The city got its newest make of rakes when the Integral Coach Factory Chennai built and Bombardier powered rake motored out of Churchgate station at 11:32am on Wednesday. This rake along with the white and purple Siemens rakes will be the staple of Mumbai’s suburban fleet over the next couple of decades.
The inauguration marked the end of possibly the most delayed episode in train trials and tests in the history of Indian railways. The rake had arrived in Mumbai in October 2013 and since then had been undergoing tests.
Inexplicably, it got stalled in the fag end of last year after the railway safety experts in the Railway Safety Commissionerate realised that the new rake was not adhering to standard railway dimensions.
The Railways’ apex technical authority- Research Design Standards Organisation (RDSO)- was investigating the occurrence of grazing marks on the side-wall of the double-decker coaches being tested in the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway in 2013. The RDSO, in order to mitigate the problem, came up with a new design specification (called CG-10115) with coaches having a width of 3050 mm below platform level. It was this width that the Bombardier rake was not confirming to, said city-based railway officials.
Unfortunately, it took all this while for the city-based railway officials to convince the railway board and safety commissionerate that the Bombardier rake had been built before this new specification was brought in.