Gen X train bubble bursts

Elation has given way to despair after the railway administration acquired and commissioned new rakes.

Written by Kalpana Verma | Mumbai | Published: January 20, 2009 3:05 am

Elation has given way to despair after the railway administration acquired and commissioned new rakes.

Failure has been constantly plaguing the new rakes,bought under the ambitious Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) aided by a World Bank loan. The problem has become so acute that maintenance staff are being deputed to escort these trains during most journeys they make,unheard of anywhere in the suburban railway of Mumbai.

Western Railway had hardly commissioned the first of the new-generation trains when the first failure happened. On completion of the inaugural run itself,the train tripped near Borivali station.

“There are a lot of problems,such as wheel lock,failure of traction motors and problems in software. These problems have been reported to the Integral Coach Factory,so that trains supposed to come next may be modified. We have to depute maintenance staff on most of the new rakes so that any failure may be attended,” a senior Western Railway official admitted.

“It is a cause for concern. What if we increase the services and this problem continues?”

In Central Railway,too,maintenance staff frequently escort the new trains to their destination. “Earlier there were many failures related to software. The problem has reduced after we deputed Siemens engineers at the Kurla carshed,” said S Mudgerikar,chief public relations officer for CR.

However,a CR motorman said: “If the problem is solved,then why are maintenance staff still escorting every new train? There is no shade over the windshield. It becomes difficult to work during peak noon. We were told that railway would put sun control film on the windshield but this has been done only in a few of the new trains.”

PC Sehgal,managing director of the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation that oversees projects under the MUTP,said: “We would rather all the failures surfaced now as the rakes are in their warranty period of 18 months. Each and every failure is being observed; till now all problems have been solved except that of traction motors. Temperature and moisture in India are extreme,so such initial problems are only to be expected.”

LAST 2 MONTHS AT WR
Nov
: 6 in operation,7 failures,1 cancellation,16 delays
Dec: 11 in operation,6 failures,39 delays

FLOP SHOW
11of 17 rakes work at Western Railway. 14 of the 17 had been commissioned
13 of 16 rakes work at Central Railway. Frequently hit by failure

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