In line with its target of introducing automatic door closing system in non-airconditioned local trains, the Western Railway, last week, conducted static trials in a suburban local coach at the railway workshop in Mahalaxmi.
WR retrofitted a coach for this purpose and very soon, the actual trials, with passenger load, will be conducted, said authorities. According to senior railway officers, the static test was conducted to see whether the door closing facility could be provided in existing rakes.
Last month WR had selected three coaches for retrofitment to test for automatic door system. Officials of German based Failele company, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow have come to Mumbai for the inspection. Western Railway officials were in touch with German based Failele company, which is an expert in manufacturing closed doors.
According to a senior official, tests are being conducted to check if the doors close automatically without glitches. During the tests, authorities found that the doors opened and closed within 10 seconds.
“However, we carried out the experiment on one coach and now we plan to test two more coaches in month of October, “ said a senior railway officer, requesting anonymity.
The rake’s braking system will be connected to the doors opening and closing. The official said, “The automatic doors will have sensor technology. The brakes will get released as soon as the doors close. This will ensure a foolproof system and the train will not move till all passengers have boarded it and the doors are closed.”
While tests for closed door system is underway, the WR official also said that they have to check air-circulation in the system. The railways may install the system in WR’s 80 rakes and CR’s 120 over three to four years. Retrofitting each 12-car rake is expected to cost Rs 4 crore.
After the cases of falling from running train, issue of closed door was taken into consideration. In June this year, the Railway Board asked the WR to conduct a pilot project to introduce automatic doors.
“Automatic closed door system is not possible without air-conditioning . Initially, the facility will only be restricted to coaches reserved for women commuters,” said a senior railway officer, expressing concern about having the facility in non-airconditioned trains.
To reduce the discomfort of commuters in a closed-door train sans air-conditioning, the WR will introduce the automatic door closing feature on Siemens rakes, which have ‘forced ventilation’ system. Apart from forced ventilation, WR will also work to increase air-flow inside the trains through windows.
“An improved version of the better air-circulation system is also available on the new Bombardier rakes, which are undergoing trials. However, since the new rakes are yet to be commissioned, the EMU workshop has been asked to begin work on Siemens rakes,” added the officer. While a 30-second halt time is provided on locals, it is estimated to go up by another 10 seconds after the door closing feature is introduced.
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