Floods raise doubt on AC local

AC local has been designed to run in water level up to 400 mm

AC local has been designed to run in water level up to 400 mm  

Convertors are underslung, face high risk from waterlogging

The season’s flooding has raised eyebrows among the city’s railway administration regarding the prototype air-conditioned (AC) local train whose key equipment, such as convertors, are located under the floor of the train or underslung.

The prototype, built by the Integral Coach Factory, has been designed to run under conditions where the water level is up to 400 mm above the track.

“The convertors are made up of electronic components and cannot be repaired locally. If a convertor gets damaged, the rake effectively will be out of service until it is repaired, which could take weeks,” a senior railway official said.

The regular local trains have convertors on board and are hence insulated from water damage. In several areas such as Ambernath and Badlapur, water levels rose to over 20 inches, or 500 mm, crippling the entire suburban system. Officials said under such conditions no local trains could run, but the difference between the prototype AC local train and the regular local trains is that the latter could be repaired quickly and pressed into service sooner.

They also spoke about the shock the suburban system gets, if a handful of local trains are pulled out of service. They cited the example of July 3, when Central Railway was forced to run fewer services as nearly 32 trains were under repairs after severe waterlogging on July 2.

“Mumbai faces waterlogging and flooding every year. While there are some spots such as Sion that are always at risk, new areas have emerged over the last few years. This year it was Badlapur, last year it was Nallasopara. It is hard to predict where the next spot may be as a lot of it is linked to the nature of development that takes place in the area,” an official said. Last year, eight local trains of Western Railway (WR), which were standing in the yard, were damaged due to the flooding in Nalasopara - Virar belt as water failed to recede even after the rains had stopped. Senior officials said the AC locals with underslung equipment must have a higher factor of safety for the city, given its history of flooding.

Underslung equipment is considered advantageous as it is allows for vestibule coaches, similar to metro trains, adding more carrying capacity. The Research Designs & Standards Organisation is currently conducting trials of the rake and will be submitting its report soon.

Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer, WR, said, “The trials for the prototype AC local are currently under way. It is a new technology and an informed decision will be taken once trials are completed.”

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:55:34 PM |

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