Board directs CR & WR to prepare Action Plan for introduction of 15-car Rakes

15 car rakeMumbai: The railway board has asked Central Railway and Western Railway to prepare an action plan for the introduction of more 15-car services to check accidents caused by overcrowding.

The board has sent across the minutes of the meeting that was held between the railway minister and members of Parliament soon after a video of a youth falling from a running train on CR went viral.

A senior official said, “The minutes of the meeting state that an action plan has to be prepared by CR and WR. It is going to be a challenge, but since the instruction is from the minister, we will have to work a way out of this mess.”

A source said the board wants the action plan to upgrade at least 50% of fast corridor services to 15-car rakes. CR and WR run 16 and 30 services of 15-car rakes. CR operates services between CST and Kalyan on the fast corridor. On WR, unlike its 12car services, 15-car rakes do not halt at Grant Road, Charni Road and Marine Lines.

CR had earlier said that there are no short-term mea sures to prevent accidents on tracks. It had also ruled out the introduction of more 15car services on the fast corridor north of Kalyan because of inadequate platform length.

Also, since 15-car trains have a 90 kmph speed limit as against 100 kmph for 12-car ones, CR is of the opinion that reduced speed may lead to cancellation of some services. During problems on the fast corridor, it will be difficult to divert and operated a 15-car train on the slow corridor.

WR has already made provisions to introduce 15-car services by replacing one 12car rake.

The minutes of the meeting also state that the introduction of Metro-type seating arrangement will be examined. An official said, “We can experiment with longitudinal as well as 2×2 seating arrangement in some compartments in a couple of rakes to gauge public response.”

Meanwhile, CR is considering to allow suburban ticket holders to travel by long-distance trains like Mahalaxmi Express, Devagiri Express and Latur Express from Kalyan in sleeper class.

In the year 2011, MRVC completed construction of the state-of-the-art 15-car Shed at Virar and handed over the same to Western Railway. Virar car shed is spread in 12 hectares in size – 3 times the size of the one at Mumbai Central. The stabling lines at the carshed, created between Nalasopara and Virar stations, were opened for the parking of EMU rakes. The Virar car shed carries overhaul in the maintenance of the existing 100 rakes, in addition to providing the same for the new rakes, both through retrofitting and rake procurement under MUTP 2 A. The new car shed will take the load off the exiting two car sheds at Mumbai Central (1928) and at Kandivli (1986).

Typically, a car shed is where rakes are sent for inspection and cleaning. The facility also offers stabling lines, where trains are parked, and where they can be causally checked prior to being put to service. During maintenance, activities like oiling of machinery, checking of motor coaches, repairing of grab handles, flooring, seats, indicators, windows and doors is carried out.

Pointing out the advantage of the new car shed at Virar, the Chief Public Relations Officer of WR said, “The carshed improves maintenance and cleaning of trains and also accommodate new trains. Several rakes are parked at stations itself are sent to the car shed”.

Train routine at car shed

  • Dry cleaning and causal check – almost every day
  • Washing – once every ten days
  • Maintenance – 6-7 rakes undergo detailed inspection ranging between 6-36 hours every day.

Features at Virar Car Shed

  • Stabling lines for 30-12 rakes
  • Stabling lines for 15-car rake
  • Three tier platforms for better access for the staff to carry out maintenance work


Pune-Howrah service was truncated at Kalyan; bookings were opened two hours before the departure because of poor coordination between Central Railway and South Eastern Railway.

A special holiday train, from Pune to Howrah, truncated its journey after three stops on Monday afternoon as there were only three passengers on board.

The train numbered number 02221, with 15 air-conditioned coaches, received only three bookings because of poor coordination between the Central Railway and South Eastern Railway, which introduced the rake to cater to the ‘holiday rush’.

Bookings for the service, with halts at Lonavala, Karjat, Panvel and Kalyan, were opened only a couple of hours before the scheduled departure of 10.40 am on Monday. Railway officials delayed the departure by over an hour, but the move failed to draw passengers.

The train, which left Pune at 12.10 pm, was cancelled when it stopped at Kalyan. The three passengers, who had 15 AC coaches to themselves, were accommodated in other trains.

According to Central Railway sources, the shortened four-hour trip cost the railways around Rs 1 lakh.

Generally, when a special train is introduced, railway officials at the point of origin list it in their passenger reservation system, enabling people to book seats. In this case, the Central Railway failed to list the train in the system, which meant that passengers had no clue that a Pune-Howrah service would be run on Monday.

An official of the South Eastern Railway said that a notification for the service was sent to CR on December 4. CR sources said that the notification was received, but because of a bungling clerk, it was read only on Monday morning.

When a CR official noticed the listing of the train in the departure schedule, he immediately contacted the Pune division, which confirmed that the Pune-Howrah service had been added.

CR opened bookings after the train arrived at its platform in Pune around 9 am. The train’s departure was pushed to 12.10 pm in the hope that passengers would book seats. But only three people boarded the train in Pune.

The train was run till Kalyan before officials finally decided to cancel it. The empty rake returned to Pune, according to an official at Kalyan station said.

BK Dadabhoy, divisional railway manager of Pune, said the truncated service was the result of miscommunication. “Because of poor occupancy, we had to cancel the train,” he said.

A CR official, who didn’t want to be named, said that better coordination between different railway zones was needed to prevent such embarrassments.

Subhash Gupta, a member of zonal railway users’ consultative council, was more critical. “How did this happen? What are rail officers sitting in air-conditioned cabins doing?” he asked.

Transport expert Vinod Kumar said that it was sheer waste of public funds.


Generally, when a special train is introduced, railway officials at the point of origin list it in their passenger reservation system, enabling people to book seats. In this case, the Central Railway failed to list the train in the system, which meant that passengers had no clue that a Pune-Howrah service would be run on Monday morning. An official of South Eastern Railway says CR was informed on December 4.


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