Western Railway (WR) general manager, RN Verma has blamed the new-age Siemens trains for the delays that have plagued its services over the past few months. At a press conference on Tuesday, Verma said frequent breakdowns were affecting schedules as well as projects such as the extension of suburban services up to Dahanu.
“We told Siemens the problems were tarnishing WR’s image. Over the past month timings have been slowly getting back on track,” Verma said.
WR received the first new-age train in November 2007. Today, 58 of its 80 trains are of this variety. Three more are on their way from the Integral Coach Factory at Chennai.
The cause of the problem was the traction motors — the machine attached to the wheels — which have now been replaced. “There were problems with the ball bearings in the motors, which help rotate the wheels,” said a senior WR official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Siemens officials said they had fixed the problems. “[Customer] appreciation is the best measure of performance. Siemens cooperated closely with the railways in solving the snags. Those were teething troubles that occurred a year ago. Since then, there have been no issues to the best of our knowledge,” said VK Menon, head (corporate communications), Siemens.
WR officials said trains starting and terminating at a high number of stations were also causing delays. “If you terminate and start trains at or from many stations, it would obviously affect punctuality,” said the official.
WR is now converting 150 more services from 9-car to 12-car, by February 2011, with 50 services being added by December this year. This would mean that the 12-car services would increase to 948 by February 2011. This would enable WR to add 1 lakh more daily passengers on its trains.
Meanwhile, upgradation of power supply from DC to AC between Churchgate and Borivli is expected to be complete by June 2011. Central Railway also needs to carry out the conversion on the Harbour line beyond Mahim. Suburban services on the Virar-Dahanu stretch will run only when there are enough trains. This was also affected as WR couldn’t add more trains until the delays were rectified.