Long-distance travel to be faster in a month

You can now expect to save some time on your long-distance travel as Central Railway (CR) works towards switching to a 25-KV alternating current (AC) system between Kalyan station and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) within a month.

Once operational, the new system will save at least 20 minutes for every long-distance service. The test-charging of the AC power system is being carried out during the weekend. On Sunday, the first AC locomotive on CR will run between Kalyan and LTT on a test drive.

CR’s chief electrical engineer P K Srivastava said, “It will also bring down energy consumption by 33% due to the regenerative braking system.”

At present, AC-compatible locomotives cannot ply south of Kalyan, while DC locomotives cannot run north of the station. Nearly 44 long-distance trains from LTT have to spend an average of 20 minutes in Igatpuri or Bhusaval to change locomotives. Likewise, 11 long-distance trains that travel via Diva and Vasai have to undergo the process at Vadodara or Valsad.

“Under the AC system, the trains will not have to change locomotives,” Srivastava said. “Usually, test-charging is done during the day, but we can’t shut down suburban services.” By Sunday, CR will test-charge nearly 240-km at a go. The exercise is being carried out without any special block.

But even after the test turns out to be sucessful, CR will continue to operate suburban services on this section on DC power due to non-availability of adequate AC-DC compatible rakes. Srivastava said, “Only after switching to AC system between Kalyan and LTT, will we be able to run AC-DC compatible rakes and AC locos on this stretch.”

The WR handed over a DCAC rake to CR on Friday. CR will then be able to restrict the use of DC compatible rakes between CST and Thane. Services beyond Thane to Kalyan, Dombivli and further will operate on DC-AC rakes.


• CR has switched to AC system on Igatpuri-Kalyan and Lonavala-Kalyan section

• Of the total 119 rakes on CR, 51 are AC-DC compatible. CR needs five more AC-DC rakes to run services up to Kalyan-Dombivli on AC traction