Mumbai: Central line gets now fleet of Bombardier rakes with better passenger amenities

Mar 03, 2018, 09:57 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

New fleet of Bombardier rakes with upgraded passenger amenities have started arriving for the central line

CR's BHEL trains had been throwing up problems in recent times. Pic/Akshay Marathe
CR's BHEL trains had been throwing up problems in recent times. Pic/Akshay Marathe

For the sake of commuter comfort, the Central Railway has finally withdrawn its troublesome fleet of dual current BHEL trains. They will now only be used as back-up. There were issues with the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited trains, with one of them recently catching fire at Dadar station. CR has a fleet of eight 12-car BHEL trains, and five were operational at any given time. The running of dual current local trains from BHEL had been leading to operational issues, and subsequently, to delays and incidents.

BHEL

Ushering in the new
Railway officials said that after DC-AC conversion, many trains had been retrofitted as dual current trains like BHEL. These were a stop-gap arrangement to keep the system running with enough number of trains. After the complete conversion of DC to AC in April 2016, railways has been procuring newer trains and CR has been getting new Bombardier rakes.

As the new fleet of trains has started arriving - 24-odd with upgraded amenities - the older trains will be phased out. CR chief public relations officer Sunil Udasi confirmed the BHEL trains had been phased out, assuring that people’s commute would be made more comfortable as more new trains were brought in.

Low on reliability
BHEL rakes were introduced in 2000, but there were fire and reliability issues right from the start. Their electrics kept going off due to short circuits, overheating of motors and breaking of pantographs. The Commissioner of Railway Safety had in 2014 warned CR, which had 14 such trains in 2014, about the danger these trains posed to commuters. The issue had been of improper layout of cables and faulty fuses.

After the rap, and a series of fires, a CR team had worked extensively on the wiring and circuits and identified all problems — the existing wiring layout in AC/DC BHEL coaches was in steel trenches with too many control wires running in bunches, making them rub against each other, leading to damage. There were also problems with motor fans.

The electricals were changed. As new rakes came in, they were phased out. In 2017 monsoon, they were withdrawn from service, so that train operations remained smooth, a lesson learnt after 2016 monsoon when BHEL trains had been stranded at Sion and other low-lying areas, blocking mainline tracks and other trains. However, a brake-binding incident on February 2, leading to smoke and interruption in services at Dadar, led to questions again; on February 12, CR withdrew all trains from active service, keeping them only as back-up for emergencies.

BHEL mishaps
>> Mar 14, 2012: Heavy smoke detected from the second coach of the Dadar-Kalyan local between Thakurli and Kalyan stations
>> Apr 8, 2012: Three passengers aboard an Ambernath local injured after jumping off on seeing smoke in the coach at Kopar station
>> Mar 15, 2013: Coach of a Badlapur local caught fire at Ghatkopar station
>> May 5, 2013: Motor coach of a Kasara local caught fire at Kasara station
>> Jan 3, 2014: Empty motor coach caught fire in Thane
>> Mar 20, 2014: A Kasara local derailed near Titwala
>> Apr 3, 2014: Motor coach of a Karjat local caught fire at Dadar station
>> Apr 14, 2014: Smoke seen in motor coach of a Dombivli local at Kopar station
>> Feb 2, 2018: Smoke and fire damaged a coach of a Thane local at Dadar station

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