Mumbai’s first Air-Conditioned Rake trials caught between Central Railway, BHEL, RDSO

According to CR officials, it got postponed at the last moment after the BHEL team cited unavailability of engineers from Netherlands-based Strukton Rail

MUMBAI: The trial and field testing of Mumbai’s first air-conditioned local is getting delayed due to lack of coordination between the officials of the Research Design Standards Organisation, the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited-Strukton Rail combine, and Central Railway.

It was supposed to start in the wee hours of Wednesday but, according to CR officials, it got postponed at the last moment after the BHEL team cited unavailability of engineers from Netherlands-based Strukton Rail. The electrical systems and the Train Control and Management System of the train has been jointly built by BHEL and Strukton under a transfer of technology arrangement the former has with the Dutch firm.

However a top BHEL official told that it wasn’t the case. He said that the Strukton engineer was available for trials. “The test procedure and day-wise schedule are under discussion with RDSO,” he said in reply to a query.

When queries on the schedule of testing was put forward to a senior official of the Power Supply and Electrical Multiple Unit directorate of the RDSO, the official said that there was some time before the AC rake could be tested on the field.

“The two main field trials of the rake are the oscillation trial and the performance trial. Only after everything goes right with the oscillations trial can we move to the performance trial. Currently we working out a schedule but it might take time,” said the RDSO official. Oscillation trials are carried out for assessing the speed potential, the riding quality and stability at different speeds on straight and curved tracks of concerned sections.

Officials involved with the testing of the rake are now of the view that commissioning the rake for public service might not be possible this financial year that ends on March 31, 2017. “It might take a minimum of 16 weeks and a lot more if small discrepancies or anomalies are found during testing,” said the official.

The rake was supposed to cost Rs 43 crores when the layout was approved by the railway ministry in March 2014. It was finally finished in March 2016- two years later- at a cost of Rs 54 crores. The Rs 54 crore tag is a sizable 25 per cent increase in construction cost. It arrived in Mumbai on April 5 and has since been stabled at the Kurla carshed.

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