मुंबई Mumbai: Commuters may have to bear with disruptions in suburban services in the medium term as long as Bharat Heavy Electrical (BHEL) rakes are deployed on Central Railway.
On April 3, 18 services were cancelled after fire broke out in the motor coach of a BHEL rake at Dadar on the CR. On January 3, fire broke out in the motor coach of an empty BHEL rake stabled in Thane.
BHEL rakes can run on dual traction — 25 kV alternating current (AC) and 1,500 V direct current (DC) — and were introduced 15 years ago. “We had encountered problems with BHEL rakes soon after these were introduced,” a CR official said. These rakes were not plied on the CR for years because of reliability issues.
“We had a total of 14 BHEL rakes, of which nine are in use,” the official said. “These were introduced as there was a need and clamour to increase the services after a rise in passenger traffic.”
Since the BHEL rakes were not in regular use, the performance was not remain up to the mark.
“If the machinery does not remain well-oiled, it does pose a problem,” the official said. “Moreover, a lot of cannibalization has taken place in these rakes, further affecting performance. Sometimes there is a short circuit, leading to a fire. Sometimes there is failure of the motors. These issues crop up because of improper layout of cables and faulty fuses.”
The official said these rakes run 100 trips a day and can be phased out only after the delivery of the 72 MRVC-ordered rakes begins.