
Width3250mm
Height3301mm
Length over headstock10034mm
Length over coupler faces10963mm
Distance between bogie centres6690mm
Standard rake size (2007)58
(RC 05/2009)
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)5326.6t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5268.6t
RDSO design speed (loaded)75km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)100km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP

BOXN-CR BOXNCR wagons are corrosion-resistant BOXN wagons built with 3CR12 stainless steel (a proprietary version of grade 409 stainless steel). Only about 580 of these (10 rakes) have been built so far [4/02] as part of ongoing service trials. Note: In 2006, IR's published statistics reported holdings of only 286 of these wagons; it's not clear whether this is a clerical error or whether nearly 300 of them have been retired/scrapped in recent years.

BOXN-LW The BOXNLW wagons are low-tare-weight BOXN wagons ('LW' = 'low weight') The tare weight is reduced by 1.8t compared to BOXN wagons, and the payload correspondingly increased by the same amount. This wagon has a stainless steel body to reduce corrosion. About 250 of these (4 rakes) have been bult so far [12/04] as part of ongoing service trials Air-braked, CBC coupler, roller bearings..

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare20.41t
Payload (RDSO spec.)60.87t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)-
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)-t
Capacity61.09m3
Width3250mm
Height3341mm
Length over headstock9784mm
Length over coupler faces10713mm
Distance between bogie centres6524mm
Standard rake size (2007)59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)4809.32t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)-t
RDSO design speed (loaded)75km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)100km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP

BOXN-AL BOXNAL wagons are BOXN wagons with an aluminium body on top of a steel underframe. The aluminium alloy is 'RDE-40', also used in the BOBR-AL wagons. These wagons are naturally lighter and allow a higher payload to be carried for the same axle load.

BOXN-EL The BOXNEL wagons are BOXN wagons with 'enhanced loading' features, designed for transporting coal, ores, etc. CASNUB 22NLC bogies, CBC couplers, single-pipe air brakes.

Max. axle load25t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner14
Tare22.47t
Payload (RDSO spec.)75.73t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)75+2 = 77t
(RC 109/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)98.0t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)99.47t
Capacity56.29m3
Width3200mm
Height3233mm
Length over headstock9784mm
Length over coupler faces10713mm
Distance between bogie centres6524mm
Standard rake size (2007)59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)5795.8t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5882.5t
RDSO design speed (loaded)45+5km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)60+5km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)45km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)60km/h

BOXN-25M BOXN variants produced by Golden Rock Workshops (2012) designed for a 25t axle load and correspondingly higher carrying capacity. Swing motion bogies.

BOXS BOX wagon with side discharge / flap doors, siding roof (rare)

??? (Code not known) [12/06] New low-height BOXN variants have been seen coupled in sets of 5 wagons just like the BLCA/BLCB formations (q.v.). Each coupled group of 5 wagons has a CBC at either end. Within each group the wagons have slackless drawbars connecting them to one another. Like the BLCA/BLCB, these are expected to allow IR to carry taller loads without running into problems with height clearances.

BCN Bogie covered 8-wheeler wagon, CASNUB bogies, air-braked, CBC. Originally developed in 1984 for carrying bagged commodities. Original model had entirely riveted construction. This variant has undergone some changes over the years. Newer ones have snubbers and nested coil springs under bolster, elastomeric pads, with secondary suspension system.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare27.2t
Older: 25.9t
Payload (RDSO spec.)54.08t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)61+1 = 62t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)89.2t
Capacity104m3
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstock14500mm
Length over coupler faces15429mm
Distance between bogie centres10000mm
Standard rake size (2007)41
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3346.28t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)3674.28 (CC+6+2)(BCNM1)
A.L. - 22.9t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3671.8t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60km/h (CC+6+2), 75km/h (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)80km/h (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP (CC+6+2), 75km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)

BCNABCNA wagon. Picture from Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Ltd. The BCNA wagon, also known as 'BCN/A', is a variant of the BCN design was developed to be less long but increased height to keep the capacity the same. It has welded construction compared to the original BCN which was riveted. BCNA wagons are covered bogie wagons (capable of being made water-tight for delicate commodities) with cartridge tapered roller bearings, cast steel bogie, air brakes. Two doors on each side. Uses BCN design's 2-tonne overload capacity. Also very common, there are more than 42,000 of these in use [2006]. Used for foodstuffs, cement, etc. (but see the BCCN wagon below, especially for cement transport, and BCX, which are also used for bulk food transport).

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare24.55t
Payload (RDSO spec.)56.73t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)63+1 = 64t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)88.55t
Capacity106.5m3
Width3200mm
Height4017mm
Length over headstock13521m
Length over coupler faces14450mm
Distance between bogie centres9500
Standard rake size (2007)43
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3508.8t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)3852.8 (CC+6+2) (BCNAM1)
A.L. - 22.9t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3555.8t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60km/h (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)80km/h (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP (CC+6+2), 75km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)

AAR 'E' high-tensile coupler with high-capacity draft gear. CASNUB 22 NLB cast steel bogies. Snubbers and nested coil springs under bolster, elastomeric pads, etc., with secondary suspension system. Air brakes and parking brakes. Rated for 80km/h.

BCNA-HSBCNA-HS wagon at Nagpur. Photo by Alok Patel, 2003.BCNAHS wagons are a modified design of the BCNA wagons with CASNUB HS high-speed bogies raising the max. speed to 100km/h. These wagons are characterised by a patch of red/white horizontal stripes on the top left.

 

 

BCCNBCCN wagon. Photo by Apurva Bahadur. BCN variants for carrying bulk cement. Loading is through ports at the top; unloading via chutes at the bottom.

BCCN/BCCNA/BCCNB Automobile Carriers

A few wagons also marked BCCN like the cement carrier class noted above are actually single- or double-decker wagons intended for carrying automobiles; these have a low platform with 840mm wheel diameter and are fitted with air brakes. Only about 50 of these are thought to exist [4/02]. The explanation of the class code is that they are thought to have been made by taking old BCCN wagons and modifying them. Also see 'NMG' below. They were built in 1997 by the Golden Rock Workshops based on designs from RDSO, and were intended to carry Maruti brand automobiles. These come in two varieties, 'A', and 'B', classified BCCNA and BCCNB. More recently [11/04] another variation, BCCNR (BCCN-R), has been spotted - see separate entry below.

BCCNR Automobile carrier wagons introduced in 2004. these are single-deck covered wagons with 10t capacity and 28.5t tare weight, and a low platform with 840mm diameter wheels. Some of these were limited to 65km/h but later were apparently approved for 100km/h. These were designed to capture more automobile traffic, especially from the south where many automobile plants are, following the introduction of different car models by various manufacturers in recent years which could not be carried on the original wagons (taller and bigger cars can now be carried). These were built starting in 2000 after some trials of in early 1999 of several variant designs proposed by RDSO. BCCNR wagons are not thought to number more than about 35.

NMGNMG wagon. Photo by S Shankar. These are not narrow-gauge wagons, despite the classification code! These are usually single-decker automobile carriers constructed out of old ICF and BEML passenger stock. The design is not entirely uniform but generally all the windows and doors are welded shut, and a new end door created to allow vehicles to be driven into the wagon (or former coach!). Some NMG wagons are made from old double-decker passenger stock and are thought to allow double-deck carrying of automobiles. A few NMG units converted from old BCCN (cement wagons) have also been spotted. The class code 'NMG' stands for 'New Modified Goods'; but at the time of its introduction it was also common to hear the explanation that it stood for 'New Maruti Goods' (Maruti is an Indian car manufacturer).

 

 

 

Other Automobile Carriers

Several other converted coaches have been used for carrying automobiles. CONCOR has recently [1/05] announced plans for a 'CARTRAC' service to carry automobiles. This appears to use the old coaches from rakes of trains like the Gujarat Exp., formerly vacuum-braked, modified by welding the side doors shut and adding openings at the ends to load cars. A movable ramp guides cars into one of two decks and then folds away when the wagon is in motion.

BCX Water-tight covered high-sided bogie wagon with cast steel bogies. Cartridge taper bearings on newer ones. Snubbers and nested coil springs under bolster, elastomeric pads, with secondary suspension system. Used for foodgrains, cement, etc. (BCXT, BCXR, BCXC are variants with transition couplers, screw couplers, and CBC) Around 18,000 of these are in use. CASNUB cast steel bogies. There are over 7,700 of these [2006]. The class is in decline - there were 9,200 of these in 2004.
Tare27.2t
Payload54.1t / 104m3
Axle load22.9t
Length over headstock14.5m
Height3.79m
BOY Low-sided bogie open wagon, CBC 91.4 tonne load. Used for iron ore transport, etc. There are about 880 of these [2006]; the class is somewhat in decline - there were over 900 of these in the late 1990s.
Max. axle load22.9t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner10
Tare20.71t
Payload (RDSO spec.)71.49t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)72+1 = 73t (RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)92.2t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)92.71+1 = 93.71t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstockNA
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centresNA
Standard rake size (2007)53
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)4900.4t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)4980.43t
RDSO design speed (loaded)65km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)80km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP (22.9t ) 65km/h (20.32t)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP (22.9t ) 80km/h (20.32t)

BOY-EL BOYEL wagons are low-sided bogie open wagons - a BOY variant for 'enhanced loading'. Designed for transporting coal, ores, etc. CASNUB 22NLC bogies, CBC couplers, single-pipe air brakes.

Max. axle load25t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner14
Tare20.71t
Payload (RDSO spec.)77.29t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)77+2 = 79t
(RC 109/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)98.0t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)99.7t
Capacity37.8m3
Width3134mm
Height2450mm
Length over headstock11000mm
Length over coupler faces11929mm
Distance between bogie centres7330mm
Standard rake size (2007)53
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)5207.8t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5297.9t
RDSO design speed (loaded)45+5km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)60+5km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)UP
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)UP

BOBS Open hopper car with bottom/side discharge (often used for ballast and ores) Similar to the BOBR/BOBRN wagons, except that the discharge is to the side (clear of the tracks). Underside doors on the wagons are operated pneumatically, and can be controlled by a lineside triggering mechanism. The various 'BOB' variants together number about 1,500 wagons.

Tare30.4t
Payload61.2t, 34m3

Length 11.6m, width of carbody 3.02m, height 3.3m. AAR 'E' high-tensile coupler with high-capacity draft gear. CASNUB 22 NLB cast steel bogies. Air brakes and parking brakes. Rated for 100km/h.

BOBS-NM1 Open hopper car with bottom/side discharge, variant of BOBS with different suspension and allowing a higher axle load of 25t. Used for ballast and ore transport. Several BOBS wagons were converted to BOBS-NM1 in 2006-2007.

Max. axle load25t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer14
Spring grouping per bogie - inner14
Tare30.4t
Payload (RDSO spec.)67.6t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)68+2 = 70t
(RC 109/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)98.0t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)100.4t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstockNA
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centresNA
Standard rake size (2007)53
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)5207.8t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)5335t
RDSO design speed (loaded)45+5km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)55+5km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)45km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)60km/h
BOBYNBOBYN wagon, Nov. 2000. Photo by Apurva Bahadur.Open hopper car with side-bottom discharge, for carrying stone, track ballast, etc. These are air-braked.
Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare26.78t
Payload (RDSO spec.)54.5t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)59+2 = 61t
(RC 13/2007 )
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)85.78+2 = 87.78t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
Height3.05m
Length over headstock10.718m
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centres7.47m
Standard rake size (2007)53
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)4321.64t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)4666.14t
RDSO design speed (loaded)75km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)75km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)-
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)-

These wagons have the usual CASNUB 22 NLB bogies and newer ones are provided with CBC, although there are still many with transition couplers.

BOBC Open hopper car with bottom/centre discharge

BOBX Open hopper car with both bottom/side and bottom/centre discharge

BOBR Open hopper car with rapid (pneumatic) bottom discharge doors. Same as BOBRN (see below) except that they have vacuum brakes and are rated for lower speeds (80km/h?).

BOBRNBOBRN wagon. Picture from Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam, Ltd.Open hopper car with rapid (pneumatic) bottom discharge doors, air-braked. BOBRN and BOBR (see above) are most often used for carrying coal to thermal power plants, and also for ore, stone, track ballast, etc. Each wagon holds some 60t of coal loaded from the top and unloaded from the bottom by means of the pneumatically operated doors. The contents of the wagon can be discharged completely in about 15 seconds.

The door-opening mechanism is triggered by lineside devices running on a 24V or 32V DC source. As the wagons in a rake pass by the triggering devices, their doors open and their contents are unloaded into the pits below the tracks (the 'merry-go-round' system). The versions used by the power plants have 12 bottom doors, whereas IR uses variants that have 8 doors.

Max. axle load(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 8
Tare(CC+6+2)UP
(CC) 25.6t
Payload (RDSO spec.)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 55.68t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 60 +2 = 62t
(RC 13/2007 )
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 85.6+2 = 87.6tt
Capacity57.2m3
Width3.5m
Height3.735m
Length over headstock9.671m
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centres6.79m
Standard rake size (2007)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 59
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)UP(CC)
(CC+6+2) 4809.32t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)UP(CC)
5281.32t (CC+6+2)
A.L. -22.9 tt
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 5182.2t
RDSO design speed (loaded)UP (CC) 60km/h (CC+6+2)
75km/h (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)UP (CC) 70km/h (CC+6+2)
70km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 60km/h
(CC+6+2)UP(CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)(CC+6+2)UP(CC) 65km/h
(CC+6+2)UP(CC)

Length over coupler faces 11.6m. AAR 'E' high-tensile coupler with high-capacity draft gear. CASNUB 22 NLB cast steel bogies. Air brakes and parking brakes. Rated at 100km/h. (Power plant versions without air brakes are rated at a lower speed.)

Some BOBRN wagons have been made of aluminium (BOBRAL / BOBR-AL). In these, the underframe is made of steel while the rest of the body is made of aluminium. The maximum axle load is the same as that of the regular BOBRN (20.32t), but the tare weight is reduced by 3.2t and the payload correspondingly increased by the same amount. The aluminium alloy used is 'RDE-40', and has 4% zinc, 2% magnesium, 0.35% manganese, and 0.15% zirconium.

BOSTAn open bogie wagon, for carrying finished steel products, but also used for coal, stone, etc. BOST-HS is the high-speed version.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare25t
Payload (RDSO spec.)56.28t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)61+2 = 63t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)86+2 = 88t
CapacityNA
Width3.1m
Height3.08m
Length over headstock12.8m
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centres8.8m
Standard rake size (2007)43
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3508.84t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3797.8t
RDSO design speed (loaded)60km/h (CC+6+2), 75km/h (CC)
RDSO design speed (empty)65km/h (CC+6+2), 80km/h (CC)
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)Under process (UP)
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)Under process (UP)

This has the usual CASNUB 22 NLB bogies (high-speed version fitted with CASNUB HS bogies), and non-transition CBC. Air-braked.

BFK Early version container flat car

BKFX Container flat car for domestic 5-ton containers. Improved BFK with CASNUB bogies (not much used now with the move to standard containers).

BFKI Container flat car for ISO containers, with retractable anchor locks. Originally fitted with vacuum brakes. CONCOR bought about 1300 of these from IR in 1997-1998 and retrofitted them with air-brakes and put them to use on its domestic container traffic routes ('Contrack'). The ones fitted with air-brakes were generally reclassified 'BFKN' (see below). In all, there are about 1,571 of these now [2006].

BFKN Converted BFKI flat cars with air brakes and CASNUB bogies. See 'BFKI' above.

??? (Code not known) Special flat wagon.

Tare 30t, payload 90t. Length 11.93m, width of carbody 2.8m, height 1.49m. AAR 'NT' CBC. UIC bogies. No continuous brakes, parking brakes only. Rated at 25km/h.

BFNS Special flat wagons for transport of steel (coils, sheets, etc.) and also used for transporting rails. Air-braked. CASNUB 22 NLB bogies. Max. speed 100km/h.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare23.63t
Payload (RDSO spec.)57.65t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)62+2 = 64t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)87.63t
CapacityNA
Width3045mm
Height2650mm
Length over headstock13716mm
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centres9144mm
Standard rake size (2007)40
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3265t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3519t
RDSO design speed (loaded)100km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)100km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)75km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)100km/h

??? 'Crop' wagon for steel plants. Flat platform for finished steel goods, with low sidewalls.

Tare 25t, payload 55t. Length 8.33m, width of carbody 2.66m, height 2.19m. Screw coupling, no continous brakes (only parking brake). Diamond frame bogies. Limited to 25km/h.

BFR Bogie flat rail-carrying wagon (64 tonne load)

BFU Bogie flat type wagon : for transporting motor vehicles.

BOM Bogie open military wagon.

BRHBogie rail-carrying flat car with roller bearings. This has end-plates that can be removed.

BRH wagon. Photo by S Shankar.BRH wagon carrying an NG locomotive. Photo by Apurva Bahadur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRHT Bogie rail wagon, heavy load (80 tonne load), with UIC bogies, transition coupler

BRN Developed in 1994 as an improvement on the older BRH wagon. Air-braked wagon with CASNUB bogies, for rails and steel products and similar heavy loads. These were originally built with 58t capacity, but around 2,200 of them are being downgraded [10/02] to 48t capacity. BRNA-HS is the high-speed version of these.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare24.39t
Payload (RDSO spec.)56.88t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)63+2 = 65t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.28t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)89.39t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstockNA
Length over coupler facesNA
Distance between bogie centresNA
Standard rake size (2007)40
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3265t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3589.4t
RDSO design speed (loaded)65km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)75km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)65km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)75km/h

BRNA A variant of the BRN wagon developed in 1992. Air-braked, CBC couplers, roller bearings.

Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outer12
Spring grouping per bogie - inner8
Tare23.54t
Payload (RDSO spec.)57.91t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)62+2 = 64t
(RC 13/2007)
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)81.45t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)87.54t
CapacityNA
WidthNA
HeightNA
Length over headstock13716mm
Length over coupler faces14645mm
Distance between bogie centres9144mm
Standard rake size (2007)40
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)3271.8t
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2) NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)3515.4t
RDSO design speed (loaded)65km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)75km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)65km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)75km/h

BRST Bogie rail-carrying wagon, with transition coupler.

BTO Bogie tanker wagon for heavy oil, furnace oil, etc.

BTORX, MBTORX Bogie tanker wagon for vegetable oil, and its MG variant

BTP, BTPNBTPN tanker.The most common bogie tanker wagon seen today. Used primarily for liquid petroleum products (petrol, naphtha, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil, etc.), and also for molasses, vegetable oil, etc. An enhanced version, the BTFLN, has been developed recently (see below). The payload to tare ratio for this tanker is 2.0. There are about 7,300 of these [2006].

Tare27.0t
Payload54.28t / 70.4m3
Axle load20.32t
Length over headstock11.491m
Length over coupler faces12.42m
Height4.265m
Width3.126m
Distance between bogie centres8.391m

Inside diameter of tanker is 2.85m. CASNUB 22 NLB bogies, CBC non-transition couplers. BTPN variants are air-braked.

BTFLNImproved frameless bogie tanker wagon, successor to the venerable BTPN (see above) [2004]. Used primarily for liquid petroleum products (petrol, naphtha, kerosene, diesel, furnace oil, etc.), and also for vegetable oil and other liquid cargo. The BTFLN wagon was developed by RITES in collaboration with Azovmash of Ukraine. The tankers are frameless and have no center sill. The tractive and buffing forces are taken up by the barrel body itself, so that it is subject to biaxial stresses. The tare weight is lower than that of the BTPN by nearly 3.5t, and the payload is higher for the same axle load. The payload to tare ratio rises to 2.4 with this tanker.

Tare23.53t
Payload57.75t / 76m3
Axle load20.32t
Length over headstock11.491m
Length over coupler faces12.42m
Height4.265m (?)
Width3.126m
Distance between bogie centres8.391m

Inside diameter of tanker is 2.85m. CASNUB 22 NLB bogies, CBC non-transition couplers. BTPN variants are air-braked.

BTCS Bogie tanker car for caustic soda.

Tare26.0t
Payload55.28t / 38.75m3
Axle load20.32t
Length over coupler faces9.78m

Width 2.56m, height 4.11m. Inside diameter 2.3m. CASNUB bogies, CBC.

BTSA?? Bogie tanker for sulphuric acid.

BTAP Bogie tanker car for alumina powder. Leakproof wagon with a special air fluidizing system for discharging alumina powder from the bottom through pipes like a fluid.

Tare27.9t
Payload58t / 62m3
Axle load20.32t
Length over coupler faces9.78m

Length 12.32m, width of tanker 3.2m, height 4.3m. CASNUB 22 NLB cast steel bogies, AAR 'E' high-tensile coupler with high-capacity draft gear. Air brakes and parking brakes. Rated for 100km/h.

BTAL Bogie tanker car for anhydrous ammonia

BTPGLNBTPGLN tanker. Photo by Apurva Bahadur. Bogie tanker, for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Tare41.6t
Payload37.6t, 79.4m3
Axle load20.3t

Length over couplers 18.9m, width 3.05m, height 4.29m. Inside diameter 2.4m.

BWH Well wagon (20.47m long, 22.9t axle load) with 3-axled bogies. These are used for loads like heavy transformers, etc., up to 92t.

BWL, BWS, BWH, BWT, BWX Different kinds of well wagons (tall wagons with inward sloping sides)

BWZ Heavy-duty well wagon, for loads up to 220t such as large transformers and power plant equipment.

Tare 146t, payload 220t (some versions are limited to 180t). Length 37.81m, width of carbody 3.74m. Screw coupling. Cast steel bogies. No continuous brakes on most (retrofitted on some?), parking brakes only. Limited to about 40km/h.

BVZC Four-wheeled brake van for block rakes, with CBC

BVZI Improved brake van with max. speed of 100km/h, and some improved comfort features compared to the BVZC. It uses friction snubbers instead of hydraulic dashpots for damping, and has a bogie-mounted brake system in place of the conventional arrangement.

BVG, BVGT, MBVG, NBVGMBVG (MG brake van for goods trains). Photo by S Shankar. Brake van for non-block rakes. BGVT is the same with a transition coupler. MBVG is the MG version and NBVG is the NG version. 4-wheeled.

 

 

 

VVN (?)Milk tanker. Photographer unknown.Milk tanker — these are special tankers for carrying milk at 4 degrees Celsius. The milk is carried in an inner barrel of stainless steel, surrounded by an outer barrel with insulation between the two. Pasteurized and chilled milk remains cool enough with such an insulated design so that it does not spoil on fairly long journeys; there is no need for refrigeration equipment. These tankers are attached to express trains and are treated on par with passenger stock, and rated for higher speeds (110km/h) than most freight stock. They have Flexicoil bogies.

A different kind of milk tanker were the small tankers donated by New Zealand that were in use in the 1980s, for instance on the Miraj-Pune Passenger. Two of these at a time were mounted permanently on a flat car with Flexicoil bogies, creating a two-tanker milk wagon with a single base. These appear to have been decommissioned now. Classification code unknown.

Tare33.7t
Payload1.2t, 40m3
Axle load20.3t

Length 14.07m, width of carbody 2.91m, height 3.96m. Transition or screw couplers. CASNUB 22 NLB cast steel bogies. A buffer bogie is provided. Most have vacuum brakes, but some are air-braked. Parking brakes provided. Rated at 100km/h.

BLAN/BLBN Bogie low-platform container flats, in mating pairs 'A' and 'B'. These have largely been superseded by the newer designs used by CONCOR (BLCA/BLCB, below).

BLC/BLCA/BLCB BLC wagons are CONCOR's new [1995] container flats. (Also known as 'CCF', Coaching Container Flats.) Low platform container flat wagons. These have light-weight welded 'skeletal' design underframes, automatic twist locks, a single-pipe air-brake system, and reduced wheel diameter (for the low beds). The low platform allows them to carry high-cube or Tallboy containers on routes where clearances would otherwise make this impossible.

These are mostly used for international container traffic from Mumbai. The wagons come in two flavours. An 'A' type (BLCA, also BLC-A) has a normal (AAR 'E' type) CBC at one end and a slackless drawbar at the other end. The 'B' type wagon (BLCB, also BLC-B) has only the slackless drawbar couplers at either end. Usually 3, or sometimes 5 BLCB wagons are coupled together, with a BLCA wagon at either end, forming a semi-permanently coupled formation of 5 or 7 wagons.

Being longer than most other wagons, a rake can only have about 45 of these BLC flats, which at the rate of 2 TEU's per wagon works out to a carrying capacity of 90 TEU's per train. A lot of international container traffic (especially from Mumbai) is carried on these. SR's Golden Rock workshops are expected to take over manufacturing these wagons. Also see below. New versions [9/04] have automatic load-sensing devices to provide optimum braking power with different loads.

About 1905 of these were obtained first (in two batches) [6/02] and a third batch of another 1320 wagons were procured around 2002-2003. Since then there has been a steady growth in these and now [2006] there are about 4,700 of these in use.

In 2012, Golden Rock Workshops came up with a variant, BLC-25M, intended for carrying heavier loads with 25t axle loads, and provided with swing motion bogies.

TareBLCA 19.1t, BLCB 18.0t
Length over headstockBLCA 13.625m, BLCB 12.212m
Height1.009m
Width2.1m
Wheel dia.840mm
Distance between bogie centresBLCA 9.675m, BLCB 8.812m

AAR 'E' type CBC and slackless drawbar system. The slackless drawbar is lower than the normal couplers, at 898mm, while the CBC are at normal height (1080mm). Bogies are cast steel CASNUB bogies, a common variant in use now is denoted 'CONTR-LCCF-20(C)'. Air brakes, automatic load sensors. Max. speed 100km/h.

Some refrigerated containers are also moved on BLCA/BLCB wagons. This service was introduced recently [2004] between ICD Tughlakabad and JNPT / NSICT ports at Mumbai. These refrigerated units have special power-packs for refrigeration power on the run. The containers are modified 40' containers. Each power-pack serves 12 FEUs, and as many as three of them, serving 36 FEUs, have been run by CONCOR on a single train.

BLLA/BLLB These are variants of the BLCA/BLCB container flats, with an extra-long 45' (13.7m) platform. There are about 405 of these in use [2006]. They were designed by RDSO and RITES jointly, for transportation of Indian standard 22', 24', and 45' containers as well as ISO standard 20' and 40' containers. The bogie is the 'hybrid' LCCF 20(c) bogie, which along with small diameter wheels achieves a low underframe height. The wagons have twist locks to secure containers.

the BLLA wagons are intended to be the outer wagons in a coupled group of 5 wagons, with the inner 3 being the BLLB type. The outer couplers for the BLLA are AAR 'E' type, and the inner couplers are slackless drawbar couplers.

<-- -->
Max. axle load20.32t
Spring grouping per bogie - outerNA
Spring grouping per bogie - innerNA
Tare19.8t
Payload (RDSO spec.)61t
Payload (revised, incl. tolerance)NA
Gross load (RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)80.8t
Gross load (revised, incl. tolerance)NA
CapacityNA
Width2200mm
Height1008mm
Length over headstock15220mm
Length over coupler faces16161mm
Distance between bogie centres10700mm
Standard rake size (2007)45 (18 BLLA with 27 BLLB)
Total train load (incl. BVZC, RDSO spec., excl. tolerance)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, CC+8+2)NA
Total train load (incl. BVZC, revised, incl. tolerance)NA
RDSO design speed (loaded)100km/h
RDSO design speed (empty)100km/h
CRS sanctioned speed (loaded, SER)NA
CRS sanctioned speed (empty, SER)NA

TCT (Non-standard classification code) BG Long Covered Wagon, for defence use. Screw couplers and side buffers, fabricated 4-axle bogie, manual brakes.

Tare84.7t
Capacity65.0t
Length over headstock26400mm
Height4246mm
Width3200mm
Distance between bogie centres18850mm

HTC (HCT??) (Non-standard classification code) BG Long Covered Wagon, for defence use. Screw couplers and side buffers, CASNUB 22NLB bogie, air brakes. Has a 'hood transfer mechanism'.

Tare40.0t
Capacity40.0t
Length over headstock26400mm
Height4042mm
Width3100mm
Distance between bogie centres18850mm

MBC, MBCX MG bogie box wagon, 34 ton capacity, 13.4 ton tare

MBOC, MBOCX MG bogie open wagon (coal, etc.), 35 ton capacity

MBFU MG bogie well wagon

MBTPZ MG bogie petroleum products wagon

MBTW MG bogie water wagon

NOL NG open wagon, 21 ton tare

NCL NG covered wagon, 21 ton tare

NMG Not an NG wagon! See entry above under BG wagons.

DNMG ?? Heavy-duty flat car for military transport use (tare wt. 68 tonnes).

Descriptions of some older wagons are given below. These ae 4-wheeled non-bogie wagons unless mentioned otherwise.

BT Ballast-carrying hopper wagon with bottom discharge.

C Covered rigid 4-wheeled wagon with ribbed body and hook coupling (old)

BC, MBC Early bogie version of the 'C' covered wagon, and its MG variant.

CA Variant of C, covered 4-wheeler ventilated wagon (for livestock)

CMR Variant of C, covered 4-wheeler cattle wagon

CG 'Covered Goods': covered 4-wheeler wagon rakes

CR Covered 4-wheeler wagon (rigid body (non-bogie), rather prone to derailment)

CRT, CRC These are CR variants fitted with transition couplers and CBC. These CR wagons are still in wide use, and have been retrofited with newer couplers and improved suspension. [7/00] These wagons are now scheduled to be withdrawn.

CSI Covered wagon (iron / general)

K Open low-sided wagon, coal / general (old)

KC Open high-sided unit wagon for construction material, refuse, etc. Now used for departmental rakes to carry sleepers, etc.

KE Open wagon elephant truck (!)

KF Open wagon, low-sided, 'falling'

KL Open wagon, low-sided

KM K version for military use

BKM, DBKM Bogie versions of the KM military flat / low-sided wagons

BKC Bogie version of KC

BKHBKH wagon at Mysore Railway Museum. Photo by S Shankar.Bogie open hopper wagon with side and centre discharge (ballast transport)

BT Hopper cars with bottom discharge, used for departmental rakes carrying ballast

O Open 4-wheeled wagon

OM, MOM Open military wagon. MOM is the MG version.

TA Tank wagon (acid)

TB Tank wagon (benzene)

TBT Tank wagon (bitumen)

TCL Tank wagon (chlorine)

TCS Tank wagon (caustic soda)

TE Tank wagon (liquid caustic soda)

TF Tank wagon (ammonia)

TG Tank wagon (LPG)

THA Tank wagon (hydrochloric acid)

TK Tank wagon (kerosene)

TL Tank wagon (heavy oil)

TM Tank wagon (molasses)

TOH Tank wagon (heavy oil)

TORX, MTORX Tank wagon (vegetable oil) and its MG version.

TP, TPR Tank wagon (petroleum), the latter with screw coupling?

TPGLN, TPGLR Tank wagon (petroleum/LPG products), the latter with screw coupling

TR Tank wagon (coal tar)

TSA Tank wagon (sulphuric acid)

TV Tank wagon (vegetable oil)

TW Tank wagon (water)

TX Tank wagon (liquid chlorine)

TZ Tank wagon (lubricating oil)

TOH Tank wagon (heavy oil, with heating arrangement)

In addition, annotations "WT" (water-tested) or "NWT" (not water-tested) may appear on wagons. "Water-tested" means that the wagon has been tested to ensure that it is waterproof and can be used safely with cargo that would spoil in contact with water.

Additional notes

Double-decker automobile carriers are made by Golden Rock workshops. These are coupled in 5-car formations similar to the CONCOR container consists described below (the middle three cars having low buffers). These are (confusingly) also classified BCCN. The A cars can carry 9 automobiles each, and the B cars can carry 10 automobiles each, for a total of 48 for a 5-car formation.

Some older 4-wheel (non-bogie) tank wagons (TK, TP, etc.) are being re-used in an inventive way: the tank and part of its base is fitted on to a frame that matches the shape of a half-size standard ISO container frame and which is then carried on normal container flat wagons. This allows the tank and its frame (which may still have years of useful life left) to be used even though the original 4-wheeled wagon base is no longer in use. Picture

Special-purpose wagons of various kinds have been used by IR. Some 24-axle threaded beam well wagons and 18-axle well wagons with integral brake vans at either end are used by BHEL for transporting large transformers. BHEL, Trichy, has a 24-axle saddle wagon named 'Kaveri' for transportation of large electrical equipment, and BHEL also has an 18-axle well wagon.

The Atomic Energy Commission has some 12-axle and 16-axle saddle wagons as do a few other heavy industrial concerns, power companies, NPC, etc. A 20-axle well hole wagon was built specially for GEC Alstom's use in transporting large electrical equipment. Several of these multi-axled heavy wagons were built by Golden Rock workshops. 'Merry-go-round' wagons used at power plants and mines can tilt sideways to unload their contents as each wagon in the rake passes by.

Passenger coaches, including EMU stock, have often been converted by IR for use in carrying goods, by sealing the windows and removing all interior fittings.

Milk vans, because of the perishable nature of their cargo, have the curious privilege of being treated as passenger coaching stock with corresponding speed limits. Milk vans are often attached to passenger trains and are rated for 100km/h. Most are vacuum-braked; however, newer ones are air-braked.

Several of these wagons use 'CASNUB' bogies. These are cast-steel bogies with friction-damping arrangements (hence the name, from 'CAst steel SNUBber equipped'). These come in some variants, e.g. CASNUB HS is a high-speed variant allowing speeds up to 100km/h, CASNUB 22 NLB has additional correction and friction damping mechanisms, CASNUB HA has higher payload capacity, etc.

Q. What are CONCOR container consists?

CONCOR is the organization that handles container traffic in India. More details here. CONCOR has about 1905 BLC type low-bed wagons for fast container traffic. CONCOR also plans to acquire new 45-foot wagons to carry 22-foot domestic containers as well as 45-foot international containers, and also to take over some BRN wagons from IR and convert them for use for high-speed container traffic.

CONCOR acquired, in 1997-1998, about 1300 BFKI wagons from IR, upgraded them with air brakes, and deployed them for domestic 'Contrack' services. CONCOR still has many older container flat wagons obtained from IR when CONCOR was created in 1988. These are limited in speed and less reliable in transit.

Double-stacking is generally not possible because of clearances, and there are not many flat cars with the requisite low bed height. For COFC, the general configuration is 6 trucks for 5 cars. More information on double-stacking.

RCF has recently developed a new model of container flats that can carry 3 ISO 20' containers. These are [12/01] undergoing trials by RDSO.

More information on CONCOR is available in the section on freight.

Q. How many freight wagons does IR have in its fleet?

As of 1998, IR had nearly 280,000 freight wagons.

PER Goods Wagons Until the mid-1990s or so, it was not uncommon to see wagons with the marking 'PER' in regular service in freight trains on IR, especially in the east. These were wagons from the former East Pakistan (PER = Pakistan Eastern Railway) which were taken and deployed for use by IR during the 1971 hostilities with Pakistan. Many of these remained in India afterwards, and were in use until the 1990s, after which most of them were scrapped. As the PER stock was not particularly different from the standard wagons used on IR, they could be used interchangeably with the normal freight stock on the BG lines.

Q. Where are IR's freight wagons manufactured?

Most wagons today are manufactured by private firms such as CIMMCO, Texmaco, HDC, Besco, Binny Engineering Works, Titagarh, and Modern. Public-sector organizations such as Burn Standard Co., Braithwaite, Jessops, Bharat Wagon and Engg. Co. (these last four are held by the Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam, Ltd.), Bridge and Roof, Indian Standard Wagon, etc., also make some wagons. (Many of these used to be private concerns but were taken over by the state.)

A small fraction of the wagons come from IR workshops such as those at Golden Rock, Amritsar, and Samastipur. Golden Rock especially has built quantities of many different kinds of wagons over the years, and in recent years have stepped up production to make large numbers of the BLCA/BLCB container flats needed by CONCOR (see above).

CASNUB and other bogies for IR's freight wagons are made by Burn Standard, Bhilai Engineering Corporation (BEC), Bharat Wagon and Engg. Co., and others. Mukund Ltd. is another company that in the past supplied large numbers of cast bogies.

Brakes

Q. What kinds of brake systems do IR coaches and freight cars have?

In older stock, both passenger coaches and freight wagons, the continuous braking system consists of vacuum brakes. Newer stock is almost always air-braked. The guard often has mechanical brakes acting on his van. In addition, each piece of stock has mechanical parking brakes.

Continuous brakes were tried out by the various railway companies in the late 19th century. North Western Railway was the pioneer with trials of continuous vacuum braking in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Vacuum brakes were chosen for the simplicity of design and lower cost. They also did not have coupling cocks that could fail mid-train.

Early examples of the use of air brakes on IR include the Metro Cammell EMU stock delivered between 1951 and 1953 (and similar stock later delivered by other manufacturers), which featured the Westinghouse twin pipe air brake system and electro-pneumatic application (the 1924 and 1928 EMUs (CR and WR) were vacuum-braked). In the 1960s, the Deluxe Exp. (25 Down) and the Frontier Mail (3 Down) are also said to have had air brakes of the graduated-release kind. (This information has not been verified -- it's likely that the Bombay Rajdhani was in fact the first long-distance train with air-brakes, which it acquired in 1984.)

However, these were isolated examples and air brakes did not come into wide use until some time beginning in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Perhaps the most notable 'convert' of the time was the Mumbai Rajdhani which switched to being air-braked in 1984, hauled by twin WDM-2 locos. The Howrah Rajdhani also switched to being air-braked around 1986. Many express trains were vacuum-braked until very recently (e.g., Madras-Howrah Coromandel Exp. was vacuum-braked until 1997.)

Air-braked rakes are now very common. Generally the blue-coloured livery that is now common on IR for passenger coaches indicates air-braked stock. The air brakes are mostly of the twin pipe system, with a feed pipe and a brake pipe. Air-braking (with dual pipes) is now standard for all Rajdhani/Shatabdi and most other high-speed trains. (The twin pipe system fixes a problem with the single-pipe system where the air in the auxiliary reservoir can be used up faster than the brake pipe can charge it.)

On the broad-gauge network, only a few passenger trains running on low-speed lines are now left with vacuum-braked stock, and most of these are being converted to air brakes rapidly. In some cases, as with the Sahyadri, Maharashtra, and Koyna Expresses which were vacuum-braked until [2/02], there was no convenient shed nearby for maintenance of air brakes (Kolhapur at the time did not yet have the required facilities). These trains have been converted to air brakes now [12/04], as has the Dakshin Express most recently, a vacuum-braked holdout for a very long time.

The Viramgam Passenger is still vacuum-braked [1/05], the only train out of Mumbai Central now. The Tatanagar Passenger had 3 vacuum-braked rakes until recently [5/05]. The international Samjhauta Exp. is another notable passenger train with vacuum brakes. The Toofan Exp. and the Bokaro/Tatanagar - Alleppey Exp. may also be air-braked (uncertain) [12/04].

As of [5/04], about 7910 passenger coaches were vacuum-braked (out of the total fleet of 40,000 coaches). It is expected that the entire fleet will be converted to air brakes by March 2006 (about 4080 to be converted in the fiscal year 2004-2005). Most MG and NG coaches are still vacuum-braked, though. (The MG EMUs that ran in Chennai until 2004 were also vacuum-braked.)

Dual-braked passenger coaches are rare, but some do exist, including sleeper coaches and AC 3-tier coaches; most of these are not for general use but are saloons, inspection cars, or officer's cars, which may need to be attached to either air-braked or vacuum-braked rakes.

With later freight stock (often colored green) single-pipe or dual-pipe air braking is becoming standard. But there is still a lot of freight stock that is vacuum-braked. Much older freight stock is being retrofitted with air brakes –– the workshops at Lallaguda (SCR), Parel (WR), and Matunga (CR), among others, undertake such conversions.

Air brakes are among the most significant changes undertaken by IR in recent decades. They have allow much higher speeds on most sections as trains can be safely braked in a shorter distance, leading to better track utilization. Earlier, for instance, it was standard practice to begin braking at an Attention signal (double yellow); now most trains speed past an Attention signal at the highest permitted speed and begin braking only when a Caution signal is sighted. Safety has also increased with the power and precision of air brakes.

Changing locomotives is now a matter of minutes - the angle cocks are closed, the locomotive is detached, the new one attached and the cocks are opened once again. Earlier, disconnection of the vacuum hose meant that all the brake pistons under the coaches went into emergency mode and had to be manually released (by pulling a wire loop -- usually marked with a star -- under the coach). The process of releasing the brakes easily takes around 15 minutes for vacuum-braked stock. On the other hand air brakes do require more precise maintenance and care.

The standard BCN/BOXN/BPTGLN/etc. wagons have frame-mounted cylinders for the brakes, as do the passenger coaches. Bogie-mounted brakes are only now [4/00] being introduced on passenger coaches from ICF and RCF, and also being retrofitted on older passenger stock in some zonal railways.

BG EMU rakes have electro-pneumatic (‘EP’) brakes which are essentially air brakes, but where the application is controlled electrically at each brake unit. BG EMUs have had air brakes for many decades (see above). MG EMUs of the Chennai system were vacuum-braked. DMU rakes have standard twin-pipe graduated release air brakes.

Brake blocks used to be made of cast iron. Later, various other materials were brought into use, including asbestos-based materials. More recently [4/01] RDSO has developed new kinds of asbestos-free composite materials for use in brake blocks. These are known as the 'L' type brake blocks and after being introduced for BG have also been recently [2005] introduced for MG stock.

Q. What kinds of brake do IR's locomotives have?

Locos in India typically have air brake systems these days. As there is still a lot of freight stock, and some passenger stock that is not air-braked, many locos do have dual braking capability where they can deal with both vacuum braked and air-braked stock.

For instance, the original WDM-2 locos were vacuum-braked. As air braked stock came into wider use, many of these locos were retrofitted with air brake systems as well, hence the WDM-2A locos have dual braking capability. Later locos such as the WDM-2B and most WDM-2C units have only air brakes.

Almost all new locos (WDG-4, etc.) have only air brakes as the original equipment in most cases, although a few are now [9/01] being retrofitted with vacuum brakes because there is still a fair amount of vacuum-braked freight stock in use. The presence of air brakes or dual-braking capability is indicated by a number of ad hoc means, such as annotations ('DB', 'Dual Braked') or markings (thin blue stripes running along the bottom of a loco, for instance). The annotations 'FP' and 'BP' on a loco indicate the presence of the Feed Pipe or Brake Pipe, respectively.

Various forms of 'dynamic' braking are also used as supplementary systems where the kinetic energy of the loco is used to generate electricity which is dissipated in some manner (resistive grids are common ('rheostatic braking' or 'dynamic braking'); some old EMUs in Bombay used electromagnets acting close to the rails; some locos used the extra energy to heat water in tanks).

In some locos dynamic brakes are part of the original equipment, whereas in others they are retrofitted, e.g., some WAP-4 locos that have had dynamic brakes with dissipation grids mounted on their roofs.

In a variant known as 'regenerative' braking, the energy is fed back to the overhead cables; this was done by the DC locos (WCM series, definitely WCM-1 but not all of its successors). Feeding energy back to the cables is more complex with AC power, but the latest WAP and WAG series locos do have some provision for this.

Q. What are 'auto-emergency' brakes?

Many locos used in steep ghat sections also have an 'auto-emergency' ('AE' or 'AEB') brake system, which consists of an additional safety circuit which monitors the speed and applies the brakes to slow down or halt the locomotive if the speed rises above a certain threshold (sometimes 25km/h or so, but this varies with the route and the working rules in effect).

There isn't a separate set of brakes, but rather, the loco brakes are applied independent of the driver's control when the system is armed. The system is armed by using a key that the driver then hands to the guard. If the brakes trigger automatically, the key has to be retrieved from the guard and used again to get the train going (and a lot of paperwork has to be filed as well!).

AE brakes are used especially on the WDM-2/WDM-2C/WDG-2 locos from Gooty that work the Braganza ghat. The AE brake system is armed when the locos are going in the downhill direction; its use is mandatory as there are no other safety features such as catch sidings on this route.

Couplers

Q. What kinds of couplers are used on IR's trains?

IR passenger stock is mostly built with side buffers and screw couplers that have to be manually connected. The side buffers have single helical spring elements. The notable exceptions are the new [2/00] Alsthom LHB design coaches that have CBC (centre-buffer-coupler).

IR is now introducing tightlock CBC on passenger stock. This started as an experiment in the early 2000s. One rake of the Prayagraj Express was fitted with CBC as a trial. CBC overcome some of the limitations of the screw couplers -- limited draft load and energy absorption capacity, lack of anti-climbing feature, etc. CBC would also reduce the inter-coach distance. [12/05] More trains, such as the Godavari Exp. and Charminar Exp. now have CBC rakes.

All new freight stock and container rake wagons for CONCOR, have CBC (MCB (or 'Janney' or 'knuckle' (US style) couplers). In particular newer freight stock has AAR type 'E' CBC usually with high-capacity draft gear. But there are still some older freight cars which have hook couplers with side buffers, as well as many with screw couplers.

Transition Couplers There are also 'transition' couplers, which have a CBC mechanism for coupling to other CBC, but which also have a central screw coupling provision allowing coupling to wagons which do not have CBC. There are two side buffers provided as well. These were useful when CBC were just being introduced and there was a lot of freight stock that had screw couplers, but they have now gradually lost their importance as more and more of the freight stock is fitted with CBC. These days only locos and brake vans tend to have transition couplers. Older BOX wagons, older diesels (many WDM-2's) and other older rolling stock had Henricot Transition Couplers with a double screw arrangement. Somewhat newer rolling stock had the so-called Alliance or Clevis Transition Coupler. This had a clevis to be locked under the knuckle before using the screw coupling. A locking pin indicates whether the CBC portion is properly coupled or not.

Locomotives have transition couplers (see above) to allow them to hook up to either CBC or screw-coupled stock, and they also have side buffers. RDSO has recently [2004] come up with new design buffers for locos that have three times the energy storage capacity of the normal side buffers. These use packs of four rubber compression springs instead of the usual helical spring elements for energy storage.

Plate Couplers are temporary or short-run couplers that can be used to couple locomotives without CBC couplers to CBC-fitted wagons. Pocket Couplers, similarly, are used for temporarily coupling incompatible wagons. Both of these types of temporary couplers do not perform well in practice. They were also generally in short supply at marshalling yards and elsewhere. The move to block rakes of CBC wagons in the 1980s greatly reduced the demand for these temporary coupler types.

The Jones coupler (an adaptation of the Norwegian coupler) coupler is used on some MG and NG lines. Also known as the chopper coupler, this uses a hook (the chopper) which fits into a yoke on the coupler of the next car. A bar behind the yoke controls the tension in the coupler. MG wagons and coaches have a the chopper at one end and the non-chopper coupler at the other end, hence a rake of MG wagons has to have them all oriented in the same way.

MG locos have the choppers at both ends. When coupling a loco to a wagon, the loco's chopper is used if coupling to the non-chopper end of the wagon, but the wagon's chopper is used if coupling to the chopper end.

Jones couplers were developed in India and later spread to several east African and south-east Asian railways. Some NG lines still use a basic Norwegian (or 'chopper') coupling, which has a square or circular face with a slot coming down about half-way from the top.

Some NG lines use(d) the ABC Patent Coupling (ex-GIPR: Arvi-Pulgaon, Achalpulpur-Murtijapur-Yavatmal, Daund-Baramati, etc.). This has a disk that rotates and latches on to a horizontal loop from the mating coupler. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway uses a rudder coupling system to deal with the severe curvature on some sections of its route. However, the Kishanganj branch of the DHR used chopper couplers, as can be seen on the DHR C class Pacific at Mumbai and the lone Garratt made for this line.

EMUs use Scharfberg couplers which are a centre-buffer type which automatically connect the electricity and air links as well. The coupler face is rectangular (from above) and has semicircular ends. A large pin projects from the end of the coupler, which mates with a corresponding hole in the coupler of the other car. DMUs also use these couplers with regular twin brake pipes, although in some cases (e.g. Jallandhar DMUs) they are modified to have different brake hoses than the integrated ones that are part of the couplers. In IR parlance, these couplers are called 'Shaku' couplers.

Screw Coupler Limitations

The screw couplers in use on passenger stock have some pretty restrictive limits on the tensile force they can handle. Below are the starting load limits specified for BG stock using screw couplers on different gradients:

GradientRake weight
Level7000t+
1 in 5005000t
1 in 2002800t
1 in 1502250t
1 in 1001700t

With gradients of 1 in 60 or 1 in 50, the allowable load is as low as 1000t or less, which means that most Mail and Express trains running today, with 17-18 coaches or even longer rakes, need bankers for such gradients.

Buffers

The side buffers typically used on locomotives, coaches, and wagons mostly use helical springs for compression resistance. More recently, newer buffer designs have been brought into use that combine the use of helical springs with rubber or synthetic compression elements, including some buffer designs that rely entirely on multiple packs of rubber compression packs. Buffer capacity in the past was low, at about 450kgf-m and the standard loco buffer having a capacity of 490kgf-m. Higher capacity buffers of 1030 and 1225 kgf-m have been introduced and RDSO's most recent design is for a buffer of capacity 1225kgf-m.

History of Couplers in India

Originally, Indian coupling consisted simply of chains -- one in the middle and one on either side as back-ups -- and buffers that were extensions of the side structural members of the coaches ("dumb" buffers) for freight cars. Passenger cars often had buffers filled with materials like horsehair.

Spring buffers were employed from about 1850, starting with under-wagon leaf spings, and evolving into the modern coil-spring buffers that contain the spring mechanism inside the buffer body.

Five-link and 3-link chain couplings survived into the 20th century, especially for low-speed (under 40km/h) operations. The linking chains evolved to have a screw mechanism (hence "screw coupler") to keep buffers of adjacent cars touching and slightly in compression so as to provide a smoother transition on starting a train. By the 1920's chain couplings almost all disappeared, especially as vacuum braking came into wide use.

The only steam class with automatic couplers were the WGx subclass used for heavy freights on SER.

In 1980, IR made the move to using block rakes of CBC wagons as far as possible for goods movement. This meant that the problems of coupler incompatibility among wagons and among locomotives and wagons at marshalling yards and elsewhere were greatly diminished.

Power Generation - Lighting and Ventilation

Early trains

The earliest passenger coaches had no lighting at all, and passengers were expected to bring their own candles or lamps on board. In the later decades of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, the most common lighting provision was through gas lamps (more common) or vegetable oil lamps. Electric ighting in passenger coaches was introduced starting around 1897, although it had been tried out experimentally a few times before that. The Jodhpur Railway was the first to make electric lighting standard on all its coaches, in 1902, along with an electric bell system to alert an attendant or the guard in case of an emergency. In general, only the first and second class coaches had lights and fans for every compartment, the 'inter' or intermediate class had only lights, and the third class coaches had just two lights, one at each end near the door. Provision of lights and fans as standard equipment in all compartments was legislated in 1952.

It has been suggested that on some railways prior to 1950, steam locos were provided with 24V turbine generators to provide power for lighting in the coaches, but it is hard to find confirming evidence for this, and if true, must have remained confined to a few isolated experiments.

Non-Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains

Individual coaches are powered by axle-driven generators which charge storage batteries that power lights, fans and other electrical fittings. Older coaches have 24V (less often 48V) circuitry and have dynamos connected to the axles by belts. Newer coaches have 110V circuitry and use belt-driven 4.5kW, 110V alternators. Both systems use banks of 24V batteries (mostly lead-acid batteries of an 800Ah capacity) for back-up power. The old 1500V SIR MG EMUs used a separate 4-wheeled battery car to supply power for lights when the pantographs were not connected to the catenary. LHB stock uses 4.5kW alternators (6kW for air-conditioned stock).

In the 1990s, there was a big push to convert all old stock with 24V systems to the 110V system. A few trains used a mid-rake generator car to supply power to the passenger coaches, but most of these special generator cars have now been withdrawn as self-generating coaches and EMUs have become more common; a few rare examples can be seen [9/01] on some MG trains (Mhow, Indore, Ujjain). These generator cars are mostly for 24V or 48V systems.

Railbuses such as the ones manufactured by BEML use a 24V electrical system.

Regardless of the voltage, such an axle-driven generating system is referred to as Self-Generation (SG).

Air-conditioned coaches

In older stock, for powering air-conditioning equipment, 11kW/15kW inverters were used to convert the DC output of a set of batteries to 415V AC. For some time now, however, groups of 110V alternators delivering 18-22kW each have been used to power air-conditioning equipment (the voltage is stepped up to 415V). Most recently, RDSO has developed a newer 25kW 110V alternator with better power circuitry. Lights and fans are often on a separate DC supply from batteries, or stepped down and rectified from the alternators.

Many air-conditioned coaches are not self-contained with regard to the power supply. For such coaches, a Mid-on generator (MOG) may be used; this is a 415V 3-phase alternator (either in one of the coaches or in a separate 'power-car'), the output from which is used both for the air-conditioning, and (stepped down to 110V and rectified) for the lights and fans. Some End-on generators (EOG) also generate 415V 3-phase AC. Mid-on Generation has some disadvantages and IR is not currently introducing it for any new trains.

A few express trains (Deccan Queen, for instance) have used separate end-on power generation cars, although these days [3/00] separate power cars are used almost exclusively with Rajdhani / Shatabdi type trains as discussed below.

Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains

In these trains and a few others like the Garib Rath Expresses, the provision of dedicated rakes allows the use of a separate 'power-car' to supply electricity for all the coaches. There are usually 2 generators in each power car; each generator (an End-on Generator (EOG)) generates 3-phase 750V AC power, which is then distributed across the train, and stepped down to 415V AC (3-phase) for the air-conditioning, or 110V (single-phase) for other appliances. The elimination of generation equipment also allows the coach bogies to be designed with higher speeds in mind. The power car capacity is 250kVA (older models) or 500kVA (newer models, 'high-capacity power cars'). For the higher-power EOGs, often each power car at one end of the rake provides power when the train is running in one direction while the other operates in the other direction. The lower power EOGs can usually power up to 18 AC coaches, but their peak efficiency is at a load in the range of 7 to 12 coaches, and so for longer trains both EOG cars are on simultaneously. The two EOGs and the coaches along the length of the train are connected by two independent sets of 3-phase cables so as to be able to handle a failure in a cable. In addition, there are usually 24V batteries in the coaches to power a couple of emergency lights at critical points in the coaches.

These 250kVA power cars were introduced in 1992. Before that the power cars in use had a capacity of 125kVA and used 440V as the AC distribution voltage. With these, most Rajdhanis and Shatabdis needed three power cars -- one at either end, and one in the middle of the rake, which split the rake into two portions (termed 'Unit I' and 'Unit II'). As the power cars are (were) not equipped for anyone to walk through, there was no way to get from one portion of the rake to the other while the train was in motion.

A very small number of other trains also use such EOG cars for power; these EOG cars tend to be different from the ones used for Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains (some are the older 125kVA versions). At various times, trains like the Howrah-Amritsar Mail, Poorva Exp., etc. had their own generator cars.

Head-On Generation

Another system, Head-On Generation (HOG) has been under research by IRIEEN and RDSO but not deployed yet to any trains. In this, power for the hotel load of the train is taken directly from the OHE through a separate pantograph mounted on a power car, or through a special separate hotel load winding tap provided in the main transformer of the locomotive. Locomotives such as the WAP-5 series already have the provision for the hotel load tap. A separate power car is still needed when taking the locomotive tap for hotel load power, because a transformer must still step down the power drawn for distribution to the coaches.

If using a separate power car with a pantograph, the placement of the power car within the rake is likely to be at the rear to ensure safe inter-pantograph distance between it and the pantograph(s) of the locomotive and simultaneously to minimize coach shunting for forming the rake. Mechanisms like Locotrol need to be used to raise and lower the pantograph remotely from the locomotive cab.

Whether the power is drawn from the OHE or from the locomotive tap, it still needs to be further converted to 415V 3-phase / 110V 1-phase as required for the coach air-conditioning and lighting systems. This can be done in a Bulk Coach Converter in the power-car, or in individual coach converters provided in each coach (or in every two or three coaches.

 EOGHOG
TractionIndependent of traction Electrified lines only
Reliability Two power cars provide full back-up No back-up in proposed configurations with single power car.
Environment Local noise and smoke pollution from diesel generators Pollution is referred back to the electric power plant; far less noise.
Operating cost Diesel generation costs of electricity are high Standard grid power costs
Maintenance Additional staff needed to maintain diesel generators in power-carsMaintenance by loco workshop possible for power-car.
Economics - Commercial space Commercial space reduced - two power cars in rakeSingle power-car: higher commercial space in train
Economics - Weight Dead weight from two power cars with diesel generator setsLower dead-weight
Power supplyContinuous power Power interrupted at neutral sections
CatenaryNo impact to OHE OHE wear increased if multiple pantographs used

EMUs/MEMUs/DEMUs

Mumbai EMUs take power from the overhead 1500V DC line, and use a motor generator to convert it to 110V AC for powering lights and fans. Lights and fans are also powered in some cases (e.g. DMUs) by auxilliary generators in the locomotive.

Chennai EMUs use the 25kV AC overhead supply, after stepping it down to 110V AC. Except for these EMU instances, OHE traction power is never used to supply hotel power on IR.

Miscellaneous

Q. Freight stock often has the words "Not to be loose shunted" –– what does this mean?

In marshalling yards and elsewhere, a common technique of moving a wagon around is "loose shunting", where the wagon to be moved is not coupled to the shunting loco, and simply pushed to the correct location.

Usually, a rake that is being built up is on one of several sidings branching off from a section of track where the shunting loco is working. The points are set to divert all wagons to the appropriate siding. The shunting loco pushes the wagon and imparts it sufficient speed so that it travels over to the selected siding under its own momentum. Once it reaches the rake that it is to be attached to, the "khalasi" staff couple it up to the rake.

The loco driver has to judge the distances and the weight of the wagon precisely so that the wagon does not stop short of the rake (which would necessitate using the shunting loco again to push it further), and so that the wagon does not have too much momentum which would cause it to crash into the rake being assembled with undue violence. Nevertheless, this process of loose shunting does involve a certain amount of violent impacts on all the wagons involved.

Such impacts are not desirable for wagons that are carrying sensitive cargo, such as cattle, poultry, or even human passengers in the case of sectional carriages being reattached to rakes, and extremely dangerous in the case of cargo such as petroleum products where an impact can cause leakage and ignition of the cargo with disastrous consequences. Hence, such wagons are marked "not to be loose shunted", implying that they will always be shepherded gingerly into place coupled to a shunting loco.

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