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All WR trains to be converted by June

Rooftop train travel is all set to go from dangerous to fatal.

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2010 01:14 IST
Shashank Rao

Rooftop train travel is all set to go from dangerous to fatal.

By June 2011, all transformers supplying 25,000 volt of electricity to local trains will be activated between Churchgate and Virar, turning the entire 60-km stretch into a deathtrap for rooftop travellers.

On October 8, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) activated the city’s first transformer inside the substation next to Mahalaxmi railway station.

The MRVC expects all transformers to be fully operational by June 2011, when the remaining 27 new-age trains under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase-I are expected to arrive.

The transformers inside the substation will supply an uninterrupted 25,000 volts of electricity to trains after conversion to alternating current (AC) from 1,500 volts of direct current (DC).

This will happen only when the WR has enough trains to run on the AC traction line. “We have activated the transformers which are an important aspect of running

trains on 25,000-volt AC,” P C Sehgal, managing director, MRVC, said.

They have started it with ‘zero-load’ power, where the transformers would consume only as much power as is necessary to keep its internal wires and equipment running.

The other three at Santacruz, Jogeshwari and Marine Lines will follow suit in the days to come.

The substations at each of these areas will act as sections supplying electricity to trains.

At these substations, conversion of the current type takes place, with rotary converters for the new trains that will be using alternating current.

Although the substation has been fenced keeping a distance of two feet from the tracks, a rooftop traveller can get electrocuted if he is at a distance of less than 270 millimetres from the overhead wire.

Currently, power transformers have been activated between Virar and Borivli, where the maximum cases of rooftop travellers getting electrocuted are reported.

Two electrocutions were reported last week on the Western Railway (WR), which led officials to start a stringent campaign of halting trains if people were found travelling on rooftops.

On October 6, WR prosecuted 21 rooftop commuters of which 20 people were fined a total of Rs 7,450, while one rooftop traveller was jailed.

On October 7, 17 people travelling on the roof were prosecuted and fined Rs 5,000.

Since January this year, six electrocutions have occurred, in which two commuters died and four suffered injuries.

In the year 2009, there were nine electrocutions in which three person were killed and six others sustained serious injuries.