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New Trains from old

This year will see some old EMU rakes rolling out as new from the Central Railway car shed at Kurla.

Kurla car shed set to transform old but usable railway rakes,which would have been redundant after DC to AC shift

This year will see some old EMU rakes rolling out as new from the Central Railway (CR) car shed at Kurla. The car shed,after serving as a maintenance centre for 85 years,is putting old but sturdy EMUs back on track,freshly painted and retrofitted to perfection.

It is remaking them to meet the pressing needs of the ever expanding rail commuters of Mumbai.

The idea was born after the Central Railway realized that despite introducing some 44 new Siemens rakes,they were still short of rakes. There was also the question of what to do with existing rakes,which had life to last 15 more years,but would be non-operational after shifting from DC to AC traction.

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After a lot of brainstorming,engineers and officials decided to design a transformer and rectifier to give a new avatar to existing rakes and there was no better place than the ‘Coorla’ Car shed to do it.

Commissioned in 1925,the car shed,3000 meters long and 600 meters wide and which can hold 20 trains,is one of the biggest sites for the CR. Today,around 705 railway employees,including officials,work there. It was first constructed when electrification of the Harbour line was undertaken. This car shed is witness to the day the first electric train in Asia ran between CST and Coorla on February 3,1925. It was maintained at this car shed.

The car shed has seen all,introduction and maintenance of first 4-coach rake to the present 12-coach rakes and probably 15-coach in near future; from the basic DC technology to modern AC technology and transforming the old rakes to new. EMU Kurla car shed,the first electric car shed in Asia,has now turned into a manufacturing unit too.

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The car shed will be the first maintenance unit to retrofit old DC rakes into AC-DC dual rakes at CR. Right now,a motor coach is ready and work on two other coaches (driving coach and trailer coach) should be over soon. The first retrofitted rake will roll out mid-January.

“We had to design the transformer and rectifier,which cuts 25,000 volt down to 1500 volt. In this the DC system is retained,but some AC equipment have been added. A lot of mechanical modifications have been done. Our idea was very well supported by the Railway Board,” said Janak Kumar Gerg,Senior divisional electrical engineer.

“For this project nine staff including supervisors have been deployed. In reality,though,every staffer of the car shed is involved in some form or the other. It is a big project. A special team has been deputed. As the new technology is familiar,we are comfortable to work on it.”

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RS Verma,in-charge of the project,added that the train would have steel partitions,seats and luggage racks. “The colour scheme would be in keeping with the new Siemens rakes,” he said.

Rajesh Karamjakar,fitter,is said,“We got an opportunity to learn new things. When this rake is ready,it will be a happy moment”.

YK Mulewa,a supervisor,said,“Software logic of Siemens and BHEL have been changed into hardware in the control system for retro-fitted rakes.”

In a year,CR will have to retrofit 10 trains. “Initially it takes time,but when one rake is successfully done,then there will be easy to work further. We have got one transformer now,the moment we get more,new rakes will be ready,” Gerg informed.

First published on: 02-01-2011 at 04:04:31 am
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