Bombay Local breaks the 100 kmph barrier

Looks like the Bullet Train is headed our way…………well not nearly.

Today’s Mumbai Mirror carries this wonderful article about Central Railway Mumbai’s ACDC EMU runing at 100kmph….

Local breaks the 100 kmph barrier

Wednesday’s historic trial run could be the future of train travel in Mumbai

At 12:19 pm on Wednesday, the CST-Kasara local ran into history. It became the first train ever in Mumbai suburban railway network’s annals to touch a top speed of 100 km/hr. The record speed, achieved between Kalyan and Kasara, officials said, is an important milestone in increasing frequency of suburban trains and cutting down on travel times. They said 100 km/hr per hour is way above the top speed of 80 km/hr specified for local trains, which they rarely ever touch because of poor track conditions.

CR officials from the operations, signalling, electrical and mechanical engineering departments, worked hard on several aspects to make the trial run successful. The ‘Mission 100 km/hr’ had begun after the all-important safety go-ahead was received late last month from the Commissioner of Railway Safety.

“This was the first trial, which we believe was a success. Now as we get more AC/DC trains capable of running at 100 km/hr, this project, if we can call it that, really takes off,” Additional Divisional Railway Manager, CR, Alok Tewari said. Tewari was on board the trial train when it touched 100 km/hr between Kalyan and Kasara.

All of Thursday, excited train runners at CR were calculating how much time they could shave off in the Kalyan-Kasara run and turn to introduce the new timings into the revised time-table scheduled to become effective July 1 next year.

The test train crossed the 80 km/hr barrier at several places between CST and Kalyan and touched 100 km/hr between Kalyan and Kasara. Distances between stations beyond Kalyan are longer — an average of above 5 km — making it possible for the train to touch top speed.

“We believe between Kalyan and Kasara, we can definitely reduce running time by ten minutes. However, for now, we believe it is best not to attempt this between CST and Kalyan, though things may change soon,” said a senior CR official.

The train, capable of running on both alternate and direct currents, was technically modified to run at 100 km/hr at the Kalwa Carshed on Tuesday evening. “All local trains are configured in such a way that if the train goes above 80 km/hr, a warning is sounded in the motorman’s cabin. At 85 km/hr, service brakes are applied that slow down the train. If it still speeds and touches 90 km/hr, emergency brakes are applied with the help of magnetic sensors fitted in the tracks.

To avoid all this, we had to re-configure the systems to run this train at 100 km/hr,” said the official.

The CR officials are now awaiting upgradation of electrical and signalling systems. A senior CR official said that this should happen by December-end.

But there are more problems. “To run CST-Kasara trains consistently at 100 km/hr, we need at least nine such trains. We have six, another one is being commissioned at the Kalwa Carshed. Once two more come in, this dream of running local trains at 100 km/hr should become a reality,” said an official.

WHY WAS THE 12:19 PM CST-KASARA CHOSEN?

It is a longer route and the train, which was reconfigured at the Kalwa Carshed, became available on Wednesday morning to make the run between CST and Kasara.

HOW WAS THE TRAIN RECONFIGURED?

All local trains are programmed to run at a maximum speed of 80 km/hr. If the train touches 80 km/hr, a beeper goes off in the motorman’s cabin warning him that top speed has been touched. If the motorman ignores the warning and the train touches 85 km/hr, service brakes are applied, slowing the train down considerably. If for some reason, though this is rare, the train still keeps accelerating and touches 90 km/hr, emergency brakes — activated by sensors placed on the tracks — are applied.

The 12:19 pm CST-Kasara local had to be reconfigured in such a way that its crossing the speed barriers of 80, 85 and 90 km/hr did not interrupt its run.

THE WAY AHEAD:

All AC/DC locals are capable of running at 100 km/hr. If CR wants to run CST-Kasara trains at 100 km/hr, it will need at least nine such AC/DC trains. At the moment, it has only six and one is being commissioned at the Kalwa Carshed. The signalling system will have to be upgraded too.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU:

If a train runs at such high speeds, it gives the CR train runners the option of adding more services.

Of course, travel time comes down too.

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