Finally, ‘user-friendly’ Bombardier rake makes debut run at 80 kmph
Mumbai: The city got its newest make of rakes when the Integral Coach Factory Chennai built and Bombardier powered rake motored out of Churchgate station at 11:32 a.m. on Wednesday. The new age Bombardier rake, brought to Mumbai in October 2013 but not inducted into the Western Railway (WR) fleet, was finally flagged off on Wednesday after approval from the Railway Board. This rake along with the white and purple Siemens rakes will be the staple of Mumbai’s suburban fleet over the next couple of decades.
The inauguration marked the end of possibly the most delayed episode in train trials and tests in the history of Indian railways.
The debut train left the Churchgate Railway Station at 11.32 am from platform number 2 for Borivali, at an average speed of 80 kmph on the slow lines.
The Bombardier rake, built in Chennai, arrived in the city in October 2013 and since then had been undergoing tests. The rake will be seen running along with white and purple Siemens rakes fleet in Mumbai’s suburban section.
Inexplicably, it got stalled in the fag end of last year after the railway safety experts in the Railway Safety Commissionerate realised that the new rake was not adhering to standard railway dimensions.
The Railways’ apex technical authority- Research Design Standards Organisation (RDSO)- was investigating the occurrence of grazing marks on the side-wall of the double-decker coaches being tested in the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway in 2013. The RDSO, in order to mitigate the problem, came up with a new design specification (called CG-10115) with coaches having a width of 3050 mm below platform level.
It was this width that the Bombardier rake was not confirming to, said city-based railway officials. Unfortunately, it took all this while for the city-based railway officials to convince the railway board and safety commissionerate that the Bombardier rake had been built before this new specification was brought in.
It made a total of eight trips on Wednesday, including two on the fast track. “The Railways now plan to run the Bombardier rake train at a speed of 110 kmph,” said an official.
The rake has one-of-its-kind coaches with stainless steel sidewalls, along with the same material in fluted panels for the roof. It has aluminum composite interior panelling for inside walls and roof. It also has a roof-mounted forced ventilation system which will supply 16,000 cubic m/hr fresh air.
Prabhat Sahai, the Managing Director and Chairman of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), who was present during the debut run of the rake, said, “The Bombardier rake is designed by keeping in mind its user-friendly aspects. It ensures comfortable commuting for passengers.
Although it does not have the Automatic Sliding Door (ASD) provision, its doors are of straight sidewalls, which can be easily slided. It is light in weight, bearing user-friendly locks, latches and maintenance-free rollers.”
“We will improve it further based on the feedback we receive from commuters. People can send their feedback directly to us via email,” added Sahai. Dasika Samal (20), a student, said, “I am happy to board the Bombardier train. The seats are quite comfortable. I am glad to see the technological improvements made by the Indian Railways.”
Jagruti Rahate (34), a home-maker who used the train on Wednesday, said the grab poles were better than the ones in the regular locals.”