During the trials, some coaches were loaded with sandbags whereas some were left empty to check the impact during the peak and the non-peak hours.

Mumbai : The railways have started trial runs of local trains on platforms with an increased height of 920 mm.

This is pursuant to the high court ordering the railways to reduce the foot-wide gap between the train and the platform, which has claimed 46 lives in the last three years.

The trials began on Monday night in the presence of a team from the Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) of the railways and members of the high court-appointed expert committee.

Monday’s trial run was done using a Siemens rake between Churchgate and Andheri. During the trials, some coaches were loaded with sandbags whereas some were left empty to check the impact during the peak and the non-peak hours.

A member of the high power committee said, “With the height of 920 mm, the gap is a little too tight,’’ said a member of the expert committee. The experts are afraid that the tracks may sink in the monsoon and the train may graze the platform.

A committee member said, “The ballast sinks during the monsoon due to flooding and the soil beneath gets washed away. Even if it sinks to 50 mm the platform which is already 920 mm will have an additional height of 50 mm increasing the height to 970 mm which may cause a problem then.”

Trials will also be done using the old DC rakes, which are said to have coil springs that compresses more as compared with the Siemens rake that have air springs. The trial runs will be conducted on Tuesday night, following which the reading noted during the runs will be analyzed and the report will be submitted to the high court.

The high court-appointed committee had suggested increasing the height of the platform to 1200 mm to make it at the same level with the train. Increasing the height to 1200 mm will make it a walk through in the train as in case of the Monorail and the Metro.

However, the committee members were told by RDSO that the horizontal gap between the train and the platform needs to be at least 150 mm (15 cm or half-a-foot) as the trains sway horizontally as well.

 Iram Siddique

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