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When I read that one of these locomotives was pressed into service in 1965, I could hardly believe my eyes.

IR WP

But it's true. The WP class Pacifics were built for Indian Railways from 1947 through 1967. If we agree to call them 'streamliners' (in India, they prefer another definition - 'bullet nose'), here is the largest steam streamliner class ever, 755 units produced.

IR WP by Ramesh LalwaniIndian locomotive class WP is a class of 4-6-2 "Pacific" steam locomotives used in India. The class was introduced after World War II for passenger duties, marking the change from 'X' to 'W' for broad gauge locomotives. It was capable of doing up to 110 km/h (68 mph) and was easily recognized by the cone-shaped bulging nose with (usually) a silver star device painted on it. WPs were designed specifically for low-calorie, high-ash Indian coal, by Railway Board designers in India. (Some sources say the design has much in common with the New York, New Haven & Hartford I-5 class Hudsons built by Baldwin in 1937).

IR WP755 WPs were built between 1947 and 1967, bearing fleet numbers 7000 to 7754. The first batch of sixteen, numbers 7200–7215, came from the Baldwin Locomotive Works, USA in 1947, and these were classed WP/P. (P for Prototype). A main production batch of 300 locomotives followed in 1949, with production split between Baldwin (100), Montreal Locomotive Works (120), and Canadian Locomotive Company (80). The locomotives in this group were numbered 7216–7515, but the running numbers were issued in blocks as the locomotives were issued to the pre-nationalisaion companies, and so bore no relation to the manufacturers' serial numbers, or even the manufacturer.

IR WP 3000

Polish-built WP 3000

A further 180 locomotives were built between 1955 and 1959, with production split between Canadian Locomotive Company (120), Fabryka Lokomotyw, of Chrzanów, Poland (30), and Lokomotivfabrik Floridsdorf of Vienna, Austria (30). Between 1963 and 1967, 259 more were built, but these were ordered from Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW), and were manufactured in India, and classified WP/I.The WP/Is were 5 tonnes heavier.

IR WP Vasai Creek

IR WP underway

IS WP 7656

IR WP 1984

IR WP Nil Agiri Express

IR WP dressed-up

IR WP at night

Sources: Wiki, Indian Defence Forum

Great WP pictures on RailPictures.net

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Comment by lord_k on September 24, 2012 at 5:01pm

Several WP's remained in service until the late '80s (Source)

Comment by Tom Williams on September 24, 2012 at 4:43pm

Interesting article Lord K, did you run across information on when the class was retired from active service?

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