On Friday, concept designs for MUTP-2 rakes were published in DNA, a leading daily in Mumbai. Here are the concept drawings:
My first reaction is, old wine in new bottle. There is hardly any difference in the phase 1 and phase two rakes. These are just concept drawings and I am sure that there will be many changes (rather, trying to make it similar to the old design) before the final production begins. The biggest factor against the rakes is their manufacturer – Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Chennai. No matter how good the design looks on paper, ICF will make sure that it looks bad in reality with their horrible finishing, pathetic workmanship and poor quality of materials (and they will still go on to call the rakes world class).
Moreover, the rakes will be based on the same decades old basic coach shell design of ICF. What this means is that the coaches, especially first class, will be short of space. It also remains to be seen whether MRVC opts for plastic panelling for the interiors. The plastic interiors of phase one rakes are prone to breaking especially in areas of heavy usage like near the door, not to mention that the plastic looks and feels very cheap, no where close to the proclaimed “world class”. Then there is the trademark ICF issue of quality of plastics (refer to this image). I sincerely hope MRVC chooses a better material for the interiors.
The text accompanying the images is available at this link. Improved seats, better blowers and GPS tracking systems are claimed to be the features of the new rakes. Okay. GPS is already present in the phase one rakes. I find the blowers in the phase one rakes to be good enough. I don’t see any need for improvement, expect perhaps a reduction in noise. Comfortable seats are of no use as legroom will be scant.
MRVC also claims that these rakes will be able to play at 110 km/h. Again not a useful improvement. Given the current amount of traffic, rakes find it difficult to attain even 100 km/h. 110 km/h is day dreaming. Instead of making such fancy unrealistic claims, MRVC should concentrate on cracking the whip on ICF and getting them to manufacture decent quality rakes. It would be fantastic if Mumbai gets some good quality rakes, but I am confident that ICF will not be able to do it.