A key reason behind the dragging pace that’s been plaguing Western Railway (WR) services in recent days is, ironically, 20 new rakes. According to WR representatives, ten retrofitted and ten 4000 series locomotives have been introduced by the network.
“The 4000 series rakes are slow, but provide better ventilation to passengers. We are getting complaints about delays and are trying to resolve this issue,” said an official. WR operates 1,290 services daily, including 30 of fifteen-car rakes, 1,150 of twelve-car rakes and 110 on the harbour line. From March 29, forty new trips have been added to the network.
Interestingly, many motormen who run the 4000 series rakes say they find them uncomfortable. “Other trains pick up speed quickly, but these new ones need more time. While the other rakes reach 80 kmph in seconds, these 4000 series rakes take three minutes to do the same,” said a WR motorman on condition of anonymity.
According to train drivers, with these new rakes on the tracks, all the services behind them get delayed. “Commuters approach us at stations and complain about the sluggishness. We are helpless, as the rakes are slow. The retrofitted trains are just like the 4000 series ones when it comes to speed,” added the motorman.
Usually local trains run at 80kmph, but between two stations they may accelerate to 90kmph. “It’s very difficult to operate these new rakes, because by the time the train picks up speed, a station arrives,” said another WR motorman. Commuters aren’t satisfied with just some fresh air. “We were happy with the older rakes. In the name of providing better ventilation, the authorities are slowing us down.
I have started leaving for work early, as train services are getting interrupted every day, and WR authorities should do something to sort this out,” said Bharti Kumar from Bandra. Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway, said, “We checked, but did not find any speed issues. In fact, our punctuality has increased.”