Visit to KJM Diesel Loco Shed
by Sandeep Mohan
Yesterday was the most eventful day of my life considering my interest in Indian Railways. Myself, Lakshman, Bharath and Anil got an opportunity to visit the KJM Diesel Locomotive Shed; Thanks a lot to Lakshmans efforts by getting in touch with certain SWR employees at KJM.
A small mention to the other SBC members. We never put this up as a plan for Sunday as we were not sure as to how many of us would be allowed inside the shed. We will be visiting the shed again so at that point we will put this up for notice on the IRFCA forum.
Back to the shed trip. We were given a proper guided tour by a SWR employee. The shed has everything organised for the 500 odd staff it holds. Housing colony, dept stores, medical care centre; the only thing missing is a school but that has been taken care of somewhere near Bangalore City Station. The suroundings are very well maintained and everything seems to be so well organised that you could never go wrong. There is a small park too with funny mockups made out of engine drive shafts, Pistons and Piston Heads, etc all put together. Looks like a scarecrow for a moment but all well thought out.
From my guess there were not less than 25 locos parked at the shed and except for 2 ITARSI locos that had come in for checkup (To be used for Karnataka Exp); everything else was KJM. For the record KJM is supposed to hold 93 locomotives. The star of the show was KJMs own WDM3D (11101) series locomotive. I guess this is rated at 3300 HP. A lot of the WDP4 style and look has gone into building this locomotive. Right from the headlamps, Sand Box and Cowcatcher. Its all new. Looks very different from your regular WDM series locomotive. The livery too has taken the WDP4 route. Interiors have changed a lot. Providing better driver comfort seems to be the norm from now on and thats a good thing. All controls are placed well within reach for the driver. Large gauges and a very well designed dashboard. The only flaw i could find was not enough leg room for the driver to get into his seat which was again a very comfortable one. Good back support and it feels like you can sit for hours without any body aches coming up. Software has reached WDM3D and it had a General Electric or GE Touch Control Panel with real time reading for various parameters. We had an engineer explain everything about the locomotive. The sad part would be about the engine. Its the same old ALCO foundation being improved upon and reliability seems to be a very big issue for these locomotives. They have yet to be commisioned for passenger haul. KJM had just 1 WDM3D but the SWR employee was telling me there were over 20 that KJM was holding. I found this very hard to believe.
KJM shed can hold around 16 locomotives in its pit lanes but the surprise news was that KJM will be receiving over 20 nos of WDP4 locomotives next month onwards and they have already built a new shed next to the existing one to take care of WDP4 locomotives. Pit lanes have been modified to accomodate the broader frame of the WPD4.
Apart from this we were shown the various maintenance sections of the shed. Radiator, Turbo, Brake Lining, Generator, Bogie Power Packs and such. Spare Parts section was also shown to us where they had brand new Piston, Piston Heads, Fuel Injectors, Connecting Rods, etc. Locomotive washing area, Load Simulator, Fuel Economy Testing equipment and Automatic Wheel Lathe machine which was imported from Germany years ago; wherein the whole locomotive can be taken in instead of dismantling the loco from its bogies.
Another star of the show a WDG3A Shakti locomotive. Interiors were similar to the WDM3D. The only difference being at the exterior with the livery,bogies and offcourse the overall loco length. Another thing noticed was the Fuel Injectors used on the Shakti were MICO brand.
We saw a full exhaust system dismantled on one of the locos and that was something to be seen. As we all know about the 16 cylinders and four valves present for each cylinder; we saw all this stripped and being repaired.
They also had a spare parts washing area.
Okay; i'm running out of time. One of us either Myself, Anil, Bharath or Lakshman will report on things i missed out at the shed. Take care.
Photographs are on their way.