Dual mode Locomotive- The future of Railways

Almost everyone traveled by train and in few countries like India, it is the lifeline for long distance travel. You must saw that locomotive of the train is either diesel or electric. But do you know, one more type of locomotive is there which have both diesel and electric engine in it.

Welcome to Engineering Master. In this article, we will discuss everything about a rail locomotive which is a combination of both electric and diesel engine called as Dual Mode locomotive or electro- diesel locomotive.

Railways are using two types of locomotives. They are diesel locomotive and electric locomotive. Diesel locomotive is used almost everywhere as they generate power on their own. On the other hand, electric locomotive gets power from overhead cables using pantograph and process the power to run the locomotive. As we all know that putting overhead cables everywhere is impossible (eg. desert and mountain areas). Railways have to change the locomotive from electric to diesel in many routes having no overhead cables. It consumes lots of time and requires labor.


So, to overcome this problem, third type of rail engine was developed (known as dual mode locomotive). They are basically a modified version of diesel locomotive in which pantograph is placed on one side and diesel generator on another side.

Please read our previous articles on diesel locomotive and electric locomotive for proper understanding.

In diesel locomotive, power obtained to run locomotive is generated inside the locomotive. No power is obtained from external sources. But in the electric locomotive, power obtained to run the locomotive is drawn from overhead cables using the pantograph. The power obtained get converted and rectified and thus runs the traction motors. Dual mode locomotive uses one engine at a time as it is impossible to use both engines at the same time as few components are common for both.

As both electric and diesel engine are placed inside a locomotive, so it becomes heavy in weight. And to make it light in weight few change are made in locomotive like the use of stainless steel, low capacity diesel tank, etc.

Dual mode locomotive is being built by loco builders across the world like Siemens, ABB, Bombardier, etc. and they are currently running in many parts of Africa, Europe and North America. Indian Railways are also planning to run it by 2019.

It has lots of benefits and that’s why they are used in many regions. It includes Reduction in detention time of locomotive and rakes in the traction change points, less labor, helpful when overhead cables damage due to natural calamities, etc.

Information credit- Research Design and Standards Organisation, Indian Railways and iGyankosh youtube channel

10 thoughts on “Dual mode Locomotive- The future of Railways”

  1. The dual-mode locomotive is a life saver for trains to many interior parts that may not have overhead power cables. In Malaysia, we are mainly using electricity-powered trains.

  2. Nicely explained Bhaiya with full clarity….your articles are interesting to read …..best wishes always Vatsala Sudhanshu

  3. Please write about the physics of cross ventilation accross a room.
    I really need to understand it and people should also know.
    I am fed up of people who cannot understand why we need get windows on both sides of the room opened for fresh air to flow.

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