Last week I travelled in a serial production bombardier rake for the first time. It was rake #5133-5136, a two month old rake. I was rather disappointed with it. Here are a few observations:
- Frameless windows give a clean uncluttered look to the interiors.
- Chequered flooring has an all new design. It looks better than the age old design common on other rakes.
- Texture on grab poles near door is very nice. It gives excellent grip.
- Workmanship on exterior is horrible. Welding joints are clearly visible. There is no effort to conceal them. That gives exterior a very crude look. Other miscellaneous instances of poor workmanship are present inside the rake. I won’t bore you by going into all of them!
- I have already written a lot about quality of painting (Link 1, Link 2). Just a couple of more points. The paint has no shine whatsoever. Workmanship is poor here too. I could see many places where large drops of paint dripping down the coach had dried mid way, giving a bubbly look to the coach. External finishing of two prototype rakes was much better.
- The central duct for ventilation and all sidewall panels in the serial production rakes are made of FRP (fibre reinforced plastic). The first two prototype rakes had metal panelling. These FRP panels are uneven in appearance. Most importantly FRP is very susceptible to damage compared to metal panels.
- There are strips fixed on ventilation duct at regular intervals to hold it in place. The delicate FRP paneling is broken near every strip perhaps due to excess force applied while screwing in the strips. Like I said above, FRP panel gets damaged very easily.
- I suspect some of the violet colour on exterior is stickers. Especially bands near door and strip above door. The colours of stickers and paint do not match – typical of ICF.
There is no doubt that the series production rakes are a downgrade from initial prototype rakes. In my initial review, I had highly praised the interiors of the rake. Most of the positives are no longer applicable for series production rakes. The first three points from “What you will like” in the review are no longer applicable:
– Interior gets a fresh new look
– Quality of materials used for interior furnishing has improved
– Fit & finish of interior has improved a lot
Its almost like ICF gave a good product as a prototype and a poor quality, inferior version of the prototype as final product.
PS: I had already reported a few more changes in this post.