Member of Railway Board (rolling stock) inspected various railway facilities in Mumbai a couple of months ago. The notes from this visit have been uploaded on IR’s website. Railway board member has made some harsh remarks about the air conditioned EMU rake which is currently undergoing testing. A short summary of the remarks:
- He notes that the rake is badly delayed due to some issues which could not be resolved. He appears to be unhappy with the progress of trials. Thus RDSO and BHEL have been asked to submit the final timeline for commissioning of the rake & also submit detailed schedule of all tests to be carried out on the rake.
- ICF has been asked to fix responsibility for manufacturing the rake with 4335 mm height even though max allowed height is 4275 mm on Central Railway
- Various deficiencies were noted in the rake with regards to high noise, vibrations, improper interiors & internal furnishings. These issues need to be addressed before pressing the rake into service. Some of the issues are:
- Very high level of noise when AC units are switched on. It should be brought down to permissible noise levels
- Low height of luggage racks
- Projections over seating area due to large size
- AC unit height is more than permissible height
- Vestibule (portion that allows walking from one coach to other) and floor are at different heights causing uneven flooring
- Vestibules are tilting, which creates gap between coaches. Design needs modification
- Public information system needs to be more elegant and at a better location
- Loose screws were found on flooring & flooring sheets were uneven
- Grab handles were broken. A sturdier design needs to be used
- Height of grab handles should also be looked into
- AC unit in motorman’s cab blows cold air directly on the back of motorman which will be uncomfortable for him
- CCTV camera should be provided
- LED lights should be used
- Number of fans should be reduced and their speed too should be reduced
It looks like the rake has many deficiencies & was hurriedly despatched from ICF. There is still no clarity on when it will be inducted into regular service. That day does seem to be quite far off.
During the inspection of Matunga workshop, Siemens rake motorcoaches too were inspected. Recently CR has been hit by a spate of cracks in bolsters of Siemens EMUs. A bogie bolster is the central section of the bogie that carries the entire weight of a coach on it. Cracks in such a critical component is a safety issue. CR has been working proactively to ensure all rakes are in a condition fit to run. These issues are most probably due to poor manufacturing/quality control at ICF. In his notes, member of board is critical of this as well. He says:
- From January 2017 to February 2017, 24 cases of cracks in bolster have been reported. 2 coaches having cracks were inspected
- As this is a critical item for safety, ICF was asked to come up with suitable repair procedures quickly. The repairs should be carries out by manufacturer of bogies under supervision of ICF
- ICF should trace manufacturer of each defective bolster
- RDSO should carry out audit of manufacturing processes of suppliers.
- Siemens rakes have started showing high levels of corrosion in various parts of coach in just 6-7 years. ICF should investigate and take corrective action on it.
Overall, this report reflects poorly on ICF. Their quality and finishing have come under criticism from the board. This is nothing new though, as the lack of quality is clearly visible even to the naked eye.
The notes from inspection can be accessed here.