Mumbai : The High Court-appointed expert committee and officials from Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Railways have said that the height of suburban platforms can be raised to 920 mm. However, to rule out any danger of old rakes grazing the platform, the committee has recommended 900 mm as the ideal height of platforms.
According to a senior Railway official, who does not want to be named, the decision was based on the reports prepared by the RDSO after trials were conducted on nine platforms of the Western Railway (WR). According to the RDSO reports, the gap between the footboard and the platform was 34 mm with loaded old rakes with coil springs and 44 mm with loaded Siemens rakes with air springs.
Earlier, the committee members found the gap too tight. However, they have now agreed upon increasing the height up to 920 mm with certain stringent maintenance parameters agreed upon. According to the Schedule of Dimensions (SOD), the ideal gap between the platform and the train is supposed to be 150 mm or half-a-foot. A RDSO official explained, “The gap margin was decided to be 150 mm considering factors such as compression of springs, maintenance failure or track failure. With the reduced gaps, the tracks and the rakes will have to be maintained in good condition.”
Sudhir Badami, a member of the committee, said, “As the gap was too less, the ideal height of the platform is recommended to be 900 mm.”
The committee has put forth parameters to be observed by the Railway authorities after increasing the height of the platforms to 920 mm. A senior Railway official, also a committee member, said, “The tracks need to be monitored on a daily basis to check for sinking of soil.”
A red line signifying the level of the tracks is marked along the tracks on the platform. A key man walks along the track to check the level of the track. If the track is beneath the marked line, then in that case speed restrictions will be imposed. The reduced speed will change the dynamics of the train. The reduced speed decreases the oscillations and the chances of the train grazing the platform are minimized even if tracks sink.”
The report, jointly prepared by the expert committee members along with officials from RDSO, will be submitted to Railway authorities. The hearing of the court is on March 20 after which the court will take a decision. The members have ruled out the possibility of increasing the height of the platform beyond 920 mm.