Static trials of the first air-conditioned suburban train for city — which includes testing the interface between the software and the equipment installed — will begin on July 31, said sources in the Central Railway.
The train will be tested for smooth co-ordination between the motor coach and other coaches.
This comes after the Central Railway has already missed two deadlines (May 16 and June 30) for conducting trials of the AC rake.
The train, with a completely new electrical system and software, has been manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Strukton, a Netherlands based firm, and had arrived in Mumbai on April 1.
Referring to the work undertaken on testing the efficiency of the train, a senior CR official, who is dealing with the working of the train, said, “There were problems found with the smooth coherence of the software to the other technical things fitted in the train. Problems with easy interface between the motor coach to the other coaches fitted was also witnessed. Efforts are on to make the communication system better inside the coaches.”
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“Experts from Netherland are working on testing the software and hardware capacities of the train. Inputs are given from their colleagues in the team in Netherlands which is implemented by them on this rake,” he added.
However, it is the efficient working of the train management system which forms an issue.
“The train management system implies efficient coordination of the motor coaches with the other compartments. Until that is seen, it is difficult for us to go ahead with even conducting trials. All our efforts are aimed at getting that right,” the official added.
Officials claimed that post positive results from static trials, performance trials of the AC rake can be conducted at least two to 2.5 months from now.
“A performance trial will test the working efficiency of the vehicle after increasing its load capacity. It is very necessary for the train to qualify this trial, without which getting it for its final service will be difficult. Efforts are on to bring the rake into service by December,” a senior CR official said.
“A performance trial of the train will be conducted in the harshest of harsh conditions. Not only will it be tested on the main line on the Central Railway,
but also on the suburban line of the Western Railway. In here, we will have to see if the rake is able to adopt to technical details on suburban tracks and work as smoothly as regular rakes,” he added.
However, an official confirmed that it is too early to even think about deciding fares or marking routes of the same.
“The rake is yet to qualify on many trials. After that, a certification from Commission of Railway Safety and Research Design and Standards organisation will be awaited. Post this, a meet with various interest groups will decide the fare system and segmentation of coaches,” the senior CR official said.
It is only after the prototype rake is set in place, other AC rakes — constructed on a similar model — can be expected to deliver services.
An order of receiving 10 air-conditioned model from BHEL was made by the railways.