THE WAIT for the country’s first semi-AC train just got a little longer with the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), while approving six each AC and non-AC coaches for the train, refused to wave the exhaustive oscillation trials that are likely to take at least six to eight months.
With the first semi-AC local train set to be ready within a week, railways had been seeking an exemption from the trials, as it would allow the train to start operations in less than three months after basic safety trials.
The train is being assimilated specially for Mumbai by officials from Integrated Coach Factory, Medha Servo Drives Private Limited and Western Railway (WR) at its Virar car shed.
Chief PRO of WR, Ravinder Bhakar, said: “Last week, we have received a go-ahead from RDSO for a six AC and six non-AC train. Now, both static and dynamic trials will start in a week.”
This, after the RDSO approved one of the two proposals sent by WR — six each AC and non-AC coaches for a 12-coach train and six-AC and nine non-AC coaches for a 15-coach train. “We have been informed that a scheme for nine non-AC and six-AC coaches has to be first approved by the Railways minister’s office,” a senior WR official said.
As of now, only two fully AC trains with eight services ply every day. WR is unable to induct new services as there are already enough trains plying during peak hours. During off-peak hours, fully AC trains witness poor ridership. Semi-AC local trains are being looked at as the only solution at providing the comfort of a AC train without replacing a non-AC train.
According to the approved design, once ready, the semi-AC local will have a seating capacity of 1,096, against a non-AC train, which has about 1,156 seats. The six AC coaches would seat 514 commuters, while the six non-AC coaches would accommodate another 582.
While there will be no earmarked coach for first class commuters in the non-AC section, there will be demarcated areas for the physically challenged and women as well as a small luggage compartment.
Besides, the coaches will be equipped with CCTV cameras. Two cameras will also be installed inside the motorcab of the train.