72 new rakes to arrive only after July

MUMBAI: The new batch of 72 electric multiple unit (EMU) rakes ordered by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is unlikely to arrive before July 2013. The delay will hamper augmentation of suburban services, besides hindering modernization of the fleet and traction system.

The delivery of rakes had been delayed by six months as the first one was to arrive by November-December 2012. However, MRVC officials had insisted there was no delay and the prototype would arrive on schedule by March 2013.

While the shell is to be built the Integral Coach Factory, electrical infrastructure, including traction motors, will be installed by Bombardier Transportation, at a cost of Rs 14.8 crore per EMU. The rakes are being procured under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-II.

MRVC managing director Rakesh Saksena conceded, “As per the original schedule, the trial on rakes was to be conducted by May 2013. However, due to the delay, the trial will now take place in August.”

But a senior official maintained that the rakes were scheduled to arrive by December 2012. Once the trials are conducted, changes, if any, will be made. Regular supply of rakes would have resumed from March 2013 in a phased manner.

On whether any penalty will be imposed, a senior official said, “We will have to hear their explanation before taking a call.”

As per the agreement between Bombardier Transportation and MRVC, the penalty should not exceed 5% of the project cost.

The delay in supply of rakes will hamper augmentation plans of Central and Western Railway. A senior WR official said, “We need more rakes to run services on the Churchgate-Virar corridor. The demand for rakes will also increase with the extension of services to Dahanu.”

WR has Siemens MRVC and retrofitted rakes. A senior official said, “Many will have to phased out because they will have outlived their utility. Running of older rakes can lead to breakdowns and frequent disruption in services.”

A CR official said, “The new batch of MRVC rakes can only run on 25 KV alternating current. This power system has been fully activated on WR. Once WR is allotted the rakes, it will, in turn release dual current AC/DC compatible rakes to us.” CR is yet to fully switch over from 1,500 KV DC to 25 KV AC.

FEATURES OF NEW RAKES

* The 12-car electric multiple units (EMUs) can run at a maximum speed of 120kmph, as against the maximum speed of 100kmph of the Siemens rakes
* First-class compartments will have more leg space and modified luggage racks
* While steel rakes procured under MUTP-I are susceptible to corrosion, the new rakes will be of stainless steel
* The 72 rakes will have improved ventilation
* The new rakes will have an energy-saving regenerative braking system that exists in Siemens rakes.

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