Mumbai: CR Main line could get off to an 'electrifying' start in June

Central Railway could begin operating on the 25,000-volt power system between Thane and CST; inauguration is expected to happen in the first week of this month, when Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will be in the city

There is good news for commuters on the Main line of Central Railway (CR). The new power supply system of 25,000-volt AC could finally be put to use during the first few days of this month. This system is expected to increase the efficiency of services and reduce delays and breakdowns that mar CR’s services often.

Central Railway officials carrying out an inspection of the power upgradation work between Thane and CST in the last week of May. File pic
Central Railway officials carrying out an inspection of the power upgradation work between Thane and CST in the last week of May. File pic

mid-day had reported earlier that the inspection of the 25,000-volt AC supply between Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) was being done during the last weeks of May. CR is presently using the 1,500-volt DC supply on the stretch. The road to reaching this juncture has not been smooth; CR has breached its completion deadline twice May 23, and then May 26.

Now, officials said the new power system could be unveiled to the public in the first week of June, when Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to come to the city. “These are VIP-driven projects,” said a senior railway official, pointing out the apathy over the delay of this project that began around 2007-08.

The conversion also means CR can do away with the older trains on the Main line (CST to Karjat/Kasara). Officials need to scrap around 345 coaches that have passed their codal life of 25 years or more, but are unable to do so because of unavailability of newer coaches.

S K Sood, GM, Central Railway, told mid-day, “As soon as the conversion from 1,500 volts DC to 25,000 volts AC is completed on the Main line next week, we will scrap 100 coaches immediately.” CR is also expected to get two rakes which can operate on 25,000 volts from Western Railway, and combined with the spare coaches, this will ensure services are not affected in any way.

The scrapped coaches will be kept in the yard, where they will be used as spares until newer coaches come in. Until now, they were being used after carrying out periodic maintenance every 18 months.

Harbour line
This leaves the CST-Panvel Harbour line as the only DC-operated line in the entire country. Officials said the power conversion on Harbour line would resume once the Main line is completed this week. “At least 80 per cent of work on power upgradation has been completed on the Harbour line.

It will hardly take four months to complete the entire conversion in our system,” said another CR official. Compared to its western counterpart, Central Railway requires more coaches: it operates 121 rakes (including 46 on the Harbour and the Trans-Harbour line), while WR runs 84 rakes per day.

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