Wait for AC local trains till January

Mumbai : Mumbaikars will have no respite from October heat and will have to wait until January to board the country’s first air-conditioned local. The officials from Integral Coach Factory (ICF) are dissatisfied with the cooling of the AC units installed in local trains and want to test its functioning in adverse conditions with extremely high humidity and temperature.

 The air-condition local train was originally slated to arrive in the city by October as announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu but now the deadline seems unlikely to be met. At present, for testing one coach of the 12-coach train, two air-conditioning units called as Roof-Mounted Packaging Units (RMPU) of 15 tons each have been fitted in it. This coach is undergoing test at ICF.

“During testing it was found that the AC unit has not been able to provide sufficient level of cooling in that coach,” said an official from Western Railway (WR). The air-conditioning units that will be installed in local train is of much higher capacity as compared to the 10 tonne AC unit which is the highest placed in trains on Indian Railways (IR).

There was a delay in manufacturing of the AC units by the firms which was awarded the contract. Following this the process was repeated and another firm was hired to supply the AC units. However, during testing of these AC units it was found that the cooling was not upto the mark.

 The supplier was then asked to make necessary changes in the AC unit for improving its performance. This entire process seems to have delayed fitting process by a couple of months.

Considering heavy crowd in local trains of the city, the coaches will be tested for functioning in adverse conditions. There will be very high temperature and humidity under which cooling system will be expected to give its best. “The testing of AC units is expected to go on for another month. Following which electrical goods which are supplied by Bharat Heavy Electric Limited (BHEL) will also be tested,” added the official.

 The AC locals were first proposed in the railway budget in the year 2012-13. It was not a part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) and was to be produced as a special project. The train was expected to be commissioned in 2013 and has been missing several deadlines since then.

Iram Siddique

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