AFTER A month’s wait for the inauguration, the Train-18 will now be inspected by the Electrical Inspector to the Government (EIG), as per a decision taken by the Railway Board on Monday.
While railway rolling stock is exempted from such inspection as per law, the Board took the decision, despite contrary views from its own Rolling Stock department. The Rolling Stock department pointed out that there was no legal or administrative basis to call for EIG inspection, as Train-18 had been duly certified by the highest electrical authorities in Integral Coach Factory and the Research Design and Standards Organisation, multiple times.
Railway Board wants Train-18, which will run between Delhi and Varanasi, to be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Railway officials have maintained that the product was undergoing “procedural evaluation”.
While Northern Railway has been instructed to organise the EIG inspection, sources said that there will be two procedural problems in the inspection.
First, EIG inspection is done before an electrical system is charged with electricity. In the case of the Train-18, it has been charged long back for successful trials and certification to that effect has been issued.
Second, sources said, the EIG does not have the jurisdiction to inspect rolling stock in railways as it is the domain of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).
Sources told The Indian Express that unlike other rolling stock, Train-18 is a 25 kv electrical system, and therefore “no sane person would overrule the CRS after it has flagged a need for EIG inspection.”
The CRS, in its conditional clearance to Train-18, had highlighted that the train required EIG clearance — a departure from practice. A section of the Railway Board, it is learnt, had even cited the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy, which, according to officials, had “spooked some top officials”, a source said.
However, the Railway Board said that all the recommendations of the CRS will be adhered to in entirety. This can delay the launch of the flagship train because one of the recommendations is to do the crucial oscillation trials again. Last time these trials took three weeks. Usually these trials — where coaches are tested by running them with weights and also empty — take months. “Even if we hurry up the process, it might take double the time it took earlier,” said a railway official.