Mumbai Monorail suffers from ailing joints

While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)-Scoomi authorities claim that the performance of the Monorail-1 on Wadala-Chembur route has been good despite services facing technical issues, transport experts feel it was MMRDA’s biggest blunder to bring the rail to Mumbai as it is not capable of mass transportation.

A transport expert raised concerns over the quality of Monorail spare parts. Many broke down, leading to snags in the trains that are in operation. As a solution, spare parts were taken off new rakes, which are at present on standby, and installed in the currently operational rakes, thus leaving the new ones incomplete.

Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “The biggest blunder that MMRDA did was to start a transportation mode like Monorail, which many countries are discarding. Within a year of its opening, it has started
developing glitches which raise serious concerns over the quality of the parts used to assemble the trains.”

The rail’s Wadala-Chembur corridor was thrown open in February 2014, and the past 11 months have seen many snags, which raises questions about operational efficacy when the entire Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur line is opened for public use.

“Once the Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur Monorail starts, the ridership will increase more than two to three times, and looking at its past experience, I don’t think it would match up to the expectations of passengers,” Gupta added. Earlier this month, MMRDA-Scoomi had to cancel 20 services between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm.

Nevertheless, MMRDA-Scoomi authorities are happy with the performance. “It is true we are facing some issues but it’s a learning experience,” said an official, adding, “We have instructed the company looking after the operations that such problems should not occur. The success percentage of Monorail operations is 85, and it will improve over time.”

Incidents

>> April-May: Many incidents saw Monorail doors opening on both sides at Chembur

>> May 23: Door of a train opened while it was moving

>> June 11: Constant-velocity joint of a rake broke 

>> July 20: At Fertiliser Township station, a wire tripped because of which services were shut for 10 hours. MMRDA then told L&T to improve insulation of wires

>> August 13: A CV joint of a train created problems at V N Purav Marg-RC Marg junction

>> October 11: A CV joint ruptured and damaged a door apron near Mysore Colony station

>> October 12: Another such joint of a train went bust

>> October 21-26: Only two rakes were operational because of which train frequency was reduced

>> December 7: Services were hit after a rake’s braking system failed

Fragile joints
The constant-velocity joint problem afflicting Monorail’s spare parts has been a major issue staring operators in the face. The joints which allow for transmitting power at a variable angle at constant speed have been conking out routinely. Since it takes time to procure the CV joints from abroad, they are removed from trains not currently in operation and fitted in the ones that are operational. Spares like nuts and bolts were procured locally.

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