Trial report on automatic door closing system

Mumbai: Carbon dioxide levels inside coaches rose beyond permissible limits on four occasions during trials conducted by the Western Railway from January 2 to 5, to test the automatic door-closing system on non-AC local trains, a preliminary report states. As per the report, the travel time also exceeded by 8 to 10 minutes between Churchgate and Virar.

As per norms, CO2 levels inside the coaches should be less than 700 PPM (Part Per Million) for ambient temperature. However, during the trails, it was observed that the permissible level was between 710 PPM to 960 PPM. On January 2, it rose to between 900 PPM to 960 PPM, but on January 5, it was recorded as being between 710 ppm to 920 ppm.

Western Railway has been conducting trials of the automatic door-closing system in non-AC coaches in a bid to reduce the cases of deaths due to commuters falling off crowded trains. The trials will go till January 18. On two occasions, commuters have complained that they were stuck inside compartments when people tried to forcibly open the doors, leading to technical faults. They have also complained of a lack of ventilation.

Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relation officer, WR said this was only a preliminary report prepared on the current trials, and that the final findings may change as the trials are still underway and all aspects would have to be considered.

“Once all the trails are completed, we will prepare a final report which will be submitted to the Railway Board and a further decision will be taken on the basis of report,” Bhakar said.

According to the report, several passengers were also unaware of such a system being tested, as they were trying to open the door manually from outside, when the train stopped at a station. On January 3 and 5, the door closing system was obstructed by passengers boarding the train at Dahisar and Mira Road station respectively.

“In the report, door open and close functionality was found normal in all trials. However it was observed if the trial run is operated during peak hours, the passengers will be inconvenienced while alighting and boarding from these coaches,” read the report.

It further stated that on January 4, while the train was entering Dahisar station, the emergency buzzer of the door panel started ringing in a driving cab. The fault was rectified only after the opening and closing of doors on both sides. The same incident was repeated at Bandra station.

In the car shed, it was observed that the above problem occurred due to an emergency alarm getting triggered when some doors were forcibly pushed back. This problem was identified in door no.5 of coach 1157A, door no.1 in coach no. 1158B and door no.8 in coach no. 1157C of the Churchgate-Virar 12:16 pm services.

The report also read that currently, the motorman has to carry out certain procedures at originating stations. The procedure requires a lot of attention, and owing to the lack of time at terminations such as Churchgate, the chances of the rake getting delayed are very high even with a single human error. The design, therefore, had to be improved, the report read.

According to the report, the trained guard is also unaware of any problem that occurs indoor as no audio indication is available in the guard cab. At present, the escorting staff continuously monitors both cabs and the passenger area. Hence, the time loss was negligible at stations during the failures mentioned. This issue also needs immediate attention.

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