Kochi: The first three-phase Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) in Kerala began its service along the Kollam-Ernakulam route on Tuesday. Around 2,402 passengers can travel in the eight-car rake that was allotted to the Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division.
The MEMU that began the first service from Kollam at 12.40pm would head to Ernakulam via Kottayam. It would return to Kollam via Alappuzha.
The new MEMU replaces the earlier MEMU with train number 66308/09.
A N Valsan of the Ernakulam crew depot is the locopilot. Dubbed to be the ‘little sister’ of the semi-high speed Train 18, the three-phase MEMU travels at 105 km per hour.
The MEMU trains serve short and medium distance routes in India, as compared to normal EMU trains ("local" trains) that connect urban and suburban areas.
CCTV cameras have been fitted at the women's coach for their safety. The MEMU has lightweight sliding doors and GPS passenger information system. Manufactured with stainless steel coach body, the train also has cushion seats, biotoilets, and LED lights. The train with regenerative braking system is 35 per cent more fuel efficient than traditional MEMU trains.
The coaches are also fitted with secondary air suspension that assures a comfortable ride to the passengers. This is for the first time that air suspension has been fitted on MEMU trains. Both cabins of the guard and the locopilot are air-conditioned.
At least 614 passengers can sit and 1,788 can stand in the train during the journey. The height of the back rest has been increased for passenger comfort. The new MEMU also boasts of interiors done with FRP panelling and wide windows.
Though daily MEMU services from Thiruvananthapuram were expected with the arrival of the new rakes, it may not be a reality immediately.
When the MEMU taken for maintenance works is returned to the division, daily services would begin. Divisional Railway Mmanager Sireesh Kumar Sinha said that efforts are on to bring back the MEMUs.
"Once they are also made available, the old passenger trains would be converted to MEMUs in a phased manner. As they can attain speed quickly, MEMU trains would also prove to be a solution for the late-running of trains,” he added.