THE FIRST-EVER air-conditioned suburban train for Mumbai rolled into the city on Tuesday morning. The blue-grey train rake with a stainless steel body has 12 coaches with a capacity to seat 5,964 passengers, as opposed to 4,984 in the old Siemens rake.
The train is parked at the Kurla car shed of Central Railway, and officials said considerable work is yet to be done on its interiors. Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of the Central Railway A K Singh said no date has been fixed yet for its trials and eventual deployment.
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The train has some new features. It has wide double-glass sealed windows to offer a better view outside. The coaches are connected by vestibules in two parts of six each while the seats are similar to the previous Bombardier rake.
In case of an emergency, each coach has a system installed that lets the passenger connect to the motorman and guard, and an LED destination board is present to alert the motorman. There is also a manual door opening system in each coach that can be accessed even when the train is in movement. The rake will have 2 ACs of 15 tonnne per coach and electrically operated automatic sliding doors.
It will also have a GPS system for announcements and any fault in the system will be diagnosed by an in-built mechanism. Singh claimed that the new train will consume 25% lesser energy as opposed to normal rakes.
The train has been in the making since July 2014 in the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, under a Rs 54-crore project, Even though its outer body is ready, there is still a long time to go before the train can be opened to the public. “Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and the shed staff will work on the internals of the train, which will take a few weeks. After that, test runs will be conducted by Research Design Standards Organisations (RDSO) to make sure it has a smooth and safe running. Only after they certify it will the train be opened for the public,” Singh said.
No markings have been made to indicate separate coaches for men and women. When asked about it, Singh said the rake was just a prototype and no decision had been made about separate coaches.
Work is yet to be done on the ventilation system, the air-conditioning system, the passenger alarm system and the automatic doors, among many other things. No fixed number for trials was given and Singh said it would depend completely on the RDSO’s tests as to when the certificate would be granted.
When probed about the date on which the train would finally start running, Singh reiterated it would be known only once the tests were done.