DC-AC conversion in a week: says S.K.Sood, GM/Central Railway

Mumbai: Central Railway General Manager Mr.SK Sood during a press interaction on Monday said that the vexed issue of conversion of electrical systems on the Thane-CST stretch from 1,500 Volt Direct Current to 25,000 Volt Alternating Current would be completed in “seven to ten days”. However, looking at the magnitude of the problems facing the project, other railway officials were unwilling to be as brave as the CR top boss.

As reported in dna’s May 28 edition, the project now faces its two biggest hurdles, both of which have the potential of sending the suburban schedule haywire. The first issue is that once the lines are powered by 25,000 Volt AC, trains will have to run at a speed of 15kmph at nine places between Kurla and Thane. This could mean that the railways might need to reduce the number of services they run because of the slower speed. However, Sood on Monday made light of it saying that these nine spots were just 15-20 metres each and will not be such a big headache.

The second issue is the running of Siemens trains between Kurla and CST. The height of these motor coaches are slightly higher than 4.27 metres, which is the maximum height of trains allowed on this stretch. When asked about this problem, Sood just said, “We are making provisions for it. We will set it right in the next 7 to 10 days.”

According to Sood, some 75 per cent of the inspection of the project was over and the rest would be completed in the wee hours of Tuesday. These inspections are being carried out by Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Circle) Chetan B, who has taken a tough stand disallowing any detour from the norms for the project.

The CR’s Rs1,300-crore conversion project has been going on for almost a decade now and has missed several deadlines. However, it turned into a technical nightmare after the CR authorities decided not to raise the height of a few British-era bridges because of the large-scale traffic disruptions it would entail. Not raising the bridges means that at these places trains above the height of 4.27 metres could not run once the power is increased from 1,500 Volt DC to 25,000 Volt AC.

“Most of the new LHB coaches used in Duronto, Garib Rath etc. are above 4.27 metres, so they will be out of bounds at CST. Secondly, the motor coaches of the Siemens rakes are above this height so their entry into CST will also be problematic. Several diesel locomotives are above this height due to their chimneys. In all, it will be a technical nightmare running trains from CST, one of the country’s largest termini,” said the official.