“The induction of the new Bombardier rake, which the Western Railways had said was just a few days away in early August, is unlikely to come into public service till the end of October. This is because one of the most important tests on the new rake – coupler force trials – is yet to be conducted on it.
Mandatory test yet to be done
While officials, who spoke to dna in the past couple of days, attributed the delay in deployment of the rake to non-commencement of the coupler force trials, commissioner-of-railway-safety’>Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Circle) Chetan Bakshi said that he had asked the authorities concerned almost five months ago to do the tests. “It is mandatory that the coupler force trial be done on any new rolling stock (rake). I do not know what has caused the delay but rules are rules and they will have to be followed,” Bakshi told this newspaper.”
So it is clear that the testing & certification of the Bombardier rakes will take at least 13 months after date of manufacture. You read it right, T-H-I-R-T-E-E-N long months! For comparison, Siemens rakes took 4. This has affected the availability of AC/DC rakes for DC to AC conversion of Thane – CSTM section of Central Railway. To put things in perspective, 13 months is enough time for the rake to traverse every kilometer of electrified track in India.
FOUR YEARS have gone by after the tendering process for the rakes was started. But still, the rakes are not in service of the public! In the same time period, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation can complete construction of a couple of new lines. But our dear railway cannot put a new type of rake into service. This is really a sad state of affairs.
Some questions & observations:
- Why on earth should it take 13 months for trials when Siemens rake trials were completed in 4 months? What rocket science technologies do Bombardier rakes have? This delay & mismanagement is unpardonable.
- Why did Mr Bakshi inform the need for coupler force trials just 5 months ago? Why couldn’t Mr Bakshi inform this requirement 13 months ago?
- The nature of trials should have been clear at the outset. Why this confusion & chaos about them? Why couldn’t MRVC/RDSO/CRS/Rail board/ICF and any other Tom, Dick & Harry involved in trials co-ordinate between themselves well in advance and decide the types of trials before-hand?
- As per reply to an RTI query in July 2014, coupler force trials are to start in mid-September. The rakes are kept idle till mid-September. Why? Why couldn’t the trials be done in August itself?
- The MRVC was constituted for this very purpose – coordinating with various agencies to execute projects in MUTP. It has failed miserably this time. If MRVC cannot fulfill its main objective, why should MRVC exist? The case for dissolution of MRVC is very strong. MRVC is just an administrative overhead for the railways serving no real purpose. It only eats up more public money in the form of staff salaries, office premises etc.
- This is the perfect example of how red tape ruins things in India. If anyone is questioned about the delay, then they will be very prompt in shifting blame on some other authority. How I wish this promptness was shown in completing the trials.
The sad part is, no one is accountable to anybody. Meanwhile, the two Bombardier rakes lie rusting in Virar car shed, waiting for their days of glory. The yellow colour on their faces has already faded to a paler shade.
If you want this to change, please make sure to share this as much as possible so that authorities will be forced to end this tamasha. Please post this link on at least these places: Prime Minister office twitter account, Prime Minister office Facebook page, Railway Ministry twitter account, Railway ministry Facebook page & Minister of railways Twitter account.