Mumbai: 2006 blast survivor to rest forever near CSMT's platform 18

Updated: Jan 06, 2020, 07:12 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

WR cocks a snook at terror with a decision to preserve train coach that was blown up at Matunga during July 11, 2006, attacks and re-commissioned after repairs

The retired train coach is now at Kalwa car shed
The retired train coach is now at Kalwa car shed

The last remaining coach blown up in the July 11, 2006, train blasts that was restored for service, will be displayed at Mumbai CSMT's open-air heritage gully museum in a fitting reply to terrorism. The coach was retired after it completed its codal life. The news comes close on the heels of the scrapping of the Millennium rake, that had saddened Mumbai.

The train has gracefully retired from public service after a successful innings on the trans-harbour line. We will be transporting the coach to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and putting it up for public display near platform 18," Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Shivaji Sutar said.

the coach shortly after the blast
The coach shortly after the blast

mid-day had reported that the coach, which was in service on the Central Railway, was on its last legs. The retired train coach is now at Kalwa car shed. The 864-A was damaged when the 12-car 5.57pm Churchgate-Virar local was torn apart at Matunga Road station on July 11, 2006. Of the seven blast-affected rail coaches, five were restored within one year at a cost of R1-crore to R1.2-crore, but slowly phased out. Two coaches had been immediately "condemned" as they were beyond repair.

Sole surviving coach

As of today, 864-A is the sole surviving coach of the terror attacks. The coach had been originally made by Jessop Company, Kolkata and all the material required for restoration had been brought from the original company. In 2006, after it was restored, it and the other four restored coaches, underwent extensive tests before being declared fit to run. Runs of these carriages were also simulated in the workshop under most difficult conditions and only when they cleared all the set parameters were these coaches put back into service.

The 864-A (currently at Kalwa car shed) was damaged when the 12-car 5.57pm Churchgate-Virar local was torn apart at Matunga Road station
The 864-A (currently at Kalwa car shed) was damaged when the 12-car 5.57pm Churchgate-Virar local was torn apart at Matunga Road station

In most of the coaches, the entire roof had been severely damaged. The main frame of the coach, the backbone of the structure, needed replacement. The frames of the outer shell and the rods supporting it were procured from original manufacturers, Jessop in Kolkata. The damaged roof structure was replaced with metal sheets from spares.

In service after trials

After restoring the main frame, accessories like seats, fans and other such items were installed. Finally, bogie frames with wheels were attached. After various checks like oscillation tests, trial runs under various conditions were conducted with empty runs and with loads varying from 20 to 30 tons, making sure the coaches were fit for a second innings.

People look to help passengers in the coach, 864-A, right after the blasts. File picPeople look to help passengers in the coach, 864-A, right after the blasts. File pic

After the restoration of the coaches, the train had been transferred to Central Railway as part of an exchange programme while upgrading Mumbai railway's electric network from the old direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

The 864-A and a few other older DC coaches were part of this exchange. After that it ran on the Central Railway's mainline for some time before being transferred on the trans-harbour line.

Rs 1.2cr
Cost of restoring each damaged coach

7
No. of coaches damaged during the blasts

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