The Western Railway (WR) authorities are gearing up for dynamic trials of the first air-conditioned (AC) rake in the city, expected to begin by October-end or early November. This comes after a technical survey was conducted by officials to identify spots where the height of the train could be a hurdle.
Ten spots including Grant Road, Mahalakshmi, Mahim, Matunga Road stations — where the height of the AC train was found to be too tall for the road over bridges and overhead equipment (OHE) — were identified in the survey. The railway authorities have therefore selected the fast-track route between Dadar and Borivli to conduct the trials.
“For example, at Grant Road station, electrical officials could not find a solution to elevate the OHEs anymore as Alternating Current traction of trains do not allow that. At the same time, tracks could not be lowered any further as it could lead to flooding problems. Thus, the fast-track route between Dadar and Borivli was considered ideal to conduct trials for the rake,” a senior Western Railway official said.
While the railway board will decide on the final route on which the AC rake will run after the results of the trials are conducted, WR is planning to increase personnel who could guide passengers on how to board the AC rake, which has an automatic door-closing system. Officials said their help would be required at least in the initial years if the rake runs during peak hours on WR.
“At least 250 such personnel will be required on the 28 stations to help passengers properly board the train. While it may incur an expenditure of Rs 10 crore for the organisation, it will be better to receive their help, especially during peak hours,” another WR official said.
The trials of the AC train — which arrived in Mumbai in April — was delayed due to many reasons, the last one being the delay caused in receiving a technical instrument for the rake. Railway officials have confirmed that static trials of the rake can take place any day between October 21 and October 25 as the technical instrument has now been received.
The other nine rakes, to be manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHE)L, will be lesser in heights to be made suitable for its operations on both CR and WR Officials from the CR said dynamic trials of the rake could happen on the trans-harbour section or between Kurla-Kalyan for evading its height problems.