Central and Western Railway officials have written to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation for ‘closed door’ facilities in local trains. This added feature could delay the arrival of new trains by at least two to three years
Mumbai’s wait for new trains just got longer. A year after the Railway ministry had announced that AC locals would be launched soon, railway officials say the roll out of the 72 new trains that were being procured under phase 2 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) is being delayed as engineers are working on a proposal to include a ‘closed-door’ facility in the trains. This is being looked at as an alternative to the AC local trains, for which plans have been underway for years now.
Three new rakes were flagged off from Kurla recently. File photo
The delay could be attributed to the fact that both Central and Western Railways (CR and WR) have written to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and the Railway Board for ‘closed door’ facilities in local trains and better forced ventilation, which could delay the arrival of new trains by at least two to three years.
Sources in MRVC, however, claim that as per initial tender agreement and plans, there was no proposal for ‘closed door’ trains. Another possible reason for the confusion and delay in rolling out these trains is that presently, two new trains made by Bombardier, have been undergoing trial runs over the last two months. The trains are part of the overall 72-trains that have been proposed to launch.
According to new plans, the shell or body of the train will undergo a major change although technical changes will not be too necessary. “If ‘closed door’ trains do get an approval, changes need to be made in such a way that these doors close properly and sufficient additional ventilation shafts are provided,” said a MRVC official. A WR official further added that a mechanism in the train will ensure that the doors are shut every time it leaves the station and that ventilation can be provided even in these doors for proper air circulation.
The issue, however, is that all this will take time. Railway officials agreed that they will have to go back to the drawing board to design these new trains. Costs will also increase - currently, each rake costs Rs 35 lakh or so — bringing in more financial issues.
Railway authorities are thinking of introducing the first 10-15 trains without the ‘closed door’ facility and manufacturing the proposed ones gradually, once the designs are ready. They feel this will not affect the delivery date of these new trains. On February 22, mid-day reported on how for the first time new rakes are being tested during the day, at speeds up to 120kmph, between Kalyan and Ambernath. In all, 72 trains will be manufactured and procured under MUTP-2 at a cost of Rs 5,400 crore.
Raking in numbers
Year Number of Bombardier rakes