Failure in the battery charging mechanism due to a fault in the charging cable as well as tripping of a circuit breaker have been identified as the root of the problem behind the breakdown of the Vande Bharat Express on Saturday, hours after it ended its successful maiden journey flagged of by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A team of engineers from the Indian Railways as well as the maker, the Integral Coach Factory, fixed the problem working throughout Monday, which is one of the days of the week when the train does not run. It will resume service on Tuesday.
On Saturday morning, as the circuit breaker kept tripping, the pantograph — which draws power from the overhead equipment — had to be lowered. However, the design mechanism is such that in such a case, the train’s battery should have continued to be charged from the neighbouring unit or the adjacent set of coaches, which did not happen. The brakes froze the wheels as a result, and as the system controlling that mechanism got discharged due to the charging cable malfunctioning, the brakes could not be released automatically, engineers working on the trainset told The Indian Express on Monday.
“We have located the problem and fixed it. It is nothing major. Ideally it should not happen. But since it is a new technology and the first rake, minor teething troubles are expected,” said an officer working on the project.
Sources said the Railways team also expressed its unhappiness to Medha, the technology vendor of Train 18, whose engineers were also on board the Vande Bharat. Medha is now making adjustments to the software of the system to improve alerts for these snags.
“First, let’s accept the fact that this is a prototype and there may be teething problems initially. And let’s have faith on our engineers to set them right. Remember Edison and the bulb? For the first time in India, we have developed the train set indigenously,” the ICF, Chennai posted on Twitter as response to the breakdown on Sunday.