In a good news for Mumbai train commuters who witness frequent disruption in services in heavy rains due to water logging on the tracks, the Central Railway is ready to roll out a modified, "waterproof" locomotive engine that could be operated even in 12 inches of water.
Usually, only four inches of water can bring a locomotive engine to halt and force the train to stay put until water on the tracks recede.
The modified locomotive engine can move local trains as well as long-distance trains that get stuck on tracks due to water-logging, a senior Central Railway official said today.
"In the view of heavy rainfall adversely affecting suburban train services since the last few years, we have developed a modified locomotive engine which will be handy to pull out rakes marooned in rain waters," said Central Railway chief PRO Sunil Udasi.
He said the modified and waterproof locomotive engine can pull out rakes even in 12 inches of water, which would avoid train services getting bunched up due to flooded tracks.
He said the engine, modified at the Kurla carshed, is ready for use and can be deployed anytime if needed.
Underlining the difficulties the CR face to ensure that suburban train services run smoothly even during heavy rains, Udasi referred to the downpour that had caused huge disruption of train services last September.
"Heavy rainfall had marooned 25 rakes on tracks in last September as water on tracks had entered traction motors of the locomotive engines," he said.
Udasi said these rakes were required to be repaired or replaced on war footing to keep Mumbai's lifeline running.
"All these rakes were full of water due to which they were put out of service. It took us five days to make these rakes operational again," he recalled.
Explaining the utility of the modified locomotive engine, Udasi said accumulated water on tracks can enter the traction motor fitted at the bottom of a locomotive engine and cause its failure.
"Presently, four inches of water on the tracks can cause such a disruption. In the new locomotive engine, the traction motor has been sealed completely to prevent the track water from entering it," Udasi said, adding that temperature sensors are also being used to check rise in locomotive engine temperature.
Suburban trains or local trains are called as the lifeline of the metropolis.
Over 70 lakh people use the suburban trains operated by Indian Railways' two zonal divisions--Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR)--for daily commuting.
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