By Greg Fenrick

In mining, locomotives are typically battery powered where diesel fumes or smoke would endanger crews, and where external electricity supplies cannot be used due to the danger of sparks igniting flammable gas. Battery locomotives are also used on many underground railways for maintenance operations, as they are required when operating in areas where the electricity supply has been temporarily disconnected. However, the cost and weight of batteries prohibit using battery-powered locomotives on extended runs. Where diesel fumes and fears of flammable gases aren’t a concern, diesel locomotives are used. Locomotives can also be connected to a trolley system, but as with diesel, these are only used in non-flammable environments.

NexTec Low Profile Battery Locomotive for Tunneling and Mining (Photo: R.A. Warren Equipment Ltd.)

Trolley Locomotive (Photo: Clayton Equipment Ltd.)

Diesel Locomotive (Photo: Irwin Car and Equipment)

Locomotive Manufacturers

Brookville Equipment Corporation
Clayton Equipment Ltd
GIA Industri AB
Irwin Car and Equipment
R.A. Warren Equipment Ltd.
Mining Technologies International Inc.
Trident S.A.
Traccion y Mineria, S.A.

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If you’re looking for used locomotives, InfoMine’s EquipmentMine database has several listed.

To read some mining locomotive history, visit The Steeple Grange Light Railway website.