The new train for Mumbai that is expected to be in the city by the end of this year has begun to take shape. At first glance, the train looks sleeker than the ones currently on the tracks, mostly because the train’s sides are straighter than the ‘bell’ shape that is distinctive of Indian trains.
The straight sidewall, which is common to foreign trains, is expected to add speed to the train because of better aerodynamics. The train will be powered by the Bombardier transportation electrical system and not the Siemens one that powers current locals.
This train too will have the white and purple look except that the purple will be a few shades deeper and will be painted around the door in such a way that it could camouflage the ugly red stains of gutkha and paan that are bound to come along the way.
The windows for the motorman are slightly smaller than those existing in trains now running. This, because there have been complaints that the bigger windows allow too much sunlight into the motorman’s cabin during the harsh Mumbai summers, resulting in some of them (motorman) bothered by reflection while sighting the all-important signals.
The insides of the trains would more or less look the same, said officials overseeing its construction in the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai except that the new train will have better crafted seats and grab handles.
The building of Mumbai’s trains has been nothing short of an art, according to train
engineers. It is a mass transport object that has to be built to take some of the heaviest pounding during its lifespan, what with some 16 people crammed into every square metre of its floor during the infamous Mumbai rush hour.
“The current trains give better ventilation thanks to the air blower running right through the middle of the roof. The steel rod partitions also give the trains an airy feel. The lights running through the middle of the roof also add to the atmosphere. However, as with all new trains introduced in the city, these trains also lent themselves to a lot of scope for improvement. We are trying that with the new local being created in ICF at the moment,” said an official.
Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation managing director Rakesh Saksena believes the new rake would be a healthy improvement on the current ones.
“The body will be of stainless steel, like coaches used by the metro systems worldwide. The sides would be a lot straighter. Most important, for the passenger, the air unit that blows air into the coaches would be far sturdier than the current ones,” said Saksena.