Types of Locomotives in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka received many locomotives since 1864. They can be classified into different categories & they are classified to different classes by their power source etc. Only 2 types of locomotives can be categorized in Sri Lanka by considering its power source as Steam Locomotives & Diesel Locomotives.
Since the maiden journey of SLR in 27th December 1864 until late 1980s Steam locomotives were the backbone of Sri Lanka Railways. Class J steam locomotives were in service on Kelani Valley line which was a narrow gauge line at that time until 1996. Around 400 steam locomotives were imported to Sri Lanka from different countries & manufacturers & they were withdrawn from service after the arrival of diesel locomotives. Almost all steam locomotives were scrapped including some locomotives in working condition. At present steam locomotive do not haul regular trains. JF Tours Company hauls a luxury train called ‘Viceroy Special’ using Class B1a 251 & Class B1d 340 locomotives.
According to the reports first diesel locomotive of Sri Lanka was imported around 1933. But it was returned because the trial runs failed. After about a year later a little locomotive was imported for shunting purposes in Ratmalana workshops. However the first diesel locomotive for normal trains was imported in 1938 & it was the Class S1 diesel multiple units. Many more locomotives were imported since the arrival of S1 & they can be categorized into 3 main classes according to the power transmission method.