One of the biggest fears for a motorman manoeuvring a local train is -- lack of visibility during heavy rains. For this the wipers play a major role. This time around the Central Railway (CR) has replaced pneumatic wipers with electric ones that will ensure that it keeps functioning. Well over 70 percent of EMU rakes of Central Railway had pneumatic wipers which have now been replaced earlier last month.
During monsoon, especially when it pours heavily, motormen face a big challenge riding the train from inside their motor cab. “If the wipers are not in good working condition then the situation becomes very tricky as visibility gets severely affected. This is case even during winters when earlier mornings there is fog and mist which again affects visibility and in turn hurts the speed of train and punctuality,” explained a motorman on condition of anonymity.
The problem is more on stretches of Kalyan-Kasara/Karjat where the trains run at higher speeds and needs visibility. Moreover during monsoon, the rains are heavier in this ghat section due to the terrain there plus it being greener than in Mumbai.
Despite there being wipers functioning pneumatically, wherein it works on the pressure for mechanised movements. However, according to CR officials, if the pressure drops then it also affects the movement of these wipers. And so they have replaced wipers of their entire fleet of EMUs with electric ones. “We had around 113 Siemens make of rakes that had pneumatic wipers. We have replaced their wipers with electric ones on both ends of the rakes,” said a CR official.
The CR has a total fleet of around 160 rakes of which 40 rakes are of Bombardier make which already had these electric wipers installed. The remaining retrofitted rakes too have been replaced with electric wipers.