Bombardier rake inaugurated – Photos & Initial Review!

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.

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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

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.

Interior:

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.

Performance:

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!

The bombardier rake pulls into Churchgate for its first ever commercial run.2015/03/img_2343.jpg

Getting ready to depart from Churchgate. The face of cab looks very boring & plain jane. 2015/03/img_2344.jpg

The interior feels well put together compared to Siemens rakes. The materials used too are better than the white plastic interior of Siemens rakes. Some second class interior photos:2015/03/img_2305.jpg

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The motorcoach does not have luggage racks at one end, near the HT equipment compartment. This flaw should be fixed.2015/03/img_2345.jpg

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.2015/03/img_2347.jpg

Forced ventilation air outlets sport a new design. It looks very good!2015/03/img_2348.jpg

Seats in first class. Notice the misalignment in height of seats at the place where 2 parts of the seat meet. This is a problem which has been carried over from Siemens rakes.2015/03/img_2349.jpg

Sufficient legroom in first class. Under thigh support is very poor due to insufficient depth of seats.2015/03/img_2326-0.jpg

Luggage racks have extremely poor finishing. This is supposed to be in a straight line but is all twisted.2015/03/img_2350.jpg

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.2015/03/img_2351.jpg

Flat side wall – something new being tried out. Practically it doesn’t make any impact though, apart from giving a new look to the rake.
2015/03/img_2353.jpg

A view of the door from inside when closed. Looks neat!
2015/03/img_2354.jpg

The new design of grab handles. Plastic looks good but it’s long term durability needs to be seen.
2015/03/img_2355.jpg

WR painted on motorcoach. Lettering looks very shabby. Huge scope for improvement here
2015/03/img_2356.jpg

In a year and half, Paint has started chipping off at many places near the bottom part of the rake.
2015/03/img_2336.jpg

Signing off with a shot of the rake departing from Andheri…2015/03/img_2357.jpg

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!

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41 thoughts on “Bombardier rake inaugurated – Photos & Initial Review!

  1. Is the leg space increased between seats for 2nd class? Also, has the standing capacity increased? Thanks, shantanu

  2. These rake are now almost close to their POH schedule. It went under intense trials + filled up with sand bags as dummy weight for so many months + not much attention would be given for cleaning etc as it waas not in commercial service.

    I just hope that paint or other points like luggage rack not in line etc is looked upon in the new rakes to be produced now onwards.

    At the end of the day it still pains me that why so much delay for approvals and the worst thing is that after observing the recent way of working of CRS it doesnt seems to be improving.

    CRS should do its job but it should not be that it completely slows down or stops the development work for no reason.

    The above review itself tells that how ride quality and many other aspects have improved like smooth acceleration / braking, no jerks, lights not getting off at neutral zones.. So i wonder what problem CRS found out that railways had to wait for 17 months for approval?

    I think CRS system should be scrapped or else there should be a straight and clear policy about how much intense CRS trials will be, a check list it needs to pass and nothing beyond that. In the Bombardier case we saw CRS coming up with demands of new trials which were not even done on Siemens till now.

    Also a system where if CRS is not able to give ita conclusions after one month of conducting all the trials mentioned in check list then railways/RB will self access it and make a judgement on approval.

    I hope now we as railfans can take up this issue at various possible levels to improve our own railways and make sure that in future no Bombarider like things get victimised by the ‘system’.

    • Yes I agree with you. It pains me to see the delay in approvals. No one has any answers about the reason for these delays.

      I only hope that there are no further unnecessary delays after 6 months when fresh application for clearance has to be made, also during applications for increasing max speed of rakes & application for clearance for newer rakes.

  3. The design of the rakes is very good. I was eagerly waiting for the Bombardier rakes to be put into service. Even I hope that there will not be delays for the new rakes that are about to come.

    I learnt a lot from your blogs regarding the new rakes and also about the role of MRVC and CRS for the delays. Thank you so much.

    I’m waiting for the chance to experience a ride in the Bombardier Rakes 🙂

  4. Nice info about the Bombardier rakes , Akshay. Would have to wait slightly longer to travel in it but will defintiely be having a ride. There is clarity about everything one needs to know about Bombadier rakes for RFs as well as Non RFs in your blog entry.

  5. Nirav and Akshay,

    I have always said; investigate an issue before placing blame on one or more party / parties.

    Railway is always secretive on many points here but that attitude has been carried for several decades or even more than a century.

    The only option to break this ice is to establish contacts with local Class A officers. Press release, RTI, loose talks with Class C employees will take you nowhere.

    In my case, only two topics interest me, driving cab layout and technology. Passenger comfort is involved only from technological point, such as forced air ventilation, jerk free operation, etc.

    So even with good contacts, I never pay much attention to the deficiencies in passenger comfort. That’s my drawback and I admit it.

    To make the matter worse, India does not have investigative reporters like Don Phillips or Fred Frailey who write columns in TRAINS Magazine about issues related to US Railroads.

    I was interested in driving cab side windows. In MRVC rakes, they were too high causing three problems.

    1) It did not blow wind on M/man’s face when it was open. Compare this with older Jessop rakes.

    2) It was too high for M/man to see and hear questions like, “Yeh gaadi Malad rukti hein kya”.

    3) XL sized windshield created lot of glare in M/man’s eyes.

    All these questions can be answered by M/men only who are Class C employees regarding 5xxx rakes. I’ll certainly pass that feedback to ICF.

    Akshay has very good observation skills and I admire that. His comments are very valuable and I always forward them to ICF management. However, I do not follow up on those comments.

    I do not travel in EMUs as a passenger. I am comfortable in driving cab and all my friends in IR know my choice and reasons behind it. They support me.

    Remember, IR officers come from same society where we live. They are not demons; they are common people like you and me.

    My best wishes to your generation.

  6. Fantastic AM! All the efforts that you and AN have taken have finally reaped its benefits.

    Overall the rake is really good but one thing that concerns me a little is the space for standing near the doors. It’s a little cramped if you go by the Mumbai standards so people might complain a little about it.

    Good job done 🙂

  7. train is awsome but i….request to those people who spilting of gutkha and pan tambaku in front of door. plz coprate to clean and neat mumbai local..b’coz its our life line

  8. Automatic door and cc tv camara must required. For change public nature and more clean nest.
    I travel regularly between charni road To bandra by first class. But I some Time I was not Happy by people who split and getting toilet in coach.

  9. सब से पहेले आप को हमारा सलाम।
    आप ने लोगो के लिए कुछ अच्छा और बेहतरीन किया
    डोर लॉक सब से अच्छा तरीका है जिस से हमारे वो भाई
    जो लटक के सफ़र करते है और आपनी और दूसरे की जान को खतरे में डालते है मगर आप अयसा नहीं होगा।
    आप लोगो का तहे दिल से सुक्रिया

  10. The automatic door close idea should be Best organised and managed for day-to-day rush like Metro-I.
    appoint two marshals for every coach at the station. lady marshals for ladies compartment. who will manage the public to get in and get out of the train. That is what is do at Metro-I. which will ensure;
    * Behaviour of crowd,
    * Maintainance of auto-door mechanism
    * Will certainly boost employment
    * last but most important will ensure’ accident free’ journey for public.

  11. Wat time is the train.. would love to travel with it.. and can we use the same 1st class pass the train..oor there is sum other procedure

  12. The length of the train should be increased from 15 to 30 choaches. Also every compartment should be joined and linked together so there is more space.

  13. The interior of the train like floor n seats should be washed using water jets n keep it neat becoz in the train we see a lot of stain on the seats n lot of dirt stick on the floor over all love Mumbai local truly

  14. A/C DC na ho toa achha hy q k pahli Ac /DC train ne bahot pareshan kr rakha hy
    Dikhne main toa achchhi hy performance kaisa hy?!!!!!!!!!

  15. The design of the rakes is very good. I was eagerly waiting for the Bombardier rakes to be put into service. Even I hope that there will not be delays for the new rakes that are about to come.

    I learnt a lot from your blogs regarding the new rakes and also about the role of MRVC and CRS for the delays. Thank you so much.

    I’m waiting for the chance to experience a ride in the Bombardier Rakes

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