By Akshay Marathe
After a long wait of 17 months, the new EMUs (commonly called local trains) for Mumbai having Bombardier electricals are finally in the service of public! The first ever passenger run with these rakes was operated on 18th March 2015. Rake number 5005 worked on 11.32 am Churchgate – Borivali service. I appreciate the decision of WR authorities to press the rakes into service immediately after getting clearance, without wasting any time in waiting for VIP to flag off the rake. I travelled in inaugural run from Churchgate to Andheri.
Here is my review based on that journey, along with a few photos from the trip.
What you will like:
– Interior gets a fresh new look
– Quality of materials used for interior furnishing has improved
– Fit & finish of interior has improved a lot
– Ride quality seemed to be better than the older Siemens rakes
– Motorcoaches are very silent
– Jerk free ride. There are absolutely no jerks while accelerating or braking
– Legroom is very good (at the cost of slightly narrower door-ways)
– LED displays inside coach are dual sided now. They have display on both sides, as opposed to single sided displays in Siemens rakes
– Forced ventilation was working effectively
– Lights and fans did not switch off at neutral section
What you won’t:
– Seats in first class have insufficient depth
– Lack of rain gutters will create a problem during monsoon
– The cab face has an dull, uninspiring & boring design.
– In spite of the improvements, there are still some very obvious shortcomings in the finishing. Eg: luggage racks, door locks.
– Poorly painted lettering spoils the appearance of the rake’s exterior
The rake sports an all new design. Face of driving cab gets smaller lookout glasses. This is definitely based on feedback from motormen. Destination boards get their own small glasses. A black band resides below lookout glasses. The aesthetics of cab face are nothing to write home about. It looks unattractive. Moving to the sides of the coach, the first thing which will strike you is its shape. The coaches have flat side walls, as opposed to the slightly curved ones found in older rakes. The sides too sport a revised colour scheme. Orange band above doors is replaced by a violet one. The violet band below windows has lost some height. A slanting violet band surrounds a few some of the doors. The exterior surface has improved a lot in terms of finishing. There is very less waviness in sidewalls as compared to Siemens rakes. Poorly finished welding can be seen near the floor level. It is here that the paint has started chipping off at some places. The letters “WR” look shabby & out of proportion on the sides. Lack of rain gutters will be a problem during the monsoon.
Immediately on stepping inside the rake, I was pleasantly surprised with the interiors. It had a fresh new look, and felt very nice. Most of the interior panels & other components felt well screwed together. Importantly, the design of interior appears as a cohesive one. All the components and parts collectively gel into each other nicely, giving a classy feel to the interior. This is a big improvement over the Siemens rakes which felt like a mix and match of various components from many different designs, which did not go well with each other when combined into a single design. Attention to details in the interior has increased. Fit & finish of the interior too is a few notches above Siemens rakes. Having said that, there are a few issues as well. Seats in first class are too narrow & offer less under thigh support. Increasing the width by a few centimeters would be great. There still are bits & pieces here and there which are very poorly finished. Luggage racks & door locks are the best examples.
The rake starts off without any jerks. Acceleration and braking, both are jerk free. Ride quality is very smooth. Siemens rakes had the tendency to jerk while negotiating neutral sections. That did not seem to be the case here. Everything is very smooth. Sound of motors cannot be heard inside motor coach; they are very silent. I will not comment on acceleration as there was insufficient scope to observe it. Secondly, I observed that the tube lights & fans in the rake did not switch off even momentarily while negotiating neutral section. It is another important improvement in my opinion. In short, the rake excels in this department. Thumbs up to Bombardier engineers!
Now, I will let the photos do the talking!
Mechanism to close the doors is a new design. There is a lever inside this cover which has to be pushed towards the door, which unlocks the door and it can then be closed. The cover is unpainted and looks as if it is an afterthought.
View from the doorway while the train speeds through Central Mumbai. The door frame (border around doors) now uses metal components instead of plastic. This is a welcome change as plastic tends to break frequently in Siemens rakes. In an empty train the hexagonal grab pole didn’t pose any problem. Will need to check whether it poses any issue in peak hours.
Summing it up:
This rake is a right step forward from the Siemens rakes. Though there are some niggles still present, the improvement is significant. Even if this level of finishing and quality is maintained throughout the 72 rakes, it would be sufficient. ICF has made a good start & I would love to see this continuing till all 72 rakes are manufactured. Some of the negatives can even be fixed by minor design changes.
There are only two things I would watch out for now – whether they can maintain this level of finishing, and secondly the durability of the rake.
Your feedback about this post is most welcome. Do leae your opinions in the comments section!