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by: JOYDEEP DUTTA

 

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WDM/2s: Variants and Offshoots WDM/2 Picture Gallery Alco-Haul-ism: (Links)

 

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A WDM/2 exhibits incomplete combustion as she powers out of Kirloskarwadi station with train no.7384 Maharashtra Express. (Photo Courtesy: Apurva Bahadur)

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All of us by now must be aware of the new ALCO Museum that is expected to
come up shortly in Schenectady , USA. So I thought it is high time that we also pay some tribute to our own home ALCO and one of the succesful ALCO designs ----the legendary WDM2. Unfortunately the saga of the WDM2 is one of the most neglected part of our railway history. So we all at the IRFCA should contribute to our best to keep alive the contributions made by this great locomotive.

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Two WDM/2 units await the call of duty at Madras (Chennai) Egmore in July 2000. The unit nearest camera is in green/cream Golden Rock livery, which the far one is in tricolor Erode livery. Both sheds are on the Southern Railway. (Photo by S. Shankar)

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WDM2 is basically based on the design of the Century Series which were ALCOs
last weapon to ward off the competition from GM-EMD. The Centurys were really powerful beasts and could pull anything out of the yard including the YARD OFFICE. I bet our WDM2s can do the same.

The earliest WDM2s arrived in 1962 and the first one being numbered 18040 and the second one 18041 is still at Kalyan loco shed in Central Railway. With a 251B ALCO diesel engine with sixteen cylinders in V formation and with a high nose short hood WDM2 is indeed a handsome beast. Whether it is a cross country mail express at 110 km/h or a heavy drag frieght or a lowly all stop local the WDM2 works all of them with equal ease. I still vividly remember my days in Kharagpur when nearly every evening I use too watch memersized as the Coromondel Express thundered across the Hijli Station on its way to Madras with a Kazipet WDM2 and the feeling of beign pulled as the driver was notching up while running through the station. The express were followed by air braked freight in succesion and all WDM2 hauled.

DLW guys call January 3rd 1964 as the break-through day since the first DLW
assembled WDM2 was turned out on that day. It was numbered 18233. It was a
great excitement when I first spotted her in New Jalpaiguri and now this great locomotive belongs to the Andal  shed on the Eastern Railways and most of our officials oblivious of the historical importance of this locomotive.


My own WDM2 training was at Kharagpur and my teachers were the friendly drivers of KGP and the Railway School staff and I am still in touch with most of them. They some how believed  in the capability of the WDM2 and they kept on telling me that IR needs to strengthen the tracks and use the full potential of the WDM2. I do believe that what they said were right.

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One of the original WDM/2 units # 18157 awaits departure at a Sealdah (Calcutta)  on the Eastern Railway with a pasenger train to Gede. (Nov.2000). This engine was built at Alco's Schenectady plant. (Photo Courtesy: Richard Morrisson.)

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I remember those chilly winter nights in the cab of a WDM2 out on the East Coast Route on some frieght or on a fast mail or express. Just out of Hijli  on a down gradient the driver ( a great friend of mine but won't mention his name for reasons known to you all) used to do his brake test in those vaccuum brake days.

The throttle idle and the sound of the air rushing in through the port no 8 ( if I remember well ) in the short hood and all our eyes in the cab fixed on the needle of the vacuum gauge drop towards zero and as my friend looked out to see the the relative slow down of the train was a drama on high iron. With a OK brake we then notch up again and ave a distance green and home double at Benapur and as  we hit the curve at speed before approaching the stations and you can hear the S-contactors drop and the P-contactors pick up in the second transition to Parallel traction motor connection as we rush through Benapur at 65 km/h.

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Looking out of the windshield on the driver's side of a WDM/2 at Daund with the Long Hood Forward. (LHF). Some of the newer variants of this wonderful beast have reversed seating: the driver is positioned to the left, hence the position we are now would be that of his assistant.The reversal of seating is generally accompanied by a wheel type throttle (pictured on subsequent pages). The very latest (2001) WDM/2CAs have conventional right hand driving and the older bar type throttle.WDG/2s with regular angular short hoods have left hand drive and a wheel type throttle . (Photo Courtesy: Apurva Bahadur.)

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Then gradually we pick up speed and touch 105 ( max allowed on East Coast Route) and the again face a 45 just after leaving Narayangarh and seeing the great driver control the train with the same ease as he accelerated it and the great machine responding with complete faithfulness were thos golden moments in life when no other wishes in life mattered.

WDM2 is definitely one of the most ( if not the most) reliable locomotives in the history of Indian locomotives. South or North, east or west this locomotives can be seen at work every where. The locomotive that came to be just a transition locomotive helping IR to change from Steam to Electric came down to become its mainstay and will go down in IR history as the greatest work horse it ever had.

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A WDM/2 picks up speed and is about to hit the 100 kmph mark. (Photo Courtesy: Zubin Dotivala)

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This will be continued on page 2 and hoping to have more inputs.               

NEXT: Return of the Diesels =>

 

Comments? Questions?

Please e-mail me at:                        joydeepdutta@hotmail.com

 

Home

Return of the Diesels => Comparison with the Century Series  => WDM/2 Emotions  =>

Other Pages:

WDM/2: Variants and Offshoots WDM/2 Picture Gallery Alco-Haul-ism: (Links)

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