Motormen and guards on the Western Railway (WR) said that the newly-introduced 25,000 volt alternate current (AC) rakes are not fit to run on the Virar-Dahanu stretch, owing to speed and other technical issues. They suggested that they should continue to run the present dual current rakes (DC-AC).
The new rakes take more time to accelerate and decelerate and will not able to cover the 64-km long distance between Virar-Dahanu, in the stipulated time frame, they claimed. They alleged that the driving console of the rakes is not user-friendly and is more prone to technical snags.
The WR has procured 10 AC-rakes, out of which six have already been introduced in service. Passengers are also unhappy with these rakes as some compartments have been divided into two parts, which has raised safety concerns.
These rakes, that have been manufactured at the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF), have a maximum speed of 100kmph. However, motormen and guards complained that the maximum speed does not go beyond 80-85kmph. “While the MUTP rakes achieve a speed of 70kmph before pulling out from a platform, the new rakes take almost one to 1.5km to achieve the same speed,” a senior motorman said.
The motormen’s union has already voiced their grievances about these rakes to the railway administration, but the administration did not pay attention to their demands.
Another common grievance that both motormen and guards have about the AC-rakes is the position of the brake that forces them to stand for the entire duration of the journey. A guard added that the new brake position “delays brake application during an emergency situation.”
Refuting the motormen and guards’ claims, Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR said the new AC-rakes are similar to other suburban rakes and had been tested at the speed of 100kmph.