Your daily commute by the Western Railway (WR) will soon get better and faster. WR is in the process of completing conversion of its 1500-kv direct current (DC) line to a 25,000-kv alternating current (AC) line between Churchgate and Borivli before June 2011. The deadline, which was March 2011, has been extended, as according to WR officials, there is a delay in the supply of trains from the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), who have been sending three new trains every month instead four.
The conversion, however, would mean that the entire stretch between Churchgate and Virar will get electrified, thus allowing trains to hit the 100 kmph mark with ease. Which would effectively mean that the trains would reach stations earlier and delays would be ruled out, thus saving 33 per cent electricity. “We would transfer coaches from 2500-kv DC trains as and when we receive new trains from ICF,” said S Gupta, chief PRO, WR.
WR has already transferred 36 coaches from old trains to CR during this month. “These are coaches which are around 10 years or lesser and have enough life to run. These coaches would be run on both main line and Harbour line,” said a CR official.
As per the disbursement of new trains under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase-I, WR will get the remaining 30 trains, while CR has already received their quota of new trains. The conversion can be successful only if there are sufficient number of Siemens trains that run on both DC and AC lines and not only those running on DC lines.
Also, WR has begun transferring 200 coaches (around 17 12-coach trains) from their old lot of trains, which would take at least 2 years, while they would get the new Siemens rake from Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.
These coaches procured from the WR would be partly retrofitted at a cost of Rs 9 crore to make them into trains that can run on 25,000-kv AC. However, they wouldn’t be as smooth as the violet-white train, which are manufactured at a cost of Rs 20 crore at ICF.
“These coaches would be fitted with technology used in other trains, running in rest of the country. It costs us Rs 16 crore to retrofit an old train with electric fittings and motors used in Siemens train, which is less cost effective,” added the CR official.
CR expects to complete conversion from DC to AC on Vangini-Kalyan section in the next 10 days and then commission it as and when they get trains that can run on AC line. Once this section gets electrified under AC line, train services beyond Kalyan on the north would reach 5 minutes earlier.