Wait for AC local train to get longer

Incident-marred trial runs ensure ₹55-crore train service will miss September 2017 launch date

The wait for an air-conditioned local train service is likely to get longer for Mumbaikars. The Railways had announced that the first AC local train would begin running in September on the Western Railway. However, incident-marred trial runs have ensured that the launch of the blue-and-silver train would be further delayed.

The AC local arrived in Mumbai from the Integrated Coach Factory in Chennai on April 4, 2016. Initially, the trial runs were conducted on the Central Railway, but the train ran into problems on the Main Line due to its height. The height of the train was 4.335 m, but the maximum permissible height for trains to run on the Central Railway was just 4.270 m. “With such a height the train cannot run on the Central Railway especially under from the bridges at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Kurla,” said a Central Railway official.

In May, the ₹55-crore train was sent to the Western Railway for more trial runs. The trials began on the night of May 25 between Mumbai Central and Borivali railway stations. The trial run was later extended to Virar. However, railway officials say the trial runs have been marred by problems. Last week, during a trial run at night on the Western Line, the transformer of one of the coaches emitted sparks. Since then the train has been lying at the Kandivali yard for maintenance.

A.K. Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway, said, “There were technical glitches reported during the trial runs. We are working on it and trials will start again soon.” The trials, which are generally conducted at night, are also likely to be affected owing to the rainy season. The results of the trial run are then sent to the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RSDO) and the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) for approval.

A WR official said, “The teams from the RDSO and CRS are continuously monitoring the trial runs. The train will halt at each station for 30 to 40 seconds.” Apart from other features, the AC local train will have fire fighting system which will be installed inside the coaches.

‘Highest priority’

The Railway Board has ordered another nine AC trains from Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. The trains can seat 1,028 passengers while 4,936 standees can be accommodated at maximum capacity. The trains will be vestibules, enabling passengers to move easily from one coach to another. Railway officials are planning to run the service at non-peak hours. The train will ply 10 to 12 times every day between Churchgate and Borivali railway stations. Officials, however, haven’t arrived at a fare. They are considering Mumbaikars and their budget to fix passenger-friendly fares.

An official said, “The AC train service is the highest priority of officers as it is the pet project of Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.”

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:17:47 AM |

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