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Two more crashes: What’s wrong with new-age trains?

india Updated: Feb 12, 2009 01:18 IST
Rajendra Aklekar
Rajendra Aklekar
Hindustan Times
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The railways’ solution to ease Mumbai commuter woes seems to have failed.

The fleet of new age trains, that were to replace the old and improve services and travelling conditions, are failing one after another. They were bought under the Rs 4,500-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project-I, a mega plan to upgrade the city’s transport infrastructure.

On Wednesday, after two new-age trains broke down holding up traffic, railway authorities said they had identified two problems: The motors and the software — both provided by Siemens.

Hindustan Times was the first to report that the quality of the new age trains was questionable.

Around 3 pm, a Borivli-bound local developed problems near Dadar and did not go beyond 30 kmph. Around the same time, a Virar-bound train also developed a snag.

“Commuters were told at Dadar station that the Borivli train would terminate at Bandra station and everyone rushed out. There was chaos,” said software executive Amit Joshi, whose pocket was picked in the melee.

Railway officials said between January 2008 and February 2009, there have been 50 cases of motor failures with the highest — 20 — recorded in January 2009.

“The computer has to be rebooted every time there is a software error,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.

“Officials from Siemens Germany met the ministry of railways and have worked out a solution,” said P.C. Sehgal, managing director of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation.

V.B. Parulekar, director, Siemens and head of the mobility division in India, said: “We have set up special facility in railway workshops and are replacing the parts.”