The Western Railway (WR) claims to have successfully retrofitted country’s first suburban train that can run on an alternating current (AC) traction. However, it remains unused as the railways is yet to complete conversion from 1,500 Volt direct current (DC) to 25,000 Volt AC lines on the Churchgate-Borivli stretch.
This is an old train that used to run on DC, but was retrofitted at a cost of around Rs4.5 crore by installing AC electrics and other equipment to make it feasible to be run on the AC line. However, this new retrofitted train remains unused at the Kandivli car shed due to non-conversion of the line, from DC to AC.
The Western Railway authorities are hopeful of completing power conversion on this stretch soon. “We would be converting the Churchgate-Borivli stretch to AC line in two months,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity. The official deadline for conversion from DC line to AC line is June.
Officials claim that they would begin work of retrofitting 10 other old trains currently running on DC. “This conversion has been made keeping in mind the need for more trains. Old trains would become redundant and these new trains would then serve the purpose,” he added.
The Borivli-Virar stretch has been converted from DC line to AC line. So, only the new-age train or the old trains, which can run on DC-AC traction, are currently operational on this stretch. Once the power conversion is complete, the old trains would become obsolete and so retrofitting work is in progress to make them useful.
Ten other trains will be retrofitted by December 2011.
On the whole, the WR plans to convert 20 trains that still have more than 15 years of codal life.
This would involve replacing the existing DC equipment, cables and creating space for placement of AC electrics.