DC Trains will cease to operate on Central Railway’s main line from May 23 in Mumbai

Mumbai: With Central Railway all set to convert one of the last remaining sections on the Main Line from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) between Thane and Mumbai CST, the old DC technology that served Mumbai for 90 years will become history.

On Saturday, Central Railway issued a formal notification of the conversion, stating that it would be completed on the midnight of May 23-24. Once done, the DC dust-brown and yellow coloured local trains will gradually be phased out.

While all Main Line trains have already been converted to the transition technology, only 36 pure DC trains – the last in India – will continue to ply on the Harbour Line. But these too will soon vanish, once the Harbour Line conversion is completed.

Western Railway has already been converted to Alternating Current in 2012, due to which it is able to save Rs 18.74 crore, upgrade 76 services and add 36 new services in one year. At present, Central Railway runs 1,618 services daily, ferrying 42 lakh passengers, and there is scope for much improvement.

In fact, the conversion from 1,500 volts to 25,000 volts will not just increase the capacity of CR’s suburban network, but will enable suburban trains to run at faster speeds, thereby cutting down journey time. It will also give seamless connectivity to outstation trains, which will no longer need to change locomotives once they enter Mumbai.

The new 25,000 volts power mode is almost 17 times more powerful than the earlier one, and if a passenger comes within 2 metres of the overhead wires, he will be instantly pulled towards the wires due to their magnetic field. Central Railway officials have already launched an extensive awareness campaign to enlighten passengers on the dangers of rooftop travel.

Incidentally, the first electric train in India ran from Mumbai to Thane via the Harbour Line on February 3, 1925, and that too with direct current power technology. Ironically, Harbour Line will now be the last section to make the technological shift. On Western Railway, electric trains were introduced three years later in 1928. (Courtesy: Shri Rajendra B Aklekar)