Class W2 Specifications:
Locomotive Class: W2
Manufactured Country: East Germany
Manufactured Company: Karl Marks Works (East Germany)
Imported Year: 1969
Type of Locomotive: Diesel Hydraulic
Prime Mover: PAXMAN Ventura V16 16YJXL
Maximum Power: 1440hp – 1500RPM
Maximum Speed: 80kmph
Axel Arrangement: Bo-Bo
Weight: 65 Tons
Colour: Red, Green & a yellow strip
No. of Locomotives Imported: 15
Locomotive Numbers: 703-716 & 729
Class W2 locomotives were imported to Sri Lanka on the same year (1969) which W1s were imported. This many hydraulic locomotives were imported under the recommendation of the SLR General Manager at that time, Mr. B.D.Rampala.
Only W1 & W2 are the general purpose diesel electric locomotives in Sri Lanka which were imported from another country. But there are 3 diesel hydraulic locomotive classes in Sri Lanka as W1, W2 & W3. This locomotive is also somewhat similar in shape to Class M6 even though internal characteristics are different. Class W2 doesn’t have the Electro Dynamic Brake facility & it’s equipped with the Hydro Dynamic Brake system.
Karl Marks Works made these locomotives specially for Sri Lanka along the order they received. They made 15 locomotives of Class W2 & sent 14 locomotives (No.703 to No.716) to Sri Lanka in 1969. They kept the remaining locomotive with them as a company prototype & it too was sent to Sri Lanka on 1972 due to some internal conflicts of the company. That locomotive entered the Sri Lanka locomotive batch under No.729. It is said that loco no.729 had some tiny differences to the other W2s as it was a company prototype.
This locomotive was added as a substitute for high powered Garratt type steam locomotives which was in service mainly on up country line. Class M2c too was a successful locomotive on up country lines at that time. These Class W2 locomotives were used to haul many popular trains such as Udarata Menike & Podi Menike along with W1 locos.
However around 1975-1980 M4, M5 & M6 locomotives came to the act with Dynamic Brakes. Then Udarata Menike & Podi Menike was hauled by that locomotives & W2s were used to haul freight trains & breakdown trains. They were used to transport clinker to Galle, Puttlam & Kankasanthurei cement factories mostly.
W2s were able to run on every railway line due to the high power & less weight. But wearing of the engine parts due to the high RPM value was the main defect of this loco like the W1. It cost a lot of money to replace these parts & SLR wasn’t able to afford it. And Karl Marks Works was closed on 1972 due to bankruptcy. Therefore supplying spare parts was a major problem. As a result most of the locomotives were removed from the service & some were scrapped. Few Class W2 locomotives were repaired & brought back to the service using the parts of the withdrawn W2s but it was a failure. Many locomotives were unrepairable due to the play of the internal parts of the engine such as bearings.
Other few locomotives which was in service had minimum running conditions & they were used to haul light trains, short distance trains & for shunting in RML workshops. No.704 & No.715 was in service recently but they are now not in service. At present these two locomotives are being re-powered at Ratmalana Workshops using two PAXMAN V12 prime movers.
Credits to Gehan Chandika & Nipuna Dodanthenna.