The 3000hp Iron Horses of Pakistan

Posted on May 19, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Railways, Travel
Total Views: 53497


Owais Mughal

Today we will introduce the diesel and electric locomotive fleet of Pakistan to our readership. We will start our introduction with the most powerful locomotives of Pakistan Railways. These are the 3000 horse power units. We will cover lesser horse power and steam engines in later posts

(1) HGMU30

The abbreviation HGMU30 stands for ‘Henschel General Motors Universal, 3000hp’. They are called Universal units because they can be used both on freight and passenger trains. These locomotives were built in 1985 at Henschel factory and Pakistan Railways owned 30 of these units from serial number 8201 to 8230. These units are also called EMDs as they were built by the Electro-motive division of General Motors.

(2) DPU30

The abbreviation DPU30 stands for Dahlian Pakistan Universal, 3000hp. These locomotives were manufactured in 2004 in the Chinese city of Dahlian, hence the designation DPU30. Pakistan bought 9 such units (Serial Number 6101-6109) from China whereas 35 more units were to be assembled in Pakistan (Serial Number 6110-6144), hence the designation DPU30. The alphabet U in DPU stands for Universal load which means passenger and freight both.

In early 2005, Eight DPU30s’ from serial number 6101 to 6108 developed cracks in their frames. 6104 (photographed above) was the most affected. These locos were then withdrawn from passengers services and after crack welding was done they were relegated to hauling freight loads. Later Chinese engineers came to Pakistan and did the necessary repair work under warranty and all DPUs are now back in service and being fully utilized.

(3) AGE30

The abbreviation AGE30 stands for AdTranz General Electric, 3000hp. These locomotives have serial numbers of 60xx series.

In rest of the world these locomotives are used with a driver cab on both ends but for Pakistan these were built with cab on one side only. These locomotives were so long that in the begining there were no turn tables long enough to rotate these locos in some cities. Therefore on one side of the journey the driver cab was at the back of the engine andto to gave a very bad view to drivers. It is said that some drivers refused to run these locos in such configuration.

(4) GMU30

The abbreviation GMU30 stands for General Motors Universal, 3000hp.

These units are similar to HGMU30s described in (1) above except they are older and were not manufactured at Henschel factory therefore the alphabet H is missing from their designation. These locomotives were built in 1975 and Pakistan owned 36 such units. Their serial numbers ranged from 4701 to 4736.

(5) BCU30

The abbreviation BCU30 stands for British Consortium Universal, 3000 horse power. Pakistan got 29 of these units starting in 1964. Their serial numbers were 7001 to 7029. These units could only be used on the 276 km route between Lahore and Khanewal as only this length of Pakistan’s Rail network is electrified.

These locomotives work on AC (alternating current) traction of 25000 Volts.

BCU30s have now outlived their operational life and most of them are now relegated to freight hauling only. In 2007 one such BCU30 unit with serial number 7027 has actually been placed in Railway Heritage Museum at Golra


All photos of this post come from Mr. Rana Rashid and Mr. Zakir Khan’s website called

ATP’s Posts on Pakistan Railway:

1. Khyber Pass Railway
2. Bolan Pass Railway
3. The Trans-Balochistan Railway
4. Changa Manga Forest Railway
5. Lansdowne Bridge, Sukkur
6. Railway Bridge on Indus at Attock
7. Khojak Tunnel
8. Chappar Rift
9. Karachi Circular Railway – Revival gets 1 step closer
10. Zhob Valley Railway (ZVR)
11. How the First Locomotive Reached Lahore
12. 3000hp Iron Horses of Pakistan
13. Karachi Tramway of Yesteryears
14. Lahore Rapid Mass Transit Rail Project
15. A Phoenix Rises From the Ashes of Bakhshapur
16. ek masla hai… A Railway Runs Through It
17. Ava Gardner in Lahore for Bhowani Junction
18. The Meter-Gauge of Sindh
19. Indus Flotilla Company
20. Karachi to Kotri: First Railways in Pakistan
21. Pakistan Railway on the West Bank of Indus

Pakistan Railway Discussion Group:

If you want to learn more about Pakistan Railways, then feel free to join the ‘Pakistan Railway (PR)’ discussion group. Everything and anything related to PR is discussed here e.g. preserving of Pakistan’s rail heritage, steam locomotives, sharing of photos and news, time tables etc. You can join the discussion group here.

46 Comments on “The 3000hp Iron Horses of Pakistan”

  1. Jyoti says:
    May 19th, 2007 2:29 am

    Adil, this incident is not related to pakistan, but to Indian Railways and is so hilarious that I couldn’t resist sharing it with ATp readers.

    it happened in Bihar where passengers were asked to push the stalled train:) The story, published in one indian website goes like this:

    Patna: Hundreds of rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and push.

    It took more than half an hour to move the stalled electric train 12 feet (four metres) so that it touched live overhead wires and was able to resume its journey, officials said on Wednesday.

    The incident occurred in Bihar on Tuesday after a passenger pulled the train’s emergency chain and it halted in a “neutral zone”, a short length of track where there is no power in the overhead wires.

    “In so many years of service in the railways, I have never come across such a bizarre incident,” said Deepak Kumar Jha, a spokesman for Indian Railways.

  2. Eidee Man says:
    May 19th, 2007 2:33 am

    Owais bhai, nice post. But I visited this website expecting to see a post from you on Afridi’s latest blitz…something to smile about after all the recent darkness.

  3. May 19th, 2007 4:37 am

    Very fresh feeling this post gives. Interestingly enough, I just returned from the historical Margalla station and it was great there.

  4. Aqil Sajjad says:
    May 19th, 2007 9:30 am

    Great post

  5. May 19th, 2007 11:20 am

    Jyoti, here is a story that matches the one from Bihar. Those who had not seen it when we originally posted it will get a chuckle.

  6. Adnan Ahmad says:
    May 20th, 2007 12:10 am

    Good post Owais. How about the Hitachi Locomotives that were supposed to be assembled at risalpur during BB’s era. Did any get completed? Are they still being assembled?

  7. Owais Mughal says:
    May 21st, 2007 9:51 pm

    Dear Adnan. Yes Risalpur factory did produce Hitachis. They are mostly used on Punjab-NWFP routes. Their designation is PHA20 which means Pak Hitachi 2000hp. I don’t know how many of these were assembled at Risalpur. Need to do some research on this.

  8. Babbi says:
    May 23rd, 2007 2:50 am

    Good Post, Can we have a comparison of their speeds and efficiency and the max speed they can run on.

    One thing is quite confusing is to why Railway keeps on changing thier brands.

  9. Owais Mughal says:
    May 23rd, 2007 5:46 am

    The highest permissible speed on PR network is 140kmph and that too in certain sections only.

  10. iceCube says:
    May 23rd, 2007 6:34 am

    I was thinking perhaps Owais had missed a zero as I thought 3000hp was too small a figure for a locomotive… just then I realized my mistake as I was comparing it with 4500cc road cars.

    Cheers for the info…

  11. iceCube says:
    May 23rd, 2007 6:48 am

    If that doesn’t make sense – notice the mismatched units (hp cc)…

  12. Babbi says:
    May 23rd, 2007 9:21 am

    I wonder if all engine variants can run on 140kph.!! I have travelled a lot by trains in my childhood/teenage and out of curiosity have minutely observed all the railways’ signs etc. The max speed sign which I have seen is “95kmph” alongwith the “CLEAR” sign and while interviewing one of the drivers he said the max is 120kph. I think the sections they run on 140kph is kind of an unofficial permission to cover the delays.

    The 7000series Electric locos are not in a good shape apparently and I have noticed while travelling that the electric locos are not used for express trains. Are they slow?.

    Owais one thing I think you forgot to mention that these are diesel-electric hybrid locos. The diesel engine is used to make electricity which is then used to run traction motors in the wheels.

  13. Owais Mughal says:
    May 24th, 2007 11:44 pm

    Babbii, you are right. The rated speed at most sections is 95kmph. The ‘Clear’ sign means speed restrictions are over and speed can be increased to rated speed. For Pakistani built coaches (green and yellow livery), rated speed is 95-105 kmph. The Chinese coaches with blue/white livery speed limit is 140 kmph. These coaches are now being assembled in Pakistan. If you look at these coaches then on the side it is even printed in bold letters: Speed 140kmph. But as I said earlier 140kmph is only allowed in certain sections.

    You are right that diesel engines are actually diesel-electric hybrids.

    You are also right on 7000 electric series now being relegated to freight or slow passenger service only. These engines are more than 40 years old now.

  14. Babbi says:
    May 25th, 2007 2:23 am

    Owais, thank you for your clarification.

  15. Imran Zaki says:
    July 12th, 2007 5:36 am

    The HGMU 30 series loco is a real master. I have always been facinated by it. Although I now live in Rawalpindi and get bored looking at the Hitachi 2000hp, I really do not waste anytime while in Karachi or Lahore to peek a boo on the HGMU 30. I also have the rare honour of sitting in the cabin twice on the Lahore Khanewal section. The PR has blocked the throttle power of these beasts at 7, whereas they have throttle at 10. These locos are capable of pulling 2500tons and were better than the chinese ones that we have now. The PR, obviously, under the able guidance of the then Minister, a retired General Jawed Ashraf, and under the very able (mis)guidance of the now minister Sheikh Rashid, is headed nowhere fast and I hope it doesnt exceed the 95kms on this route.

    By the way, has anyone seen the programme on NatGeo on the Indian Railways?

  16. September 8th, 2007 11:00 pm

    [...] has written often about delightful train journeys and stations across Pakistan (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here). I myself have wonderful memories of train travel with my family [...]

  17. October 17th, 2007 11:14 am

    only picture

  18. Bernd says:
    October 30th, 2007 8:20 pm

    Great pictures! Many thanks!!

  19. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    October 30th, 2007 8:32 pm

    Ovais Mughal

    thanks for showing us our childhood these engines were like
    greek Gods, I travelled with thousands of dreams with
    them to Bolan, Peshawer, Punjab, can I get it back those
    momories, those who look after these “Gods” God bless
    them all. They took us to the heaven.

  20. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    October 30th, 2007 8:40 pm

    Ovais Mughal

    thanks for showing us our childhood, these engines
    were like Greek Gods, I travelled with thousands
    of dreams with them to Bolan, Peshawer, Punjab,
    can I get it back those memories, those who looked
    after these “Gods” God bless them all.

    They took us to the heaven.

    For God’s sake take interviews with those Drivers,
    if they are still alive, they were the drivers of heavens
    I repeat, and we enjoyed every moment of those journeys

    Pak Railways Zindabad

  21. Owais Mughal says:
    August 23rd, 2008 2:32 pm

    This post is reformatted today with news photos

  22. M. Shoaib Sarwar says:
    August 26th, 2008 12:02 am

    Thanks dear Owais.

    This is quite useful information.
    Do u have technical information of these locomotives, as their axle weight and axle spacings, etc.

  23. October 13th, 2009 9:10 am

    dear all
    today(october 13,2009) i experienced a unique thing about pakistan railways.
    on lahore karachi track near kotlakhpat railway station
    khyber mail coming from lahore stop before entry signal
    the rail crossing for road remained closed for at least half an hour
    reason was the signal were off due to power shutdown
    train driver could not see the entry indication so a railway employee from the station walked all the way to train which was halted out side station and personally informed him to come in.
    the train reached staiton at dead speed , that showed our preparedness about loadshedding and electricity failure
    (please note signalling system on this track is red & yellow lights unlike all other sections where light is used only at night while at day time down indication used)
    railway is great

  24. November 7th, 2009 7:51 am

    The railways is the backbone in a country,s economy. It is said with regret that the British have established railways for both India and Pakistan but un fortunately we could not maintain the railway system which we got after independence . We could not improve our railways because of the corrupt administrators
    and officers. I think the british made a big mistake to build railways for such people .Pakistani nation do not deserve modern technology and facilities but only deseve when people used to travel by mules and horses.

    December 6th, 2009 1:48 pm


    Thank you for hosting such lovely information, i have read all details and seen all photos, they have rich info. for every pakistani to know what our railway is upto.

    best regards,

    Keep Writing,
    Fee Aman Allah

  26. Owais Mughal says:
    December 6th, 2009 10:44 pm

    Yasir Afzal saheb. thank you for stopping by at ATP pages and leaving us a comment. hopefully we’ll now have you as a regular reader and commentator at these pages. Pakistan Railways has remained a favourite topic at ATP. In the post above I’ve updated a list of 21 posts that we have so far done on Pakistan Railway.

  27. kamran saeed says:
    January 6th, 2010 8:55 am

    the dpu 30 is not a 3000 hp but it has 3500 hp engine
    age-30 is also not a 3000 hp but it has 3300 hp engine

  28. Owais Mughal says:
    January 6th, 2010 10:14 am

    Kamran, thanks for providing hp numbers on DPU30s and AGE30s.

  29. Jayanta Sarkar says:
    May 13th, 2010 1:55 am

    Hi every one,
    I am from India and for the first time I have visited your site.Pakistan railways are doing commendable works for the country no doubt but what about the aesthetics in design?
    The locos you produce ,both diesel and electric are pain to eyes.Why it is going unnoticed?
    Please come to our sites and check out our locos.
    I hope the design engineers will give importance to the looks of the products.Best of pluck.

  30. Sridhar says:
    May 13th, 2010 12:51 pm


    I don’t see a huge qualitative difference between the design and appearance of Pakistan Railways and Indian Railways locos. If anything, I find the maintenance and cleanliness of PR locos and rolling stock to be typically better than their IR counterparts. The only rolling stock in India that looks better is that in the metro systems – these are typically comparable to the best in the world. But regular rolling stock made by the state-owned manufacturing units of IR tend to have poor fit and finish and generally poor maintenance.

  31. Jayanta Sarkar says:
    May 15th, 2010 3:12 am

    How the matter of cleanliness is coming here while stating about the design aesthetics of locomotives(Electric and Diesel engines)?
    I am not referring about the coaches-yes Indian coaches are ugly and dirty(mostly coming from the state owned factories-the blue coaches),except the latest ,which are now being supplied to Rajdhanis-the German designed-they are simply world class.
    Of course our Electric locos are far superior than many countries-like the WAP,WAG and even the old WAM series.The WAP-7 is a hybrid-can run with electric and also on stored power on cells.Please go to wikipedia and judge.

  32. Jayanta Sarkar says:
    May 15th, 2010 3:20 am
    This is the pic of WAP-7.
    Please have a look.

  33. Jayanta Sarkar says:
    May 15th, 2010 8:50 am

    Hi friends!
    I thought to show my country’s continuous achievements in electric locos.Here it is-
    Have a look.

  34. ali says:
    November 3rd, 2010 7:03 am

    really great are yehi to woh locos hain jinhoon ne PR ko ab tak chalaaya hai and abi tak chala rahe 82.hgmu and 47 gmu.both are super super locos of the world.pakistan ke locos sab se ache hain .jealous hone wale hote rahen. and PR ne bohat bari ghalti yehi kike hgmu ki speed kam kardi block kar ke.

  35. ali says:
    November 3rd, 2010 7:06 am

    I think now aise locos pakistan ko mangane chahiay.china ke locos me traction power kuch kam hai.gmu compani and alco ke locos best hote hain.PR ko 82 adn 47 ki tarah high power locos khareedne pics best hain.

  36. ali says:
    November 3rd, 2010 7:10 am

    PR and pakistan ke dushman ache nahi hain.ok woh jo 95km/h likha hota hai board woh jab ka hai jab england ne yahan railway lines banai thi.kisi ki samajh me ye bat nai aai.and PR ki susti se.unhon ne woh change nahi kiay so abi tak wohi likha hai jabke ab aisa likhna chahiay..140km/h high ye sab PR ki faults hain agar PR sache dil se kam kare to all world me PR jaisi railways kisi ke pass nahi…

  37. ali says:
    November 3rd, 2010 9:21 am

    new locos me AGE30 best 20 coaches ko haul karsakta hai easily.135 km/;s pakistani koi doosra apni site pe ja ke apne locos dikhaey.yahan batain mat kare…

  38. ali says:
    November 4th, 2010 1:37 am

    acha to nahi lagta but sach kehna par ta haike PR woh nahi jo pehle thi.ab isme kaam chor agaey hain jo apna apna kam nai karte and officers bi apni duty thek tarah nahi karrahe trains locos and railway lines ka khayal nahi rakha ja raha.kuch bi thek nahi ho raha.haaal ye haike jo lines thek then wo bi kharaab ho rahi hain.and railways me corruption bohat ho gai hai.ab agar PR ne apni haalat theek na ki to bpohat si trains band hojain gi.waise ye baloor to hai hi rail choor…trains band karna masle ka hal nahi…

  39. ali says:
    November 5th, 2010 8:39 am

    WOW kuch biho jab pakistani train me beth te hain to jo maza ata hai woh bata nai sakte.khoob enjoy karte hain train me beth ke.and train ke safar me bohat adventure bi hota hai.

  40. PRINCE says:
    December 11th, 2010 12:24 pm


  41. aslam says:
    December 11th, 2010 12:27 pm

    pakistan railways are the BEST railways. and this is only way of truth.the P R is v v very powerful part of our country..but still abhi tak isme koi modernized thing nazar nahi ati..waise iski speed increase hui hai.

  42. PRINCE says:
    December 14th, 2010 2:21 am

    pehle P R ki speed 100 to 120 km/h hoti thi..but ab iski speed increase hui hai aur takreban 140 to 150 km/h tak punjab area me trains chalti;s v v fast in pakistan trains..and kuch sections mehi itni fast ja sakti hain jahan railway track acha khanewal ke aas paas..aur but tain phir bhi late isliay hoti hainke time journey time p r ne barha dia haiu..pehle 12 hours me karachi to multan train jati thi..ab again n again cautions lage hote hain and waise bi rukne me few hours waste hojate hain..isliay..warna speed ab ziaada hogai hai..pakistan railways ko chahiay ke trains coaches new le and locomotives powerful mangaey like HGMU30,GMU30,RGE24,AGE30… all engines best hain..balke ab is se bi ziada hp 4000 hp ke locos mangane chahiay P R ko….

  43. train says:
    December 14th, 2010 2:25 am


  44. Jawwad Ahmed says:
    June 25th, 2011 2:08 pm

    Nice post, very much defined and clear information about locomotives with Pakistan railway.

  45. pakidil says:
    June 25th, 2011 2:42 pm

    Day by day every nation is doing some progress and we are still trying to have our common basic needs . Pakistani
    railway system was based by the British system and till that day still they haven’t progress anything in it . Don’t know when we have good system in pakistan

  46. July 23rd, 2015 8:07 pm

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