Mumbai: Operating 15-car trains easier said than done

Engineers claim implementing Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal will require massive infrastructural and technical changes besides monetary support

Soon after Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu suggested adding more 15-car trains on the suburban rail network — Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) — he had received unanimous support from Members of Parliament (MPs) who are part of the Suburban Accident Committee that was formed days after Dombivli resident Bhavesh Nakate fell off a crowded train.

But railway engineers said this was easier said than done, because the process is complex, needs massive funds and time for completion. “Engineering-wise, nothing is impossible. But if we extend the platforms and do other works to accommodate 15-car trains, all this will come at a cost.

We aren’t just talking about the monetary aspect, but the technical challenges this will involve. Some of the changes include changing the signals, track alignment and increasing the length of the platforms, which will reduce the distance between two stations, making it unfeasible to operate 15-car trains,” said a senior railway official.

Another officer said it took 26 years to operate 12-car trains on WR after the project first commenced in 1986. There is hardly any space in Mumbai for expanding the suburban rail system, unless the network goes further north. Moreover, the railways are already struggling to complete the fifth and sixth lines on both CR and WR.

He also pointed out that longer trains take more time to accelerate and decelerate, which will further hamper the timetable. A CR official said, “It will affect punctuality, as everything will take more time. But a 15-coach train has 33 per cent additional carrying capacity against a 12-car train.”

145
Number of platforms on WR

243
Number of platforms on CR

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