A small electronic chip may put an end to the technical troubles faced by the city's local trains, and the subsequent delays.
The Central Railway (CR) has installed electronic chips inside two retrofitted trains on a trial basis. A retrofitted train is one of the old trains whose electrical components have been upgraded.
Gradually, the electronic chip will be installed in the remaining 115 trains running on the central line.
On June 3, a member of the Railway Board inspected the train at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The chip, fitted inside every motor cab of the train, will locate the technical problem in the train as well as the extent of the problem and send a signal to the person sitting in the control room. A motor cab is the coach that contains the electrical components; a nine-coach train has three motor cabs.
This means that engineers will be able to sort out the problem sooner as they won't have to spend time figuring out what has gone wrong.
The chip will enable officials to sort out the issue without physically being present in the train as they will be able to guide a motorman or guard from the control room.
The chip can also sort out issues related to the train's software and microprocessor as it will be fed with solutions.
"We can rectify software-related technical snags sitting anywhere in the world. We have aligned the microprocessor
fitted in the train with the server using the chip. Now,
minor technical failures can be rectified through commands from another location," explained a CR official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
If it's a major problem, the engineer will need to physically attend to it, but the chip will have located the source and nature of the snag so repairs will be faster.
Usually, trains come to an abrupt halt when there's a unit failure or problem in the train circuits, and until the engineers identify the problem after reaching the spot, the train cannot be moved. This upsets train schedules across the entire line.
The chip will, however, not be able to rectify hardware issues.
Since April, the CR has been carrying out trials and officials feel that the experiment has been successful.
Work on using the chip began at the Kurla car shed in April 2010.