KOLKATA: Metro Railway can expect the first advanced air-conditioned rake from Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai by the end of April, 2017. On Thursday, the shell of the first coach entered the ICF workshop where equipment will be attached. While the propulsion system is being provided by Medha Servo Drives Ltd, finishing will be required for the bogies’ axles, internal furnishings and electrical wiring. The remaining shells for the first rake will enter the workshop by January and the finishing will take about three months.
“The new rakes are far more advanced than existing ones. Necessary alterations have been made in the design that will prevent inconveniences like dripping of water from the ceilings of coaches. The control panels will now be inside the coaches and not on the roofs. The drain pipes will be outside. The flooring will be of rubber rather than PVC,” a senior Metro official said.
The vestibule (connector between two coaches) will be wider in the new coaches. While the vestibule width in existing coaches is slightly more than two feet, it will be 3.5 feet in the new ones, allowing easier movement. The doors will also be wider. The door width in existing rakes is 1,200 mm. In the new rakes, the width of the doors will be 1,400 mm.
“The new rakes will be more comfortable. In the existing rakes, passengers feel a jerk whenever there is motoring or braking. This happens as these processes take place in several steps. In the new rakes, these processes will be stepless and passengers won’t feel any jerks. The new rakes will also be three-phase regenerative ones that are energy efficient. The energy released in such rakes during braking is sent back to the system improving efficiency. In the new rakes, motormen would also be able to calculate the traction required on the basis of load. When there are fewer passengers, the rakes will draw less power and there will be further energy saving. With these new rakes, we hope for energy savings of up to 30%,” the official added.
The Metro now operates 27 rakes, 14 of which are air-conditioned. Of the conventional rakes, several are extremely old and well past their codal lives. Metro has ordered two new rakes from ICF and several more from a company in China.
Officials hope that the fleet will get sufficiently replenished by the end of 2017 to allow Metro to discard a few older rakes.
“Our general manager M C Chauhan visited ICF and gave final touches at the production stage of the new rakes. The new rakes will be safer, more comfortable and maintenance friendly. These were the teething problems in the AC rakes supplied by ICF earlier. The GM also urged officials at ICF to speed up work for quicker delivery of the rakes,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said.