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Indian Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives[Inhalt]
Darjeeling Himalayan class B
India | 1889 | 34 produced
Built in 1925, No. 805 in December 1995 with human sanders at the front and another employee breaking the lumps of coal into manageable pieces as the journey progressed
Built in 1925, No. 805 in December 1995 with human sanders at the front and another employee breaking the lumps of coal into manageable pieces as the journey progressed
Nigel Tout

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway's best-known and longest-lasting locomotive is the class B, which was built by several manufacturers from 1889 and is still in use today. Although the DHR had also procured larger locomotives and even Garratts, these small, two-axle saddle tank locomotives had apparently been best suited to the steep two-foot line with radii up to 60 feet

The coal capacity was later increased by planks. Due to the low quality of coal available and the cheap labor in India, the crew of these locomotives consists of up to six people. In addition to the driver, this includes two people who sit on the buffer beam and spread sand on the rails by hand. The fireman is assisted by one person who breaks the coal into equal-sized lumps and another who passes the coal to the fireman.

Locomotive Magazine, September 1918

The 34 class B members, supplied by British and American manufacturers, took on the brunt of the traffic over the decades. In 1997 they were reinforced by diesel locomotives as their number decreased due to age. Today most regular trains are pulled by the diesel locomotives, while class B mainly only takes on tourist trains. A locomotive came to the Beeches Light Railway in Great Britain around 2000, where it was used until the line closed in 2023.

General
Built1889-1925
ManufacturerSharp, Stewart & Co., North British, Baldwin
Axle config0-4-0ST (Four-coupled) 
Gauge2 ft 0 in (Two feet)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase5 ft 6 in
Fixed wheelbase5 ft 6 in
Service weight34,360 lbs
Adhesive weight34,360 lbs
Axle load17,360 lbs
Water capacity456 us gal
Fuel capacity1,792 lbs (coal)
Power
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power130 hp (97 kW)
Optimal speed11 mph
Starting effort7,753 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter26 in
Boiler pressure140 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 11 x 14 in
Boiler
Grate area9 sq ft
Firebox area40 sq ft
Tube heating area276 sq ft
Evaporative heating area316 sq ft
Total heating area316 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
narrow gauge
freight
passenger
last changed: 01/2024
South Indian class M
India | 1913 | 5 produced
Locomotive Magazine, July 1913

Chief engineer Robert White had five ten-wheelers built for mail traffic on the meter-gauge lines of the South Indian, including those leading to Ceylon. These used the BESA standard design and came from Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. of Newcastle. Thus they had 16.5 inch diameter outside cylinders, 57 inch diameter coupled wheels and Belpaire firebox with a long narrow grate

However, only one engine was built according to the design using saturated steam, the others being the first narrow-gauge superheated locomotives in India. With the results of the five locomotives, White was able to substantiate his assumption that superheated steam should have a clear advantage despite the greater complexity. Thus, the only saturated engine was soon rebuilt with a superheater

General
Built1913
ManufacturerHawthorn, Leslie & Co.
Axle config4-6-0 (Ten-wheeler) 
Gauge3 ft 3 3/8 in (Meter gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase21 ft 1 1/2 in
Fixed wheelbase12 ft
Total wheelbase42 ft 2 in
Service weight79,083 lbs
Adhesive weight60,424 lbs
Total weight134,299 lbs
Axle load20,160 lbs
Water capacity2,402 us gal
Fuel capacity12,320 lbs (coal)
Power
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power700 hp (522 kW)
Optimal speed29 mph
Starting effort15,184 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter57 in
Boiler pressure170 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 16 1/2 x 22 in
Boiler
Grate area16 sq ft
Firebox area108 sq ft
Tube heating area710.6 sq ft
Evaporative heating area818.6 sq ft
Superheater area194.6 sq ft
Total heating area1,013.2 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
passenger
freight
Robert White
last changed: 10/2022
Nilgiri Mountain Railway class X
India | 1914 | 23 produced
Indian-built “Nilgiri Queen” taking water
Indian-built “Nilgiri Queen” taking water
David Brossard

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Southern India had 17 miles of adhesion track and 12 miles equipped with a rack rail of the Abt system. As they needed more powerful locomotives, they ordered the first six X class 0-8-2RT locomotives which were delivered by the Swiss SLM in 1914. Four followed in 1920 and two in 1925.

They had a rack drive of the Winterthur system, what promised savings in coal of up to 35 percent. This meant that the high and low pressure cylinders were on top of each other. The low pressure cylinders turned the two rack wheels via a 1 to 2,1 reduction gear. The position of these rack wheels can be seen in the long distance between the second and third driving axles. To allow for more flexibility in curves, the first and fourth driving axles were movable sideways.

Original appearance
Original appearance
flickr/Historical Railway Images

When the NMR saw the requirement for additional locomotives in 1952, SLM delivered additional five. In 2002, the first X class locomotives were converted to run on diesel fuel, which can be distinguished by the additional saddle tank. To reduce wear and tear on the existing locomotives, the Golden Rock Railway Workshop built four new between 2011 and 2014. Two more were built in 2021 and 2022, of which one is coal fired.

General
Built1914-1925, 1952, 2011-2022
ManufacturerSLM, Golden Rock
Axle config0-8-2RT (River Irt) 
Gauge3 ft 3 3/8 in (Meter gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length33 ft 11 1/2 in
Wheelbase19 ft 9 3/8 in
Fixed wheelbase10 ft 1 1/4 in
Empty weight84,437 lbs
Service weight107,916 lbs
Water capacity1,215 us gal
Fuel capacity6,724 lbs (coal)
Power
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power603 hp (450 kW)
Optimal speed14 mph
Starting effort42,714 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter32.1 in
Boiler pressure203 psi
Expansion typecompound
Cylindersfour, HP: 17 11/16 x 16 15/16 in
and LP: 17 11/16 x 16 1/8 in
Boiler
Grate area19.4 sq ft
Firebox area82.9 sq ft
Tube heating area793.3 sq ft
Evaporative heating area876.2 sq ft
Superheater area243.3 sq ft
Total heating area1,119.4 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
tank locomotive
freight
cog railway
narrow gauge
last changed: 05/2024
Indian Railways class YD
India | 1927 | more than 270 produced
Presentation photo from an SLM catalog
Presentation photo from an SLM catalog
flickr/Historical Railway Images

The class YD was a metre-gauge goods locomotive developed in accordance with the Indian Railway Standard (IRS) rules. Its direct basis were ten Mikados built in 1927 by the Vulcan Foundry for the Assam Bengal Railway which were later designated YD/1. The boiler was closely related to that of the YC Pacific, but shorter.

Assam Bengal Railway No. 211, built by Vulcan Foundry
Assam Bengal Railway No. 211, built by Vulcan Foundry
flickr/Historical Railway Images

Up to 1953, at least 270 were built by manufacturers from Britain, Germany, Czechoslovakia, India and Japan. The 25 locomotives produced in Japan had been built by Nippon Sharyo for Pakistan in 1952 and were oil-fired. Some had also come to Myanmar, of which a few were still in service after 2010. Generally, there are still many which were preserved.

General
Built1927-1953
ManufacturerAEG, Henschel, Nasymyth, Wilson & Co., Nippon Sharyo, SLM, Škoda, Vulcan Foundry, Ajmer
Axle config2-8-2 (Mikado) 
Gauge3 ft 3 3/8 in (Meter gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length60 ft 1 in
Wheelbase27 ft 9 in
Fixed wheelbase13 ft 5 in
Total wheelbase50 ft 5 in
Empty weight114,576 lbs
Service weight126,784 lbs
Adhesive weight88,900 lbs
Total weight214,620 lbs
Axle load22,400 lbs
Water capacity3,603 us gal
Fuel capacity17,920 lbs (coal)
Power
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power1,100 hp (820 kW)
Optimal speed32 mph
Starting effort22,108 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter48 in
Boiler pressure180 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 17 x 24 in
Boiler
Grate area26 sq ft
Firebox area147 sq ft
Tube heating area1,248 sq ft
Evaporative heating area1,395 sq ft
Superheater area310 sq ft
Total heating area1,705 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
freight
narrow gauge
last changed: 05/2024
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