The bulky motor coaches consume nearly half the compartment in the trains; reducing its width will open up more space for commuters
On December 25, the Central Railway (CR) rolled out the first train with modified seats that can supposedly accommodate 336 more commuters. However, this has also raised a new debate on technological improvements, which only can bring long-term relief to the 75 lakh daily commuters on Mumbai suburban rail network.
On December 25, the CR rolled out the first train with modified seats that can supposedly accommodate 336 more commuters. Pic/Suresh KK
A certain section of railway officials feel the need to cut down the breadth and size of transformers that are installed inside motor coaches. Inside a 12-car local train, there are four motor coaches, each powering two trailer coaches. Sources said the motor coaches are like the heart of a train.
“These motor coaches take up half the coach’s space. Technologically there is scope to lessen the width of the motor coach that would allow more people to be ferried,” said a senior CR official, on condition of anonymity.
A rough estimate reveals that by halving the space utilised by these motor coaches of a 12-car train, space can be created for accommodating commuters inside at least two coaches.
For example, in Metro rail coaches, there are vestibule coaches and motors are either underneath or above the train coaches. The Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in Lucknow is the entity responsible for making and planning of any changes inside trains across India.
“These changes have to be decided by the Railway Board in Delhi and the RDSO. Under the current frame of coach design, no such changes can be made,” said another railway official.
The current format of trains with the modifications can accommodate 336 people more during peak hours. However, sources said that in case any changes are made in reducing the size of transformers — which they feel is possible — then it can easily provide accommodation for around 650 more people.
The rail authorities also feel the need to improve the tonnage of wheels that carry these coaches. Presently, each coach can carry a weight of 16-20 tonnes.
However, if the Railways bring in longitudinal seating — similar to Metro rail coaches — the carrying capacity of the wheels will have to go up to 25 tonnes.
The CR authorities will also be modifying a second rake with 2+2 seating. Four coaches out of five coaches will be converted by the Matunga workshop by January or February 2016.