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Mumbai: Railways want to bridge the gap before bringing in new trains

The body is looking for ways to reduce the distance between the footboard of the new Bombardier rakes and the platform; this might delay in including the new rakes in regular services

You may have to wait a little more to travel on the brand new Bombardier rakes. The issue of the gap between the footboard of the rake and the platform seems to have delayed introducing the trains in regular services.

Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said they were looking to find ways to reduce the gap between the new local trains and the platform. File pic
Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said they were looking to find ways to reduce the gap between the new local trains and the platform. File pic

The development has come as a result of a series of meetings between railway officials, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) – which is the agency procuring the rakes – and Chairman of the Railway Board, Arunendra Kumar. The 72 new rakes are scheduled to be brought in as part of the R5,400-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project-II.

Officials claim the Railway Board has asked for another round of detailed checks of the rake specifications, in terms of its height from the tracks, width and other technical details. In fact, Kumar said, “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes (referring to the height of trains) made while procuring trains under MUTP-I.

So, we will carry out necessary changes while procuring rakes under MUTP-II and conduct trial runs as well. We are examining ways to reduce the gap between the train and platform.” The height of the Siemens make of rakes procured under MUTP-I is 1,220 mm from the top of the rail.

“The problem of increasing gaps between trains and platforms came up in the last two years. We need to look at the root of the problem,” added Kumar. The problem has always been a persistent one for Mumbaikars – with senior citizens, pregnant women and physically challenged finding it difficult to board trains amid the huge crowds and the gigantic gap between the footboard and the platform and station.

This was further highlighted when Monika More, a 16-year-old girl, fell in this gap at Ghatkopar and lost both her hands. Reacting to the furore over the accident, railway authorities decided to increase the level of platforms from 760-840 mm – the height at a majority of platforms across suburban railway platforms – to 920 mm.

Pushed ahead
The height of the new Bombardier rake, which is being manufactured at Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, is around 1,230 mm. The additional procedures, albeit important, would simply delay manufacturing and introducing these trains in regular services.

Sources in MRVC said that the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) – which is the brains behind creating new technology of trains in India – too has been asked to look into the issue with the dimensions of new trains.

Sources said the technical specifications of the rakes are currently being inspected, and reports shall be submitted soon. It is quite likely that the air springs, which control the oscillation and movements of trains, might undergo changes.

However Prabhat Ranjan, chief PRO, MRVC, said, “There won’t be any changes in height or design of the rakes and there won’t be any delay. The railways are increasing the height of platforms wherever necessary”.

Rs 5,400 cr
Amount set aside for Phase II of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project, which includes work like conversion of overhead power lines from DC to AC, Lines 5 & 6 between Kurla and CST, extension of Harbour line to Goregaon etc

1,220 mm
The height of the current Siemens rakes from the tracks

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