Speed restrictions relaxed, Central Railway gets to work on height issue

Speed limits have been removed at four of the nine locations where problems are expected when the power system switches to 25,000-volt AC; officials will now work on increasing the buffer space between overhead wires and bridges

A day after mid-day reported that the conversion to 25,000-volt AC could wreak havoc upon the train schedule of Central Railway (CR) and cause mass cancellations, authorities began work on remedying the situation. They conducted trial runs of trains with the proposed 15 kmph speed restriction, and are also carrying out technical changes to EMUs.

Also read: 40 Central Railway services to be cancelled every hour from Sunday

mid-day had reported on yesterday that due to the conversion to AC power, a speed limit of 15 kmph had been imposed at nine spots on the CST-Thane stretch all of them under bridges by the Commissioner of Railway Safety.

This is because while the gap between the overhead wires and tracks is the recommended 4.27 metres, the buffer space between the overhead wires and the bridges was too close for the trains to be driven at high speed.

Sources said there was a high-level meeting wherein it was decided to shorten the height of the contact wire which connects the pantograph on the roof of the train and overhead cables — and reduce the diameter of the wheels of Siemens trains wherever required.

There is a need to increase the gap between the bridges and overhead wires by around 25-30 mm. “We inspected around 25 Siemens rakes, where we found five rakes had the height issue,” said a CR official. The authorities are looking at reducing the diameter of the wheels by 10 mm.

Yesterday, after getting condonation (permission) from the Railway Board, CR removed speed restrictions of 15 kmph at four locations below the bridges at Currey Road, Tilak Road (Dadar), Victoria Garden (S bridge) and Sandhurst Road.

Under the railway bridges at Sandhurst Road, Byculla, and foot over bridges at Matunga and Kurla, the speed limit has been increased to 30 kmph. “The speed restriction at Hancock Bridge (the ninth spot) will continue to remain 15 kmph. On the other bridges, we will gradually increase the speed limits to 50 kmph post-monsoon.

It’s a transition phase and there will be repercussions,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, Central Railway. Despite these efforts, officials agreed there will be cancellation in train services starting Sunday.

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