Nearly 35 per cent of the trains plying on the suburban section of the Central Railway are over 30 years old. This is five years beyond the average codal life of a train for smooth operations on the tracks. Around 42 trains, which are part of a fleet of 117 trains running on the main and harbour lines of CR, are 30 years or older. Most of these trains ply on the harbour line on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Panvel route used by over 10 lakh commuters every day. Some of these trains operate on the main line too.
The old trains make screeching sounds while running and sometimes the fans in the coaches don’t work. They move slowly running on 1,500-volt direct current (DC). On April 28, Sunday MiD DAY had pointed out in a story that Union Railway Minister PK Bansal was unhappy with the way old trains were still being used in Mumbai.
According to railway officials, the codal life that is the average life of a local train is around 25 years. Beyond this age, trains are used but begin deteriorating in terms of the electrics and other components. Railway engineers make technical changes and replacements to exceed the life of these trains, to make them run for as long as 33 years and more.
However, with the power upgradation to 25,000-volt alternating current (AC) from 1,500-volt DC, the number of these old rakes will come down in the course of time. Most of these old trains operate on both 1,500-volt DC and 25,000-volt AC. But once the power upgradation is done, the authorities will remove these old trains from the fleet and introduce newer ones.
“We are also retrofitting (replacing old electric components with new) the old trains that have over 10 years and more life left in it,” said a senior CR official. By the start of first week of May, CR officials will shift from 1,500-volt DC to 25,000-volt AC between the Kalyan-Thane sections. This will ensure that more power supply will be available in the system, which would ensure that newer trains are in place and old trains are removed. “We are looking at starting to upgrade the power system by May 5,” said a CR official. As per plans, the power will be upped to 25,000-volt AC right up to CST in the months to come.
Number of trains running on central and harbour that are over three decades old
Number of trains running on the main and harbour lines of the Central Railway
Number of years that is the average life of a local train plying on city tracks