Mumbai: CR faces height barrier at nine spots during power conversion

During inspection, authorities have identified spots between CST and Thane where there is insufficient space between overhead wires and bridges, which is posing a problem for conversion to 25,000-volt AC

Central Railway (CR) could face a tough challenge in completing the power conversion from 1,500-volt DC to 25,000-volt AC. During inspection, authorities have found nine spots where trains operating on the new power system could face the barrier of insufficient height between the tracks and overhead lines.

All these spots are either under road over bridges (ROBs) or foot over bridges (FOBs). Representation picAll these spots are either under road over bridges (ROBs) or foot over bridges (FOBs). Representation pic

mid-day had reported yesterday that CR was preparing to unveil its new power system to commuters on its Main line in the first week of this month (‘CR Main line could get off to electrifying start in June’), provided the inspections of the conversion work proved successful.

During the testing, authorities have realised that there are nine locations between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Thane where the gap between the tracks and the overhead wires is insufficient for trains to pass. The prescribed gap between railway tracks and the overhead lines is 4.27 metres and this is what currenlty exists on the line.

Since the motor coaches of the Siemens local trains operating are 2 cm taller than this, they push the overhead wires higher. This poses a problem under bridges, but so far it had not been a major issue because the voltage was lower on the 1,500-volt DC system. With the switch to 25,000-volt AC, however, a bigger gap has to be maintained between the underside of the bridges and the electric wires.

This has emerged as a problem in nine spots in Kurla, Sion, Matunga, Currey Road, Masjid, and Byculla. The contentious spots are either under road over bridges (ROBs) or foot over bridges (FOBs). “There are nine spots where there are minor issues, but we are sure these (issues) will be sorted out within 10 days. More than 75 per cent of the inspection is over by now,” said S K Sood, GM, Central and Western Railway.

Speed limit
Sources also said once the new power system kicks in, trains will d have to follow a speed limit of 15 kmph under these bridges at least initially. Taking care of this matter is vital to CR, as the R1,300-crore power upgradation project has remained in limbo for the past three years.

Even when the conversion work was on between Kalyan and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, on the long-distance lines, it took almost 15 years to be completed. Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu was supposed to inaugurate several projects in the city yesterday.

Had the conversion been completed, the new power systsem would also have been flagged off. However, neither did CR finish the power transformation work on time, nor could the minister come for the function that he was slated to attend in Andheri (see below).

Bandra-Santacruz fifth line
Western Railway and the state government have decided to sort out the issue of the fifth line between Bandra and Santacruz within eight days. This fifth line, intended for long-distance trains, passes by a Muslim cemetery near Bandra Terminus. People cross the railway tracks via a level crossing to reach the cemetery.

In order for the tracks to be operational, this pathway will have to be closed. There is an alternate path a few metres away to reach the cemetery, but people do not use it. The state government has been sitting on the railways’ proposal to handle the situation for more than a month now. Once the line opens, more than 20 long-distance trains can be moved to this line, leaving more space for local trains on the suburban tracks.

4.27 metres
The prescribed gap between railway tracks and the overhead lines

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