City to get ‘flood-proof’ locals soon
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The new Bombardier stainless steel trains, which are expected to run from February 2014, are going to ensure that commuting does not come to a grinding halt during monsoon. The rakes are capable of running even if there is eight inches of water above rail level.
"Given Mumbai's problem of flooding every year, we have ensured that the rakes are capable of running at 8 kmph even if there is 208 mm of water above rail level," said Harsh Mehta, Director, Communications & Public Affairs, Bombardier Transportation.
At present, suburban services are stopped if there is 100 mm or four inches of water above rail level. This is done to ensure passenger safety. The new feature will also prove to be an advantage during monsoon, as the rakes will be able to "rescue" themselves on their own.
Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager, Western Railway (WR), said, "Unlike existing rakes, which have to be pulled by an engine if they are stranded, the new rakes will be able to run on their own even if there is excess water on tracks." Higher speed and improved ventilation are some of the other advantages of the new violet and white locals. The wipers in the motorcab have also been improved to help motormen during heavy rains.
Mehta said, "The rake can be run at 120 kmph. However, in regular service, its speed will be a maximum of 110 kmph. The train can withstand the climatic conditions of Mumbai."
The first of the 72 12-car rakes bought under the MUTP phase 2A by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) arrived Wednesday at Virar car shed. The broad gauge rakes run only on Alternate Current (AC).
For the next two weeks, officials from Bombardier Transportation will conduct tests and download software required to run the rake in the suburban system. The rake is scheduled to begin trials on tracks soon after Diwali. "We hope to begin trials from first week of November. The trials will go on till January 2014. An analysis of the trial will be prepared by January-end. The rake is expected to be inducted in service soon after the report is ready," said an MRVC official. The second rake will leave the ICF, Chennai, on October 31 and reach Mumbai within 10 days. Both rakes are expected to join WR as Central Railway is yet to convert its traction from DC to AC.