Poor grievance redressal

MRVC’s greivance handling system too is very poor. Please read the following mail which I had sent to no less than four E-mail
IDs displayed on MRVC website. Of those four IDs, it seems that two IDs are
wrong, since delivery to those IDs failed. Note: the point about stickers
being replaced by paint is invalid, as I found out later.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Akshay Marathe
Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2008
Subject: Quality issues in new suburban rakes
To: mdmrvc@…, fc@…, dtmrvc@…, dpmrvc@…

Dear sir/Madam,

When the first MRVC rake arrived in Mumbai, I was unhappy with the paint job
and its overall quality. But ICF had reserved its best quality (certified by
ISO 9001 and 14000) for later. The newer rakes have even worse paint jobs.
See how they look side-by-side at

On seeing the newer rakes, I feel that the older ones were much better. With
this kind of paint job, the new rakes will need repaints in less than a
year. The older rake at least has a glossy finish, but the new rake is
simply pathetic. I am still waiting to see the interiors of the newer rakes,
but according to a close friend, the interiors too are bad. The fabrication
of driving cab of the newer rake is pathetic. Now, I have some questions:

1. The new as well as old rakes have been manufactured at a cost of Rs 20
crores. Using low quality materials and workmanship must have definitely
decreased the cost of manufacturing the rake. Those “savings” have gone into
whose pockets?
2. Lets assume that the technical equipment (TMs, electronics,
electricals, bogies, suspension etc) costs Rs 13-15 Crores out of the cost
of the rakes. Isn’t it ridiculous and shameful that ICF cannot manufacture
good quality passenger compartments and give them a good paint job in Rs 5-7
crores? Some credit card company has a tagline “There are some things in
life which money can’t buy” Good coaches from ICF seems to be one of these
things, because ICF is turning out horrible coaches even after paying Rs 20
crores. Its like you buy a brand new Mercedes, and the paint starts peeling
off in a month!

Meanwhile, I got a chance of observing the exteriors of WR’s 4th and 5th
rake (#207 025 to 028 and #207 029 to 032 respectively) closely, and in good
lighting. The quality is horrendous. Paint has no gloss, and the coat of
paint appears thin. As usual, the coach sidewalls are not straight, instead
they are wavy, uneven warped. The finishing of driving cab is horrible.
Welding signs are evident all over, and near the cattle guard, the welding
is extremely rudimentary.

On coach 207 C 029 of the 5th rake, paint has already started peeling off
near the windscreen. Corrosion has set in near many welding joins, just 45
days after the rakes were manufactured. The only good aspect is that
stickers have not been used anywhere on the exteriors. The orange strip
above the doors, roman numbers I and II etc have been painted.

Another worrying aspect is the occurance of flat wheels in MRVC rakes.
During the last 5 journeys in MRVC rake on WR (in 5 different coaches), I
have noticed that the coach had at least one flat wheel. One coach had two
flat wheels. Railfans have reported flat wheels on new CR rakes too.

I understand that rakes cannot be rejected as AC/DC rakes are badly required
for conversion of the suburban network to AC. ICF is taking undue advantage
by turning out poor quality rakes.

Akshay Marathe


Till date there has been no reply to this mail. Not even an acknowledgement
that the mail has been received. This was exactly what I had expected from

I have also communicated with a senior ICF official a couple of
times. His attitude was quite positive, and he seemed open to feedback. He
had also said that the quality of rakes will improve, but unfortunately the
quality has deteriorated badly.

The words of a friend sum up the MRVC rake story beautifully. “The rakes have
luxuries like ventilation, better acceleration, better looking interiors,
display showing next station, etc. But basic necessities like enough legroom
are missing.” I will add “quality” in the list of missing basic necessities.

But, the question that needs to be asked is, why is it necessary to raise
such a hue and cry for something as simple as rakes which do not rust in a
month after manufacturing? Is it not a very fundamental thing, which should
ideally be taken for granted? MRVC had announced that the rakes will have
stainless steel bodyshells due to which they will not rust quickly. What we
are seeing is diametrically opposite.


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