Railway plans fully AC train from Mumbai to Delhi by May

Central Railway is planning to run its first fully air-conditioned train between Mumbai and New Delhi by May.

To be run once a week, the train is expected to leave Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in the afternoon and reach Hazrat Nizamuddin station in New Delhi in the morning. It will run via Bhopal, Khandwa and Bhusawal, said sources. The announcement for this train was made in the railway budget presented by Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on February 26.

CR general manager Subodh Jain said, “The train will be introduced during the summer to cater to increase in demand of passengers to New Delhi.”

A CR official told TOI, “The train will have more AC 3-tier coaches, though there will be AC 2-tier and First AC coaches also.”

CR will use the Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches, similar to those used in premier-class trains like Rajdhani. The LHB coaches provide more comfort and have anti-climbing and anti-telescopic features that prevent casualties during accidents.

The official said, “The fare and date of this weekly train will be decided soon. The running time of Mumbai-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express will be more than that of Rajdhani as it will take a longer route and halt at more stations.”


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


CR’s automatic cleaning system saves time, water

Merely four months after it started operations, the Automatic Coach Washing Plant at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) will have cleaned 75,000 coaches of Central Railway trains by Saturday.

V A Malegaonkar, chief public relations officer, CR, said, “The plant, which was installed in February 2010, uses less water, saves time and requires less manual labour to clean the coaches. Nearly 32-35 labourers were deployed to wash the coaches manually. After the plant was commissioned at a cost of Rs 2.19 crore, the same work can be executed with the help of just 4-5 people. The quality of work is also superior.” Malegaonkar added, “The cost of washing one rake by the automatic system is Rs 550. By the manual system, the railways have to shell out Rs 3,100 per rake.”

On an average, 10 rakes, or 200 coaches, are cleaned every day at LTT. The system also saves water as the technology consumes 10 per cent less water than the manual system. Malegaonkar said, “On an average, 3 lakh litres of water were used every day when the manual washing system was prevalent. However, the new technology does the same amount of work with 25,000 litres per day.” The automatic system is also less time-consuming. “Previously, labourers used to take an average of 45 minutes to clean each rake. With this system, we are able to finish the task in 8-10 minutes,” he said.