The technical specifications of 10 locomotives imported from Korea did not match those mentioned in the purchase agreement, but the railway authorities have resumed trial runs to add them to the Eastern Railway fleet.
The freight trains started carrying goods on a trial basis from the Chattogram Port to the Dhaka Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Kamalapur on 25 April.
The railway authorities have sent a letter to the Hyundai Rotem Company, the supplier of the locomotives, on 25 April with a 60-day deadline to replace the alternators of the engines as per the terms of the contract.
The current Project Director Mohammad Hasan Mansur said, "The mismatch in technical specifications was not as serious as it was presented in some media reports. There is no reason to keep the engines inactive. So we are in a process to determine how to add the locomotives after completing the trial run."
He also told The Business Standard, "The agreement sought a TA-12 model alternator, but a TA-9 model alternator was added to the supplied engines. As a result, the horsepower (speed) and backup system capacity is a bit low. A letter has been sent to the supplier Hyundai Rotem on 25 April to replace the alternator as per the agreement. If the alternator is not replaced within 60 days, action will be taken against them. Besides, 65% of the contract price has not been released yet due to breach of contract terms."
Mansur further said, "The engines are in good condition. They can be added to the railway fleet even if the alternators are not replaced. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to ensure that we get the model of engines we were supposed to get as per the agreement."
According to sources in the Eastern Railway, 10 locomotives with a speed of 100 kmph were purchased at a cost of around Tk323 crore to run the train on the meter gauge line with the funding of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
According to railway sources, the company supplying the locomotive has already received 25% of the price in advance as per the agreement.
These engines manufactured by the Hyundai Rotem Company of Korea came to the Chattogram port on 31 August and were brought to the Pahartali workshop on 2 September last year. The first trial run of the engines started on 30 September. The trial run of passenger and freight trains from Chattogram to Laksam and Dhaka was completed on 17 November. Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan inspected the new locomotives at Pahartali workshop on 7 October that year.
These 10 locomotives were procured under the project titled "Procurement of locomotive, relief Cranes and Locomotive Simulator for Bangladesh Railway". Earlier, Nur Ahmed Hossain was the director of this project. Asked why the locomotives were added to the fleet even after completing the trial run, Nur Ahmed Hossain on 2 January there were some problems in the engines' generators.
Besides, the supplier did not supply the engine as per the contract. He said it was not possible to add engines to the railway fleet without solving these problems.
After that, Nur Ahmed Hossain was removed from the post of the director of the project and Mohammad Hasan Mansur was given the responsibility.
After the appointment of the new project director, the railway authorities formed a three-member technical committee to conduct another trial run to see if the locomotives were fit for operation. The committee formed on 22 April was convened by Md Borhan Uddin, chief mechanical engineer of the Eastern Railway. Additional Project Director (Mechanical) of Bangladesh Railway Abdul Matin Chowdhury and Additional Chief Engineer (Mechanical) of Bangladesh Water Development Board Narayanganj Md Azizul Haque were made members of this committee.
The committee is supposed to provide their report on by 10 working days.
In this context, trial run of the locomotives has started on the route from the Chattogram Goods Port Yard (CGPY) to Dhaka Kamalapur ICD route from Sunday, to test one engine per day.
Md Borhan Uddin, chief mechanical engineer of the Eastern Railway, said, "The trial run of the engine is going on in the freight train as per the decision of the railway authorities. A form has been issued from the Rail Bhaban to provide information in this regard. We will fill it up and send it at the end of the trial run. After that, the higher authorities will decide when locomotives will be added to the railway fleet."
Abdul Malek, chief yard master of CGPY, said, "The new engines takes about 10 hours to reach Dhaka Kamalapur from the CGPY. The train is moving at a speed of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour."
Asked if any defects were detected during the trial run, Malek said, "I have come to know that there are occasional problems with the engine air."
The supplier company Hyundai offers a five-year warranty for the engines. This includes a three-year full engine warranty and the next two years a warranty on all parts.