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Trial of automated doors on Mumbai local trains may begin in March

Trials of a similar rake had failed last year on the WR due to technical faults.

Written by Neha Kulkarni | Mumbai | Updated: November 29, 2016 11:45:38 am

From March 2017, one train on the suburban railway line in the city could have coaches with automated doors. The train, with three coaches, will kickstart the second initiative by the railways to design a rake in which commuters don’t travel on train steps or cling precariously to its doors.

While the retrofitting work for the coaches is being undertaken at the Mahalaxmi workshop, the railway board is yet to decide if they will be used on a CR or a WR train.

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Trials of a similar rake with automatic door-closing system had failed last year on the WR due to technical faults in the closing mechanism, in addition to improper ventilation. Upon the railway board’s insistence, officials have been working on re-designing the system.

“We will finalise the revised design of the new system in a span of 15 to 20 days. We are sure to complete the trials of these coaches before the end of the financial year,” an official said.

The project assumes importance for the suburban section of the railways, which witnesses at least 700 deaths due to people falling off trains every year.

“In April, we received the railway board’s suggestions on trying to re-work the automatic door system. After taking specifications from all stakeholders, we tried to re-design it by making the doors suitable for the conditions on the suburban section,” the official added.

The revised designs will synchronise software of the opening-closing pattern of the doors with the train management control system (TMCS) of the rake that monitors the overall running of the train. All three coaches’ doors will now close and open simultaneously. The time gap for passengers to board will remain 30 seconds, as it was during last year’s trial.

“During the trials last year, the biggest problem noted was that while some doors would not open at all, some would not close.This would then affect its running as the rake would not move before all doors were closed.This time, we have tuned its software in such a way that the motorman will also be equipped to close the doors,” an official monitoring the project said.

Improving ventilation in the coaches will also remain a priority, officials said.

“The new coaches will offer more leg space for commuters, as some seats will be removed to create more space for commuters to stand. The focus is on ensuring that commuters vacate the space around the doors and instead stand inside the coach,” the official added.

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