Wrong sketch delayed new lot of local trains

Railway officials involved in manufacturing and procuring the Bombardier rakes sent the wrong sketch of the train to the Commissioner of Railway Safety, who didn’t approve the faulty design

A silly error in sending a sketch has led to a delay in Mumbai getting the new lot of trains under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). Railway authorities involved in manufacturing and procuring the Bombardier rakes sent the incorrect sketch to the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), to seek his permission on the design.

Earlier this week, railway authorities managed to send the correct design of the new trains to the CRS. File pic
Earlier this week, railway authorities managed to send the correct design of the new trains to the CRS. File pic

As the CRS checks the diagram before he checks the prototype, he did not approve of the faulty design. Its result: a delay of several months in getting these trains. In November 2013, two prototypes of the rakes, which were meant to undergo several physical trials and tests before they could be approved under MUTP-III, came to Mumbai.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) conducted trials of these on both Central and Western Railways, on the Kalyan-Kasara/Karjat stretch and the Churchgate-Borivli route. The issue was revealed when the CRS who is part of the Civil Aviation ministry wrote a letter to the railway authorities in February 2014.

Sources said that the crux of the issue, as per the sketch, was a 94-mm protrusion on the under frame of the coach. Under frames are the parts on which the coach is placed. The rail authorities failed to explain what the protrusion was, even as files after files were exchanged. Sources said that the CRS normally doesn’t conduct a physical check of the train unless papers and diagrams are clear and permissions are taken.

As per the wrong diagram, there were remote chances of this protrusion hitting the platform, especially during monsoons, in case the tracks sank even by a few millimeters due to soil erosion. “The worst case scenario is looked at before approving any new design of a rake, as it involves the safety of railway commuters,” said an official.

On January 9, 2015, there was a meeting between the CRS and railway authorities, including the Research, Design and Safety Organisation (RDSO), the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and other stakeholders regarding this issue. Finally, earlier this week the correct design was sent to the CRS. After some procedures, 70 new trains will be manufactured.

“Once the revised sketch was sent, I inspected this train. Still I have asked the Railway Board to give a condonation over certain technical issues,” said Chetan Bakshi, CRS (Mumbai). Condonation is a written permission to bypass precise technical norms.

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