The Made-in-India Medha rake, which arrived in Mumbai last week to be tested and deployed on Western Railway’s suburban system, will be the first to extensively use the remote monitoring mechanism. This mechanism allows the train to be in touch with authorities manning the train management system through computers which allows the particular rake to be monitored, analysed and repaired in real-time.
The rake is being called Medha because its electrical systems and motors have been built by Hyderabad-based firm Medha Servodrive. The local trains currently running in Mumbai’s suburban network have electrical systems built predominantly by Siemens, and two, by Bombardier.
“Currently, if a train develops a snag, it has to be taken to the car shed, analysed and then we have to start the process of trouble-shooting. With the remote monitoring system in the Medha rake, even as a train is running, we can analyse the data its on-board computers send to the main control server and start the repair process then itself. We expect a reduction in maintenance time and cost of anything between 10-30 per cent. It is the future for a congested system like Mumbai where breakdowns happen frequently resulting in loss of time for trains and commuters. The system can be used as an emergency voice communication device by the driver. The driver’s cab has microphones inside for the purpose. There is also ways in which the driver can communicate with the guard as well as passengers in case there is an emergency or some urgent information has to be relayed to passengers,” explained an official.
The system can be upgraded to ensure that the motorman gets real-time information about train operation conditions. Officials said it could include speed restrictions on certain stretches of the suburban network, problematic cross-overs where the trains have to be run with extra-precautions, controlling the air-conditioning as well as monitoring security apparatus like CCTVs inside the train.
“Most developed countries have these systems on their railway networks. Here, Mumbai has made a beginning and hopefully it is a sign of things to come,” said the official.
What’s new in Medha rake:
Passenger capacity – 6,030 (1,168 seats and 4,862 standees)
Maximum speed – 110 kmph
Fresh air-flow into coach – 16,000 cubic metre per hour