During the World War II(1939-45), there was a heavy increase of traffic on the Indian Railroads, but the supplies from Great Britain were scarce, TheBritish builders were loaded with priority orders for the war efforts and were not in a position to cater to the growingrequirements of the Indian Railways. The last supplies from the UK came in the year 1937 and it was not until the end of 1945 that the supplies resumed when the final batch of XDs and XE1s came by. In 1943, to tide over the lingering shortage of engines, the Indian Government resorted to imports from USA and Canada in heavy numbers and no fewer than 909 locomotives were imported by the end of the 1949 from these two countries.
These consisted mainly of the 2-8-2 A/CWD (American/Camadian War Department) locomotives. The other locomotives built under this standard were AWC (2-8-0) and AWE (2-8-2). There were popularly referred as war-time designs and they adopted bar frames and a wider firebox to burn inferior coal. The AWE was an American austerity version of the IRS ‘XE' class and about 40 AWE class locos were inducted into the Indian Railway system. Though these used the traditional ‘Walschaert's valve gear mechanism but it came with an ‘alligator’ type crosshead.
These American Locomotives were the most powerful locos put in service in India and it comes as a surprise that none worked in the heavy haul terrains of South Eastern and Eastern Railway, the most plausible explanation would be the substantial holding of the XD 2-8-2s that wouldhave sufficed to their needs.
The American War designs had a profound impact on the future designs adopted on the Indian Railway system, the coming of these engines opened the gates for the supplies of Locomotives to India from America,a tradition that was later continued with Diesel traction too.
AWE were homed on Western and Central Railway, mostly based at Bhusawal and Ratlam sheds and due to their phenomenal tractive efforts, were utilized to work freight trains on the graded ‘ghat’ sections of Central and Western India.
Rewari homes one AWE 22907 (BLW 69699/1943) of 1943 vintage, this is one of the oldest AWE class loco that was imported from the United States of America. This Locomotive was homed at the Bhusawal Shed of Central Railway and was decommissioned in the mid 1980s. Built at the Baldwin LocomotiveCo. Philadelphia, This class was also manufactured at the Canadian Loco Works and the Montreal Locomotive Works. Just seeing this gigantic Loco is awe striking, seeing it in motion is a humbling experience. The Loco is Called VIRAT, meaning Majestic in Hindi. Enjoy your moment with this machine while at Rewari Steam Loco shed.
|Cylinders (Dia. X Stroke) in inches
|Outside 21 ½ x 30”
|Boiler Barrel (length between tube plates) x Dia.
|18’2 5/16" x 5’8”
|Total Heating Surface (Tubes + Fire Box)
|Tractive Effort at 85% of Boiler Pressure
|47 Sq. ft.
|Montreal Locomotive Works, Canadian Locomotive Works, Baldwin Loco, Wks, USA
|1945-46, 1947 and 1949
|Heavy Freight Loads