It has been a long time since the saga of Bombardier rakes started. So why not take a quick recap of the entire sequence of events! If you have found this blog recently, it would be a great way to come up to speed with the happenings! If you are a long time follower, it would still be a good brush-up! So here we go, a summary of the timeline of Bombardier rakes till now!
December 2010: A long bidding process for electrical systems of MUTP-2 rakes ends. The bids are opened.
October 2011: Contract for electrical systems of MUTP-2 is awarded to Bombardier. Again, a long time period of 11 months after opening the bids.
November 2011: MRVC & Bombardier sign the final contract for supply of electricals. As per the announcement made on that day, serial production at rate of 4 rakes per month was supposed to start in December 2013.
1st October 2013: First prototype rake is dispatched to the city from Integral Coach Factory, Chennai. DNA reported that the rake was scheduled for THREE MONTH series of trials. MRVC wasted a month by waiting for Railway minister to flag off trials.
31st October 2013: 2nd prototype rake is dispatched.
February 2014: On 7th February 2014, DNA reports that the rakes will by in service by March 2014. The story further goes on to say that 24 to 30 rakes will be in service by March 2015. Mid day also reports a similar date for the inauguration.
July 2014: After a long series of trials, Western Railway finally announces that the new rakes will be flagged off on August 15th, 2014. They later realize that CRS wants coupler force trials to be conducted, hence the inauguration is called off. Sheer lack of co-ordination.
July 2014: Meanwhile, I due to the continuous delays in commissioning of the rakes, along with a friend I decide to take the RTI route to try and find some information. MRVC’s reply is the most absurd. They say that the rakes are already commissioned in early 2014! More details here. They state that coupler force trials would be complete by mid-September 2014. This was MRVC’s reply to the RTI query:
1st October 2014: The Bombardier rakes celebrate their first birthday, still in trials. Absolutely no signs of commissioning. Times of India published an article on the delay. Title was very apt, “Mars mission took less time than Bombardier Rakes to hit the tracks”
24th October 2014: November is the new deadline set by MRVC, as per information provided under the RTI Act. Coupler force trials, which were supposed to be complete by mid-September, were completed with a delay of 1 month. More details here. MRVC’s reply:
8th November 2014: A newspaper reports that all trials have been completed, and final papers are being sent for approval.
28th November 2014: Bombardier’s contract with MRVC expires! A red faced MRVC extends the contract. Quite an embarrassment for IR. Authorities still absolutely clueless as to how much more time it will take for the rakes to be in service. More details here.
December 2014: MRVC’s official stand is that they are doing a great job co-ordinating the trials of Bombardier rakes. Meanwhile, it now comes to light that there is some fault in air springs of the bombardier rakes, which will further delay their commissioning. Details in this post.
So friends, that is the story of the rakes till date, in brief. I do not know how long will this continue. It is really a sad state of affairs. It has to stop somewhere. I urge you to please share this blog post as much as possible on the social media & mobile messaging apps so that it reaches the authorities and atleast someone in the government takes note of this in Indian Railways.. Please please spread the word, and do your bit for the city.
I am paying MRVC surcharge for new rakes and so are the millions of others on our railway tickets and season tickets. In return, we are all getting a raw deal.
Mumbai deserves much better than this!