Mumbai: When the news appeared about the innumerable delays in the making of the first-ever air-conditioned local train for Mumbai, a team of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) met electrical department authorities of the Railway Board to explain its position. The meeting between BHEL and the railway’s electrical department was held on Wednesday at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, said officials.
The rake was supposed to be dispatched to Mumbai in December, but the latest work schedule of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai shows that the testing of the power systems of the train would only be complete by January-February next year.
Anil Saxena, Additional Director-General, Public Relations, Ministry of Railways said the BHEL team had told the railways that the air-conditioned rake should be ready for trials by the end of this financial year (March 31, 2016). “It is a completely new prototype and is being attempted for the first time in India. So there are lots of new technologies that are being tried out and that is causing the delay. But the ministry believes that the rake will be ready before the end of financial year 2015-16,” said Saxena.
It was earlier highlighted the fact that the delay in testing of the power systems of the train- being provided by BHEL in partnership with Strukton Netherlands- and the late supply of air-conditioning units for the train were main causes of the delay.
A history of delays:
Feb 2012: AC local announced in 2012-2013 rail budget
Feb 2014: The then UPA govt sets July 2014 as new deadline
Mar 2014: Construction supposed to start; but only design of the rake’s interiors finalised. Delay in sending electrical motors by BHEL to railways
June 2014: July 2014 deadline pushed back to late 2014
Aug-Sept 2014: Construction of shells of the rake begin at ICF Chennai
Sept 2014: Deadline pushed back to January 2015
Jan 2015: New deadline set as July 2015
April 2015: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu says trials of rake to begin in Mumbai by September
June 2015: New deadline set as October 2
Aug 2015: Deadline revised as December, which ICF says will be maintained
Dec 2015: Deadline revised to February as testing still not over