COMMUTERS ON the Western Railway (WR) will soon enjoy a more comfortable journey in the Medha train, the first with an indigenous electrical system. Undergoing its final phase of trials, this rake will be pressed into operations early in 2017.
The new rake, powered by Hyderabad-based firm Medha Servo Drives and manufactured at Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory of the Indian Railways, was brought to Mumbai in October last year. Though it was supposed to hit the suburban tracks soon after, a delay in conducting its safety tests and trials further postponed its entry.
While the static trials of the rake were completed earlier this year, the rake stationed at Mumbai Central car-shed is presently undergoing its dynamic set of trials. The trials will continue for at least a week following which a speed certificate from the Research Designs and Standard Organisation (RDSO) will be awaited.
“The rake is presently undergoing its set of dynamic trials which includes emergency braking, oscillation test and radio frequency interference tests. Its suitability on the suburban tracks will also be checked by running it between Virar-Churchgate for two days,Virar-Nalasopara for four days and between Virar-Dahanu Road for two days. A study of its trials will be done by RDSO, who will give the speed certificate and also suggest necessary changes and recommendations,” said a senior Western Railway official.
However, officials confirmed that though its trials could get done by October end, awaiting a final sanction from RDSO and Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) will take time. “We keep a minimum time frame of at least 3-4 months after the trials are done expecting a green signal from RDSO. They can also suggest necessary changes in the rake or system which will have to be worked upon,” said Mukul Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, WR.
The rake is a product of ‘Make-In-India’ initiative of the government which will help supply locals with indigenous technology to the metros without depending on imported technology. The rake will replace one of the Bombardier rakes on Western Railway by next year for its pilot run on the track.
“The rake has been giving a positive response in all the set of tests and trials conducted on it. Till now, we have seen no such issue concerning its designs and is exactly in line with the parameters set by WR. In another two weeks, we will finish with its trials,” said an official concerned with conducting the trials of the rake.
Two more Medha rakes will soon be pressed into service after the first one conducts a successful run on the suburban track. Officials said that the other rakes will be directly commissioned into use as trials of the same are not done unlike the prototype rake. The WR possessed 100 rakes at present, out of which 86 rakes finally come into service. While most of them are either Bombardier or Siemens rakes, it is expecting to receive at least 18 more Bombardier rakes.