Mumbai: Suburban train commuters' wait for air-conditioned trains just got longer. Two months after it arrived in Mumbai on April 5 with much fanfare, the first AC elect rical multiple unit (EMU) rake is not yet ready for trial.
The railways had initiated plans to carry out trials with passengers on April16 to coincide with the first run on the railways in the Indian sub-continent in 1853. Absence of safety clearance trials, though, ensured that it would not happen anytime soon.
It then set a deadline of April 30 to get the rake fit for trials. Thereafter, the railways fixed May 15 as the deadline but since the technicians could not figure out the problem with the software, the deadline was revised to June 30.
A senior Central Railway official said, “Technicians from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) are working to get the rake ready for trial. However, they now feel that the trials would be carried out only after July .“
The delay in carrying out trials has frustrated commuters as well as activists. Railway activist Subhash Gupta said, “The ICF has repeatedly missed the deadline for the project, which was first approved in the railway budget in 2011. Why is it taking the railways so much time to even carry out trials?“ The AC rake was manufactured under the Make In India initiative and the technology was indigenously developed. BHEL has provided the electrical system for this rake. Sources said, “The problem is with the software procured by BHEL. The train may not run passenger services this year if the trials are going to get repeatedly delayed.“
The rake cost Rs 54 crore, which is extremely low because it was manufactured under the Make In India initiative. The train has a passenger capacity of 5,964, for 1,028 seating and 4,936 standees. It can clock a maximum speed of 110kmph and has a passenger-carrying capacity of 5,964, including 1,028 seating and 4,936 standees.
The rake has electrically operated automatic sliding doors with its control in the motorman's hands. The AC local may have a fare system on the lines of Delhi Metro Railway Corporation.