CR’s proposal for LHB repair status for Parel Workshop hangs in the air

The current scenario is that every time an LHB coach belonging to CR is to be repaired or overhauled, it has to be sent to Western Railway’s Lower Parel workshop

Mumbai: The railway ministry’s sitting over a demand by Central Railway to allow the latter to maintain and overhaul LHB coaches — the kinds found in the Rajdhani and Duronto trains — at its Parel Workshop has hassled passengers. The current rule of the railway ministry is that every time an LHB coach belonging to CR is to be repaired or overhauled, it has to be sent to Western Railway’s Lower Parel workshop. However with WR having its own fleet of LHB coaches and also because it has to repair coaches of West Central Railway, the time taken for these coaches to come back from repair is several months, said officials.

In some cases, when CR is short of LHB coaches due to this delay, it assembles a train by cobbling together spare conventional coaches, something which always elicits protests by passengers. This is because the LHB coaches are far more comfortable than conventional coaches and also have a smoother ride.

According to CR officials, the problem will only escalate as the number of LHB coaches in its fleet is all set to increase. While it has 223 LHB coaches currently, it is expected to increase to 450 by the end of March, 2017.

Currently, 8 LHB coaches have their overhaul and repair pending due to a waiting list at WR’s Lower Parel Workshop. With a steady inflow of coaches for repair and a capacity of repairing 42 coaches every month, the Lower Parel Workshop itself is overworked.

The railways had already decided that with the passage of time, more and more of its coaches will be of the LHB type. It had added 1248 LHB coaches to its fleet in the previous financial year that ended in March this year.

While these coaches comes with greater passenger comfort and better riding qualities, its overhaul and repairs are a problem and delays cause the railways heavy financial losses. As of now these coaches can be overhauled only at Lower Parel workshop in Mumbai, Liluah Workshop in Howrah, West Bengal and Jagadhri Workshop in Yamunanagar Haryana. Plans are afoot to build facilities for LHB overhaul at Lalguda Workshop in Secunderabad in Telengana and Dibrugarh workshop in Assam.

While messages sent to Member Mechanical Hemant Kumar and Executive Director Mechanical Engineering (Coaching) Shailendra Singh went unanswered, other officials said it might take another couple of months before the ministry decided to accede to CR’s demand.

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