By Sagar Mohod:
Central Railway’s Nagpur Division plans to introduce Multiple Electrical Mainline Unit (MEMU) rake as replacement for passenger trains on its congested routes. Division has recently got eight coaches and trials for the same are expected to start soon, said a senior official. The most ideal route is Nagpur-Wardha, a distance of 75 kms, given the congestion the MEMU fits the bill as saving on time translates into additional path that is need of the hour. The rake sporting is currently stabled at Ajni Yard and same is manufactured at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.
Railway Board had few years back adopted a policy to withdraw conventional coaches of passenger trains and run fast moving MEMU train on those routes. For division however the problem is there is travellers on Nagpur-Wardha route on passenger train are in large number. At present 16 to 18 coach rake is plying on the route and still failing to meet the demand of commuters. Hence administration is in double mind whether to start with eight coaches MEMU in the beginning as they have doubts if it can meet the demand. Therefore decision is not yet made where to run the MEMU, as within that numbers it could ply on Nagpur-Narkher route also.
MEMU trains are norms in Mumbai suburban section and main advantage with it is that they offer faster movement and maximum reliability. As engines are in-built the need for reversal, attachment-detachment exercise stands eliminated. Owing to faster acceleration there is no limit to stoppages on the route that would cut down the travel time on Nagpur-Wardha route where maximum demand exists as of date.
At present with conventional haulage by engines, travel time to Wardha ex-Nagpur is around one and half hours while with MEMU 15 to 30 minutes times can be easily slashed off. The grey-blue combination coaches self operated doors is most ideal and could also ensure multiple services owing to savings on time front. For commuters also the faster travel time offers immense benefit and it could also spur development of housing colonies on outskirts of city.