Mumbai: For want of ‘shoes’, monorail was grounded over weekend

Mumbai: Monorail services resumed on Monday with its operator, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) monitoring the rakes.

Services were cancelled on Saturday and Sunday due to the unavailability of current collector shoes (CCS) — these power the rakes by collecting electricity from the third rail on the guideway (track).

According to an official, the CCS were procured from a Pune manufacturer and only reached the Wadala depot late on Sunday evening, with staff working through the night to carry out repairs. On Monday, three rakes of the monorail were in operation.

Usually, the CCS is procured from a UK vendor--Faiveley Brecknell Willis (FBW). However, there are concerns about the product – the life of the CCS has been practically halved, from 30-40 days to 10-15 days.

The authorities say it is due to wear and tear because of heavy rains. Another factor is the delayed supply of the CCS as the FBW would start manufacturing these only on receiving payment from the MMRDA. The delivery date for the next shipment is September, said the MMRDA.

Considering that the procurement of spare parts from foreign vendors is always a long-drawn process every time, which affects monorail services, now, the MMRDA, in line with the Make in India Policy, plans to indigenously source vendors. However, until then, services will continue to be affected, say the officials.

Tenders have been floated for the purchase of 10 rakes. With the expected 17 rakes to be in operation by 2021, services will then have a frequency of six minutes.

Meanwhile, the MMRDA has blamed the previous Malaysian operator, SCOMI Engineering, for their failure to run services properly. Besides, the contractor never purchased spare parts and consumables (tyres, oil, braking systems, traction motors etc).

It was only after the MMRDA took over the operations, that orders have been placed for the procurement of equipment.

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