Production Units & WorkshopsOn this page
Chittaranjan Loco Works, Chittaranjan, West Bengal
Inaugurated on Jan. 26, 1950, CLW produced its first locomotive by Nov. 1, 1950 (a WG loco, #8401, named ‘Deshbandhu’ for Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, an Indian freedom-fighter; incidentally it was his widow, Basanti Devi, who inaugurated the works). CLW, originally named just the Locomotive Manufacturing Works, was located near a village called Mihijam, which was shortly afterwards renamed Chittaranjan. It is said that originally the locomotive works, which were under planning even in the mid-1940s, were to be set up at Kalyani near Howrah, but a concern about losing such a strategic asset in the foreseen partition of British India resulted in the shift to Chittaranjan, on the border of West Bengal and Bihar (Chittaranjan railway station is in Bihar).
CLW became a major producer of steam locomotives, producing a large number of BG and MG steam locomotives through 1972 (total count – 2351). The last BG steam loco made in India, a WG #10560, ‘Antim Sitara’ (‘The Last Star’) was delivered by CLW on June 30, 1970, and the last steam loco made in India was the MG YG class loco (#3573), delivered on Feb. 5, 1972.
CLW started early on the manufacture of electric locos, building the WCM-5 series DC locos starting in 1961. The first one was named ‘Lokamanya’, and delivered on Oct. 14, 1961. A few years later it began production of AC electric locos, starting with ‘Bidhan’, a WAG-1 class loco delivered on Nov. 16, 1963, which was also notable as the first fully Indian-built electric locomotive. Since then CLW has manufactured ever more sophisticated generations of electric locomotives, most recently delivering the WAP-5, WAP-7 and WAG-9 3-phase AC locomotives. It has a capacity of around 200 or so electric locomotives a year. Expansions underway since October 2020 mean that CLW will be able to produce 500 locomotives a year soon.
Benaras Loco Works, Varanasi
BLW (until recently Diesel Locomotive Works) was set up in 1961 and rolled out its first locomotive on Jan. 3., 1964 — a WDM-2, assembled from an ALCo kit. It evolved over the years into an integrated diesel locomotive manufacturing plant, capable of building all components of the locomotives in-house, including the engines, superstructures, fabricated bogies, and underframes.
In the 1990s, with technology transfer arrangements from manufacturers such as GM-EMD, BLW started producing advanced diesels with high efficiency and low maintenance costs.
With increasing electrification over IR, BLW started manufacturing the WAP-7 electric locomotive. The first such rolling out in February 2017. Serial production of diesel locomotives for IR stopped the same year.
BLW has also converted older ALCo and EMD locomotives to electric traction by utilising much of the bogies, shells and traction motors. A few WDG-3A locos were converted to WAGC-3 and WDG-4 were converted to WAG-11. In 2020, BLW produced one WDAP-5, a dual mode diesel and AC electric locomotive. Serial production for these variants have not commenced.
BLW continues to manufacture diesels for the export and non-IR market (steel and power plants, mining etc.). BLW has exported locomotives to other countries such as Tanzania, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. In 2004, it was tasked to build 1350hp Cape gauge locomotives for Sudan (3), 1350hp MG locos for Myanmar (11), 2300hp Cape gauge locos for Angola (6), etc. During this time it also branched out into manufacturing non-railway items such as 2.4MW diesel generator sets (based on the Alco 251 engine!) to offset declines in orders from IR. (Although, simultaneously, it has helped DMW (see below) and Parel Workshops (see below) to gain expertise in assembling locomotives as it wasn’t able to keep up with the demand for some classes of locos, especially industrial shunters.)
DLW's production capacity is around 240 locomotives a year.
Patiala Locomotive Works
Patiala Locomotive Works, previously Diesel Modernization Works (DMW) and before that, Diesel Component Works (DCW) was set up in October 1981 for the manufacture of diesel and electric loco spare parts. In 1989, the works started doing midlife rebuilding of WDM-2 locomotives, upgrading their power packs to 3100hp and updating electronics. These were classified as WDM-2C (later WDM-3A). PLW started manufacturing new WDM3D 3300 HP ALCo Locomotives in 2010-11 with the last deliveries in 2016. It also made the 3 WDM-2G multi-genset locomotives starting in 2013.
In Feb 2018, PLW started manufacturing the WAP-7 electric locomotive and has rolled out about 140 of these so far (03/2021).
PLW continues to manufacture the WDG-3A locomotive for non-IR customers.
Parel Workshops, CR
Parel Workshops of CR have been manufacturing diesel shunters (WDS-6 class, mostly) and NG diesel locomotives (NDM-5 class, mostly) using components produced by PLW and BLW, since 2006. The workshops are also a leading establishment for repairs and overhauls of locomotives.
Established in 1879, they were engaged in steam locomotive repair and overhaul and since 1972 (after the decline of BG steam) switched to diesel locomotives. Today they also overhaul electric locomotives, NG locomotives and miscellaneous rolling stock such as cranes and breakdown equipment, as well as rehabilitation and conversions of coaches, and manufacture of some small diesel components.
IR has two joint venture units for locomotive manufacturing.
The Electric Locomotive Factory, Madhepura is a joint venture with Alstom SA, to produce the 12000hp WAG-12 class for use on the Eastern DFC. The factory is expected to produce 800 of these locos over 10 years beginning in 2019.
The Diesel Locomotive Factory, Marhowrah is a joint venture with General Electric for the manufacture of 1000 high-power freight diesel locomotives. The factory will produce the 4500hp, dual cab WDG-4G and the 6000hp, single cab WDG-6G. 700 of the former and 300 of the later are expected to be rolled out over the years.
Integral Coach Factory, Perambur
ICF was set up in 1955 with the collaboration of the Swiss Car and Elevator Manufacturing Co. of Schlieren, Switzerland. The factory was set up originally with a capacity to produce 350 coach shells annually. ICF over the decades became very successful in producing the signature integral design (underframes, sidewalls, and roof integrated to form a single tube structure) anti-telescopic coaches of IR, in many different configurations. It now has a capacity of over 1,300 coaches a year, and has thus far manufactured over 40,000 coaches for IR. ICF currently maintains production capability for 170 different kinds of coaches.
In addition to coaches ICF also produces diesel railcars, EMUs, DMUs, and special purpose rail vehicles such as track recording vehicles and overhead equipment monitoring vehicles.
It has also exported coaches to many countries. As of June 2003, this number was 425 since 1971; 60 to Myanmar, 45 to South Africa, 113 (+100?) to Taiwan, some to Thailand, Tanzania, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka etc.
In 2018-19, ICF also produced two T-18 train sets, India’s first semi high-speed mainline EMU. The T-18 sets have been christened Vande Bharat Express.
Indigenous manufacture of railway coaches had been contemplated for some time, with the first significant proposal being made in 1948 by N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, then the Minister for Transport and Railways. Even earlier, however - in 1947 - interest had built up in the Schlieren company following a visit there by B Venkataraman, a senior mechanical engineer in the railways who was attending the International Railway Congress in Europe. Venkataraman was extremely impressed by the Swiss firm and made arrangements for apprentices from Indian Railways to train at Schlieren and study the technology of coach-building. However, it took some time before Venkataraman's report to the Railway Board and the results of the apprenticeship program resulted in Swiss Car and Elevator being picked for the technology transfer project.
An initial agreement was signed on May 28, 1949. In 1951, a detailed proposal for a coach-building factory capable of producing 300 unfurnished coaches annually was laid out. (The capacity was eventually raised to 350 by the time ICF was inaugurated.) Supplemental agreements with Swiss Car and Elevator were concluded on June 27, 1953 and October 2, 1953. The production unit was inaugurated on October 2, 1955.
The integral design of coaches this company made was radically different from that of the wooden-framed coaches that had been used in India until then. Accordingly, a Technical Training School was established at Perambur on March 20, 1954, with a capacity to train around 75 personnel annually on the new technology. Swiss trainers were in charge of the technology transfer until 1961, when the school was eventually shut down. By then over a thousand coaches had been produced by ICF. Manufacture of coaches started with the import of shells and other components for seven third-class coaches in February 1956.
On August 14, 1956, the first all-indigenous coach was commissioned. From 1958 ICF started furnishing the coaches it produced; a separate furnishing unit was added to ICF on October 2, 1962. In 1966, ICF began producing air-conditioned coaches. EMU production began in 1962 with EMU trailer coaches, and motor units were produced from 1963. These were AC units. DC EMUs were manufactured starting in 1968. MG coaches were produced starting in 1963-64.
Note: Some sources (and ICF's own web site) say that production started with 12 coaches in 1955, while other sources say it started in 1956. It is thought that '1955' refers to the fiscal year for the production unit.
Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala
RCF was set up in 1987 (although the proposal for it came up in 1985) to augment the supply of passenger coaches to IR. The first coaches from RCF were delivered on March 31, 1988. In 1991, RCF started producing air-braked coaches, and coaches with a newer air-conditioning design with roof-mounted AC units. In 1997, it began production of MEMUs.
It also undertook the design and development of new lightweight IRY coaches using the high-speed IR20 bogies. These were used for a few years on the Amritsar Swarn Shatabdi Express. Development of these stopped around 2014 after the introduction of the new lightweight high-speed coaches from LHB. RCF had an initial capacity of 1000 coaches per year; steady increases in capacity have raised that number to 1500 presently.
Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli
In 2007, IR laid the foundation stones for the MCF, with eventual construction beginning in 2009. The first coaches from this unit were turned out in August 2014. The unit primarily manufactures LHB coaches of various configurations. Production capacity initially was 1000 coaches a year, but that been raised to 1500 coaches.
Marathwada Rail Coach Factory, Latur
The MRCF is IR latest coach manufacturing unit having rolled out its first shell in December 2020. Construction for the unit began in August 2018. The unit will primarily manufacture MEMU/EMU coaches with expansion to LHB passenger coaches in 2022. The current capacity is 250 coaches a year.
Jessop & Co.
Jessop & Co. is a private-sector manufacturer, originally formed from a merger in 1820 of two concerns, Jessops of Great Britain (formerly Butterfly Co., estd. 1790) and Breen & Co. of Calcutta (estd. 1788).
Jessop & Co. has manufactured a large variety of railway products including many kinds of wagons, carriages, etc. In addition, historically, they’ve also built bridges, ships, waterworks, and other civil engineering works. Jessop's has also built one steam locomotive, delivered to the Nawab of Oudh in the 19th century. Jessop's has also delivered many EMU units used in IR's suburban systems. Their main workshops are at Dum Dum.
In 2003, Jessop which was nationalized in 1973 and made a subsidiary of the Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Ltd., a public-sector holding company, was privatised again and is now owned by the Ruia Group.
Burn & Co.
Burn & Co. was a private-sector manufacturer, with its origins in 1781 as an English firm. Their first Indian workshop was set up at Howrah in 1901 to manufacture carriages and wagons to Indian railway companies. Apart from wagons and coaches, Burn & Co. have built trolleys, special-purpose saloon cars and luxury carriages, permanent way fixtures, signalling equipment, locomotive turntables, bogies, and underframes.
It was merged with the Indian Standard Wagon Co. to form Burn Standard Co. Ltd. (BSCL), and taken over by the Indian government. It has manufacturing units at Howrah, Burnpur, and Jellingham, of which the first two are engaged in manufacturing railway rolling stock. In April 2018, the company was placed under liquidation. In Feb 2020, another PSU, Braithwaite & Co. (see below) expressed interest in taking over the Howrah unit and continuing wagon manufacturing.
Braithwaite & Co.
Braithwaite was set up in 1913 by the English firm Braithwaite & Co. Engineers. In 1934 it started manufacturing railway wagons. In 1976 it was taken over by the Indian government. It is now a subsidiary of the Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Ltd., a public-sector holding company.
Bharat Wagon & Engineering Co. (BEWL)
(03/2021) This unit was placed under liquidation in the early 2000s and formally closed in August 2017.
The Bharat Wagon & Engineering Co. Ltd. was set up in 1978 when the Indian government took over Arthur Butler & Co. and Britannia Engineering Co. Both those companies, located in Bihar (at Muzaffarpur and Mokameh) were manufacturing wagons and other engineering products from British times. (?? Dates uncertain). In 1986 the combined company became a subsidiary of the public-sector holding company Bharat Bhari Udyog Nigam Ltd.
Titagarh Wagons Ltd.
Titagarh Wagons is among the two private manufacturers of wagons in India. It manufactures a wide range of freight wagons including the common types BOXN, BCNA, BOST, BOBRN, etc., the container flats BLCA/BLCB, and specialty wagons for industrial and defence use. Titagarh also manufactures Bailey Bridges, prefabricated shelters, and other such systems for the railways and for the defence sector. Recently, it has started manufacturing EMU coaches and shells.
Wheels & Axles
Rail Wheel Factory
Rail Wheel Factory (formerly Wheel and Axle Plant) was set up in 1984 at Yelahanka, in Bangalore, for the manufacture of wheels and axles, since other local manufacturers such as the Durgapur Steel Plant were unable to satisfy IR's needs, and imports were costly. RWF uses some advanced techniques such as pressure-moulding of wheels. It is among the very few IR units to hold a patent (micro-alloyed cast steel wheels).
A lot of RWF’s products are made from scrap metal generated by IR itself.
Starting with an annual capacity of 56,700 cast wheels and 23,000 forged axles, RWF has grown to a capacity of 1,90,000 wheels, 70,000 axles and 48,000 wheelsets.
Rail Wheel Plant, Bela
The Rail Wheel Plant at Bela in Bihar became operational on 1st August 2014 after being under construction for a number of years. It primarily manufacturers wheels for freight wagons, though there are plans to supply passenger coach wheels as well.
This was the first full-fledged railway workshop facilities in India, set up on Feb. 8, 1862 by the East Indian Railway. (There was an earlier attempt to set up workshop facilities at Howrah, but it proved unsuccessful because of problems with procuring supplies and getting skilled labour.) The Jamalpur site was chosen for its proximity both to the Sahibganj loop (which was the main trunk route at the time), and to the communities of gunsmiths and other mechanical craftsmen in Bihar who would prove to be adept at picking up the skills required in a railway workshop.
Another, possibly apocryphal account, though, has it that one of the agents of the EIR Mr D. W. Campbell, was annoyed that the fitters and workmen of the then Howrah workshop were spending too much time away from their work in places of recreation in Howrah, and resolved to move the workshop facilities to a place far away where there would be no such distractions.
At first the Jamalpur shops were merely repairing locomotives and also assembling locomotives from parts salvaged from other, damaged locomotives. By the turn of the century, however, they had progressed to producing their own locomotives. The first one, CA 764 ‘Lady Curzon’, was produced in 1899.
Jamalpur has always had extensive workshop facilities. In 1893, the first railway foundry in India was set up there. It also had a boiler workshop for repairing and building boilers. Today it has foundry and metallurgical lab facilities, extensive machine tool facilities, etc., in addition a captive power plant of 5MVA, making it fairly self-contained. It used to have a rolling mill of its own (set up in 1870, now closed).
In addition to various repairs of wagons, coaches, cranes and tower cars, and locomotives, Jamalpur also undertakes repair and (small-scale) production of permanent-way fixtures. It also manufactures some tower cars (Mark II, Mark III) and break-down cranes of 10, 20, and 140 tonne capacities, besides various kinds of heavy-duty lifting jacks.
Finally, it also manufactures wheelsets for coaches and wagons. In the past it was a significant supplier of cast-iron sleepers as well. Starting in 1961 it produced several rail cranes. It has also produced electric arc furnaces, ticket printers and other ticket machines (slitting, counting, and chopping). The high-capacity synchronized lifting jacks known as ‘Jamalpur Jacks’ were also produced by this workshop.
The school attached to the Jamalpur workshops eventually became the IR Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.
The Alambagh workshop, near Lucknow, was set up in 1865 by the Oudh and Rohilkhand Raiilway. It started off doing minor maintenance and periodic overhaul of coaches and wagons, and eventually became one of the top workshops engaged in overhaul, repair, and restoration of carriages and wagons. Today the workshop specializes in the new high-speed coaches, air-conditioned coaching stock, etc.
Construction for this workshop was started by the Oudh and Rohilkhand Rly. in 1867 to prepare for its needs of locomotive and carriage maintenance in the Lucknow area after it secured a contract to build a large BG railway system in the area north of the Ganga. 1867 was also the year that the company had finished construction of the light MG line between Lucknow and Kanpur.
Originally almost all the staff of the Charbagh workshop was from Great Britain, however within a few years a large number of Indians were also employed, including many from Bihar and also the Jamalpur workshop.
After Independence, the big locomotive overhauling facility in the north, at Moghulpura (belonging to the North-Western Railway), went to Pakistan. Charbagh workshops were therefore upgraded with manufacturing and major overhauling capabilities for locomotive. The workshop became the pre-eminent steam loco maintenance and overhauling workshop of NR through the 1960s and 1970s, but thereafter lost ground with the ascent of diesel and electric traction. The workshop switched to diesel loco maintenance in 1975, and to electric loco maintenance in 1985.
In recent years, the workshop has found an additional niche in restoring steam locomotives for various special runs and for preservation, exhibitions, etc. For instance, the WP locomotives at the NRM being used for special excursions on the occasion of IR's 150th anniversary were completely overhauled at Charbagh.
Work on setting up the Ajmer workshops was begun in 1877 by the Rajputana-Malwa State Rly. The workshops were early on charged with a wide variety of repair and overhauling jobs, including permanent-way work. In 1895, the workshops achieved the distinction of building the first indigenous locomotive from India, an ‘F’ class 0-6-0 MG locomotive (#F-734). One notable feature of this workshop is the existence of a network of about 5km of 18"-gauge tram lines for transport of material among the various facilities.
When the first EIR workshops at Howrah were found to be inadequate for locomotive maintenance, the bulk of its facilities were moved to Jamalpur as noted above. The remainder of the facilities at Howrah continued to perform carriage and wagon repair after 1863 and eventually were moved to Liluah, about 7km from Howrah.
The workshop manufactured many kinds of rolling stock. Wagons were manufactured until about 1947, and coaches were manufactured until about 1972 (total coach count – over 3000). During World War II, the workshops also contributed to the Allied war effort by manufacturing road vehicles (ambulances, water cars, armoured vehicles, trucks, etc.) and machinery.
Liluah workshops now form IR's biggest carriage and wagon workshops. They are engaged in periodic overhaul of all kinds of coaches and wagons, conversion of coaches to DMUs, and repair and overhaul of components such as alternators, transformers, motors, and generator sets. They have also undertaken one-off jobs such as building tourist rakes (Great Indian Rover, Buddha Parikrama) or other special trains (Exhibition-on-Wheels, etc.).
Golden Rock Workshops
The South Indian Railway Co. set up its major workshops at Nagapattinam, on the east coast. When new and expanded facilities were required, these workshops were moved to Golden Rock near Tiruchirapalli in 1928. The workshops here are equipped to deal with locomotives and carriages, carrying out overhaul, repair, and restoration work.
They are today IR's premier workshops for restoration and rebuilding work for locomotives that are severely damaged in accidents. Many public-sector concerns also send their works shunters to Golden Rock for overhauling from locations all across India (10-15 locos annually).
Carrying on with the experience from steam days, Golden Rock also carry out the periodic overhaul of the ‘X’ class locos of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. They have also developed the new oil-fired replacements for the ‘X’ class locos and (10/2021) have manufactured a brand new, coal powered ‘X’ class.
Golden Rock also built some DMU rakes from old coaches. They have also repaired and (since 1962) built various wagons (BLBN/BLAN, BCCN (double-decker automobile carriers), box and covered wagons, special-purpose multi-axled heavy wagons, and many others), and performed conversion of wagon types (BOXC to BKH, etc.). In recent years they have taken on expanded manufacturing of BLCA / BLCB container flat wagons for CONCOR.
Golden Rock has also restored YDM-4 MG diesel locos for export to places such as Myanmar, Malaysia, etc. More recently it has been working on regauging some YDM-4 locos to Cape gauge for export to Sudan.
Kharagpur is the largest integrated workshop on IR with facilities to service all types of rolling stock and locomotives.
The Bengal and Nagpur Railway had sanctioned the building of the workshop in 1900. The workshop began to operate from 1904. It took over all the BG maintenance work from Motibagh Workshop at Nagpur.
The workshop is spread over an area of 610,000 square meters, 260,000 of which are covered, the workshop handles POH for Diesel-Electric and Electric locomotives, EMU trailer and Motor coaches, freight wagons, coaches and even diesel cranes. Besides this, it carries out rewinding of traction motors and traction generators and a lot of other related work. The massive workshop underwent massive modernization in 1979 and again in 1985 with a combined outlay of around 400 million rupees. The Workshop went to SER after division of SER into SER, SECR and ECOR.
Motibagh Workshop, Nagpur
This workshop was originally set up by the Nagpur Chattisgarh Railway in 1879 to service its metre gauge stock. It was later taken over by the Bengal Nagpur Railway in 1887. When conversion of the Nagpur - Rajnandgaon MG line to BG was completed in 1888, the workshop was altered to cater to BG stock requirements in the area. From 1887 to 1908, Motibagh Workshop was the prime workshop facility of the Bengal Nagpur Railway.
The Nagpur Chattisgarh Railway company would get locomotive kits at Mumbai port and then ship them to Motibagh via the GIPR route from Bombay to Nagpur. These locomotives would then be assembled and commissioned at the Motibagh Workshop. BNR used a similar system in the initial years of its formation. After the Nagpur - Asansol BG line was completed, the locomotive kits would be brought in to the Damodar rail head by river. At a makeshift workshop there, the shell was assembled and wheeled so that it could be moved on its own wheels. This skeleton would then be moved to Motibagh via the BNR route for full assembly and commissioning. This practice continued till the extension of the Nagpur - Asansol line to Howrah and completion of facilities at Shalimar terminus for unloading ships. When the NG Satpura lines were built, Motibagh Workshop regauged two BG locomotives to NG for working on the Satpura lines.
The importance of Motibagh diminished soon after establishment of the Kharagpur Workshop in 1904 as BNR decided to shift all BG work to Kharagpur and Motibagh continued to handle only the NG locomotives and stock.
In recent times, with the conversion of the Satpura NG network, the Workshop primarily handles BG rolling stock, locomotives and cranes.
This is the workshop catering to the steam locomotives of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The extreme resourcefulness and ingenuity demonstrated by the staff of this workshop has kept the ‘B’ class locos of the DHR working today despite their age. The workshop was set up towards the end of the 19th century, but moved to its current location in 1913.
Coonoor Steam Shed
This attached workshop at the shed caters to the secondary maintenance of the ‘X’ class locos of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and performs light repairs.
Rail Spring Karkhana
A specialized manufacturing unit for the production of coil springs for IR. Set up in 1989 in collaboration with Ernst Komrowski & Co. and Grueber (both of Germany), the plant produces about 4,200 metric tons of springs a year. It is located at Sithouli in Gwalior.