Mumbai, also called as the maximum city by many, has got a new maximum in its cap – flat wheels on EMU rakes! The new EMU rakes – which the media refers to as state-of-the-art, world-class & swanky, the rakes which were supposed to revolutionize train travel in Mumbai – have developed truckloads of flat wheels.
For the uninitiated, here is what flat-wheel means: A flat wheel is a fault in the shape of the wheel(s) of a coach. The wheel no longer remains perfectly circular. Flat wheels produce a peculiar thudding sound for every revolution of the wheel when the out-of-shape portion hits the rail surface.
Flat wheels are already common on older MRVC rakes. You will find at least 7-8 of them in every rake.
But, I saw a brand new rake of western railway yesterday. The rake, numbered 1133-1134 was inducted into service less than a week ago. To my utter disbelief, it had at least 6 to 8 flat wheels! The flat wheels on this rake are amongst the most severe ones I have ever seen. Such a high number of flat wheels in a rake that is just a week old is shocking. It clearly indicates that something is wrong somewhere. The wheels might be of substandard quality.
An important point to be noted that the issue excessive flat wheels is present only in MRVC rakes. The pre MRVC rakes have absolutely no issues. Flat wheels are very rare in them.
Meanwhile, another nagging issue – rusting – remains unsolved. A WR rake manufactured in May 2010 shows a lot of rusting near the rain gutters. ICF will never improve.
Long live the world-class rakes! I am sure that the MRVC bosses will still say that there are no problems with the rakes.