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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Two Metro rakes manufactured by CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. in China reach city port

Railway Board had first contracted firm to build 14 rakes for Calcutta Metro in May 2015, rakes were supposed to have been delivered by October 2018

Debraj Mitra Calcutta Published 24.05.24, 05:06 AM
The vessel with a Dalian rake on board at the city port

The vessel with a Dalian rake on board at the city port

Two Metro rakes from China reached the city port on Wednesday evening.

“The rakes arrived at the port around 7pm on Wednesday. The coaches were unloaded from a vessel at the port on Thursday. They will be assembled near a railway yard at the port and taken to the Noapara maintenance base by a diesel engine,” said a Metro official.

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The rakes, manufactured by CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. in China, left China on April 26.

A Metro official said the two new rakes should be inducted into the fleet soon, possibly on the north-south corridor (Blue Line) between New Garia and Dakshineswar.

“The first train was a prototype. The extensive trials and the pandemic forced the delay. The design of the new rakes is much more foolproof. Commercial runs should start after some basic inspections, which should be over in a month,” he said.

The Railway Board had first contracted the firm to build 14 rakes for Calcutta Metro in May 2015. The rakes were supposed to have been delivered by October 2018.

But a design approval from the central Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) delayed the process, said sources in the railways.

The first of the 14 rakes arrived at the Calcutta port on March 3, 2019, breaking the monopoly of the Integral Coach Factory, the sole supplier of rakes to Calcutta Metro. The Chinese rakes were then billed as the best bet to replace the snag-prone old
rakes and reduce the burden on the existing air-conditioned rakes.

But it was inducted into the commercial fleet after four years, in March 2023.

Railway officials attributed the delay to pending clearances because of Covid. “The Chinese rake was a prototype and needed extensive trials. Some glitches had been reported during the trials, especially the oscillation trials. Engineers from Dalian in China were supposed to come to Calcutta to address the problems. But Covid struck and everything got delayed,” said an official.

In the meantime, the carrier shifted its focus to the indigenous Medha rakes — the new lot of trains built at the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur, near Chennai.

When the contract was signed, Metro had an ageing and snag-prone fleet. It has since had a facelift by phasing out the older, non-AC rakes.

The carrier now has 32 trains in its fleet — 18 Medha rakes, 13 made at BHEL and one Dalian rake. All the trains are air-conditioned.

Two trains each are used on the two new corridors — between Joka and Majerhat, the operational part of the Joka-Esplanade corridor (Purple Line) and between New Garia and Ruby, the operational part of the New Garia-airport corridor (Orange Line).

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