ABOUT CHITTARANJAN LOCOMOTIVE WORKS
Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) is a dream of the nations visionaries, coming true. The planners of the Nation with their deep insight and foresight set out to build a Loco building Factory in West Bengal and CLW is the culmination of that vision. In the late thirties, a committee consisting of M/s. Humphries and Shrinivasan was appointed to investigate the possibility of establishing a locomotive manufacturing unit and to consider its economic viability. The initial project, at Chandmari, a place near Kanchrapara, in the state of West Bengal, could not mature due to partition, which inevitably necessitated a change of site. The issue of setting up a loco building unit continued to be under active consideration of the Central legislature and in December, 1947, the Railway Board decided to locate the factory at Chittaranjan, near Mihijam. On the 9thof January 1948, survey of the proposed area was commenced. The rocky soil was an advantage in erecting foundations for heavy structural work and the undulating terrain solved the problem of drainage for the township while the schemes of the DVC which envisaged hydro-electric and thermal power stations in the vicinity assured adequate power availability for the enterprise..
The locoworks originally called Loco Building Works was initially established for production of 120 average sized steam locomotives with the capacity to manufacture 50 spare boilers. Production of steam loco commenced on 26th January, 1950. The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad dedicated the first steam locomotive to the nation on 1st November, 1950 and on the same day the Loco Building Factory was rechristened and named after the great Patriot, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and became Chittaranjan Locomotive Works. Apart from meeting the growing and varied needs of Indian Railways, CLW has been right from inception, adopting modern designs and upgrading technology, gradually enhancing the haulage capacities and speeds of locomotives.
During pre-construction days
It is the only major Electric Locomotive manufacturer in the country. It is situated at the Border of West Bengal and Jharkhand and is at about 32 km from Asansol and 237 kms from Kolkata. The place where today CLW is situated was actually a collection of small villages. The locoworks with its ancillary workshops has a stores purchase office in Kolkata and inspection cells in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The Workshop and the township is spread over an area of 18.34 Sq. Km.
The production of Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives was taken up during 1968. After manufacturing 2351 Steam Locomotives of 5 types and 842 Diesel Hydraulic Locos of 7 types, production of steam and diesel hydraulic locos was discontinued from 1973-74 and 1993-94 respectively.
The production of Electric Locomotives commenced in 1961. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, commissioned the first 1500 V dc Locomotive named LOKMANYA on 14th October, 1961. The production of 25 kV AC DC loco commenced on 16th November, 1963. The first Electric Loco turned out from CLW, christened as BIDHAN was a Broad Gauge 25 kV A.C. freight Locomotive (WAG-1) of 2840 hp with maximum speed of 80 km/hr. CLW also built 25 kV AC/1500 V DC, AC/DC Loco, WCAM-1 for hauling Mail / Express Trains from BRC to BCT on W. Rly.
CLW became the first production unit in the developing countries, second in Asia and fifth in the world to manufacture, state of the art, 3-phase GTO Thyristor controlled Electric Locomotive and the first indigenous 6000 hp freight electric loco WAG-9. This was christened as /NAVYUG/ and was turned out on 14th November, 1998. During the year 2000-01 the first passenger version of three phase loco WAP-5 NAVODIT, with maximum service speed of 160 km/h and having a potential upto 200 km/h, was manufactured. Development of sources, indigenisation and cost reduction of three-phase loco have been the highest priority items. The cost of 3 phase loco has been drastically brought down from a high of Rs. 35 crores for imported locos to about Rs.10.42 crores. It is hoped that this will further be reduced, if the number of such locomotives manufactured by CLW is increased.
Production of DC Traction Motors and Control Equipment commenced in April, 1967. Steel foundry was set up in 1962-63 for manufacture of cast steel loco parts. CLW has in house facilities for machining and assembly of wheel sets, fabrication and machining of bogies etc. The facilities include modern CNC machines, plasma-cutting machines, inert gas welding sets etc
River Ajay flows past CLW along its northern side. Workshops, offices and quarters are spread over the whole are with ample space in between – surrounded by greenery and trees. There are several water bodies in CLW exhibiting a lush green environment which attract a large number of migratory birds every year. A variety of flora and fauna can be seen here all the year round.