A 60-Year Partnership With The Lifeline Of The Nation


The world’s fourth-largest railway network, the Indian Railways, has always been the poster boy of scale and a veritable powerhouse of technology and infrastructure. With its diverse range of energy-efficient air compressors, ELGi has been the largest supplier of air compressors to the Indian Railways for over 60 years.

For the Indian Railways, maintaining the highest compressed air standards is critical. For rolling stock of all capacities—from locomotives to goods wagons to passenger coaches, whether powered by electricity or diesel—the railways need high-quality compressed air for smooth and safe operations. Moreover, various train components, whether the braking system, doors, pantograph devices, or air suspension, rely on high-quality compressed air solutions for safety and overall reliability. The Indian Railways is also subject to a variety of compliances and regulations. Its stringent policies promote safe transport, work, sustainability, and intelligent mobility.

By the early 1960s, ELGi began assembling and manufacturing small compressors. It imported only major components and either manufactured the rest in-house or procured them locally. With urgent requirements arising from the Indian Railways and a mandate to keep costs low, ELGi opened an indigenous compressor manufacturing unit in the heart of Coimbatore. The first product supplied to the Indian Railways was a 100-liter-per-minute-capacity compressor driven by a battery-operated direct current (DC) motor. Since then, ELGi has consistently delivered a wide range of sustainable and efficient compressed air solutions to the Indian Railways. Today, 90% of Indian Railway’s electric locomotives, 65% of diesel locomotives, and 60% of electric multiple units (EMUs) use ELGi air compressors for braking applications and auxiliary systems.

The Indian Railways has been ELGi’s important customer for over six decades. Increasing urbanization and rising incomes have contributed to significant growth in the passenger segment, while freight traffic also saw a marked increase due to dedicated freight corridor investments. Our oil-free air compressors, renowned for reliability, performance, and energy efficiency, will revolutionize how compressed air is used in the railway industry,” said Dr. Jairam Varadaraj, Managing Director, ElgiEquipments Limited.

Product innovation highlights: Creating value for the Indian Railways over decades

Continuous improvements and a consistent focus on developing high-quality products have resulted in designing, developing, and delivering highly reliable air compressors that significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Product introductions:

1965: A single-stage oil-lubricated DC motor-driven air compressor (CRC 150) that efficiently lifted the pantograph with a smaller footprint and was easy to mount on locomotives.

1967: Pneumatic air horns.

1968: Two-stage air-cooled lubricated air compressors (TRC 1000 B) to blow horns, use windscreen wipers, and for efficient and safe braking in diesel shunting locomotives.

1970: Pneumatic wipers.

1979: Indigenously developed two-stage air-cooled lubricated air compressors (TRC 1000 WK) and replaced the imported compressors for electric locomotives.

1983: A lightweight, compact, and highly reliable water-raising apparatus (WRA-AC) for raising water from the underslung water reservoir in air-conditioned coaches.

1986: Expressor (6CD 4UC) for diesel locomotives to operate the brake system, air horns, and wipers.

1990: An upgraded version of two-stage air-cooled lubricated air compressors (TRC 1000 MN) for operating air brakes, air horns, and wipers in electric locomotives.

1991: High-capacity (2000 lpm) two-stage air-cooled lubricated air compressors (TRC 2000) for operating air brakes, air horns, and wipers in electric locomotives.

1992: AnExpressor (6CD 3UC) for operating air brakes, air horns, and wipers in diesel locomotives with a high air compressor capacity of 200 cfm.

1993: Two-stage lubricated DC motor-driven air compressors (TRC 1000 DCM) for electrical multiple units (EMU) with inline configuration.

1995: A two-stage lubricated AC motor-driven air compressor (TRC 1000 ACM) for electrical multiple units (EMU) with inline configuration.

1996: A pure air compressor (LG 3CDB) for diesel locomotives with a high air compressor capacity of 200 cfm.

1999: A high-quality, indigenous, customized solution in the form of a 72 cfm/10.5 bar air compressor (TRC 2507) for the 1400 HP diesel shunting locomotives & diesel multiple units (DMU).

2002: Two-stage oil-lubricated, air-cooled, upgraded Expressors (RR 100101 EC) for diesel locomotives with low maintenance costs. This acted as the upgraded version of the 6CD 3UC Expressor.

2003: An oil-lubricated, air-cooled, underslung air compressor (RR 20100 CG (M)) to cater to the unique requirements of three-phase ABB locomotives, including high-speed trains like Rajdhani & Durondo.

2005: A two-stage oil-lubricated, air-cooled, new-generation silent compressor (RR 15070) for Siemens MRVC coaches. These compressors were lightweight without coupling with wire-rope isolators, resulting in less vibration.

2007: An upgraded version of the pure air compressors (LG 3CDB) was introduced. Also introduced was the two-stage oil-lubricated, air-cooled compressor (RR80101) with high reliability and low lifecycle cost that enables operating air brakes, air horns, and wipers in diesel locomotives.

2009: The first indigenous water-cooled air compressor (RR66101 W) for Indian Railways, meeting the GM locomotives (WDP4 and WDG4) requirements for DLW Varanasi.

2009: Specially designed wipers and water sprinkling arrangements for three-phase ABB locomotives.

2012: The first oil-free air compressor (RR 14100 OF) for the conventional electric locomotives in Indian Railways, resulting in less maintenance, reduced CO2 emissions, and clean, oil-free air.

2014: Two-stage air-cooled, direct-coupled “common air compressors” (RR 20 100 CC) for all-electric locomotives.

2015: 15HP oil-lubricated compressors (RR15101) for the “Auxiliary Power Unit” application in conventional diesel and GM locomotives.

2016: 20 HP oil-free compressors (RR20100 OF) for the WAG9 and WAP4 locomotives.

2018: Underslung single-stage oil-lubricated DC motor-driven air compressors (U/S CRC 150) to lift the pantograph efficiently with a smaller footprint and easily mount on electrical multiple units (EMU).

2017: Special pneumatic wipers for high-speed locomotives were introduced.

2019: An oil-free range of air compressors (RR10100 OF / RR20100 OF) for the metro/electric multiple unit (EMU) segments with a lighter construction tag, noiseless operation at less than 66 dbA, reduced CO2 emissions, and clean, oil-free air. It also enabled easy operations and reduced maintenance costs by up to 50% with improved maintenance schedules.

2023: Electrical wipers for multiple units and oil-lubricated air compressors tailored for the Metro and EMU sectors (RR10100 / RR15100)

ELGi and the Indian Railways is the story of a relationship that has withstood the test of time. We remain committed to addressing the Indian Railways’ compressed air requirements with customized compressed air solutions. And we will do so not by resting on our past laurels but by continuously raising the bar.