Mumbai: New rakes won't bring relief to WR commuters any time soon

Passengers hoping that WR would be able to start new services or enhance its punctuality with the introduction of the Bombardier rakes will have to wait for the six-month trial run to be complete; speed restrictions imposed in this period have left their hands tied, say officials

For all those who thought that the introduction of the new German-made Bombardier rakes would lead to new services being introduced or help ease the near-perpetual delays faced by the Western Railway (WR) commuters, the dream will take much longer to materialise.

One of the two Bombardier rakes ready for departure from Churchgate station. File pic
One of the two Bombardier rakes ready for departure from Churchgate station. File pic

Ten days after their introduction on the Western Railway (WR), the two rakes are currently being operated on a trial basis. Sources claimed that during the six-month-long trial period, these rakes will run on the slow line at a restricted speed of 70 kmph.

WR also has permission to test the rakes on the fast line, but with the speed restriction being set at 80 kmph, officials say that is not feasible since the current Siemens rakes reach a speed of 100 kmph. They said testing the new rakes on the fast track could disrupt existing services.

“Because of the speed restrictions, we will not be able to think about introducing new services right now. The Bombardier rakes were also supposed to help reduce the delays on the network since they are faster than the older rakes and can touch 105 kmph on the fast track,” said a WR official.

Currently, the WR is struggling in maintaining punctuality due to the realignment work being undertaken at Andheri station, and services are delayed by at least 10 minutes daily.

CR bears the brunt
With the trial run for the new rakes to last for at least six months, Central Railway (CR) commuters will suffer the most. As per the initial understanding between the WR and CR authorities, the former was supposed to hand over an equal number of rakes (mostly Siemens-made) to CR after receiving the new Bombardier rakes.

This was essential because CR is making do with very old rakes, which are on their last legs of usability. WR officials now say that they can’t hand over the rakes until the trial run for the Bombardier ones is over. “We can’t give Siemens rakes to CR until the trial run for the Bombardier rakes concludes.

We are, however, ready to give them retrofitted rakes in the meantime,” said a senior WR official. Each retrofitted rake is anywhere between 15-17 years old while the codal life is 25 years, which can be extended up to 30 years.

22
No of daily services run using the new rakes on the Churchgate-Borivli route

1,618
No of services operated by the CR daily

1,210
No of services operated by the WR daily

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