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e.m.u. enigma

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16 Apr.1853 - 16 Apr.2002

    (Page color represents the maroon/cream livery of most d.c. and some a.c. in India) 

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dc emus

This page is dedicated to dc emus. While earlier running in Bombay and Madras on 1500 V dc and in Calcutta on 3000 V dc, d.c. emus are now limited to Bombay/Poona. The systems of Calcutta and Madras have long since been converted to 25Kv a.c.

In Bombay the d.c. provide a fairly extensive service on the Central and Western Railways. The Central services start from Bombay VT (Mumbai CST) and go on right upto Kalyan, where one branch goes on right till Kasara, at the foot of the Thull Ghats, while another branch terminates at Karjat, at the foot of the Bhore Ghats. These are main line locals. On the harbor line, the trains skirt the old Bombay Port Trust Railway, meet the main line at Kurla, and then branch off to Mankhurd, and beyond, right into the twin city of New Bombay. (Navi Mumbai). One of the harbor line services crosses onto the Western Railway and terminates at Andheri, or mid way at Bandra, on the WR.

One branch on the main line sees d.c. from Karjat to Khopoli. There are d.c. e.m.u. services out of Poona (Pune) to Lonavla, with some of the Poona services terminating mid way at Chinchwad, Talegaon and Dehu Road.

On the Western Railway, services start from Churchgate and go on right upto Virar, with some services terminating mid way at Bandra, Andheri, or Borivli (Borivli).

With conversion of the d.c. lines around Bombay into a.c., all this is now moving into history. While conversion the Western lines are due for completion by 2002, the Central lines to Kasara will be converted by 2004, with the Poona lines slated for conversion by 2005. While speculation was growing about the mode of traction to be followed during the transition period, earlier reports of high power diesel multiple units were shot down when bi current d.c./a.c. started appearing in 2001. With their distince blue/cream livery, these bi current would permit direct services from Churchgate to Dahanu. Unfortunately, the line between Virar and Dahanu has not seen the extra wide e.m.u. trainsets before, so a lot of work is now underhand related to increasing clearances etc. to accommodate the extra wide stock.



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1. One of the earliest Hitachi built d.c. just out of Bombay VT station. The Municipal Corporation tower is seen in the background.
2. A Jessops built dc emu unit on a curve at Kamshet, between Poona and Lonavla. Note the rounded profile of the Jessops built units. Note also a very pleasing cream-above-the-waist/brown livery, which was being tried out by the CR in the early 1990s. One car is in old livery style. (Kamshet: March 1992).

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3. In comparison, here is an ICF built unit. Note the more masculine lines, and a more boxy or squarish profile. This unit has just emerged from a fogbank and in passing the Wakdewadi level crossing near Shivajinagar station in Poona in November 1997.
4. A freshly painted ICF built emu in Bombay. The block of flats under construction in the background, when complete, will mean even more crowd for these unfortunate trainsets.(April 1996).

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5. The WR always makes cosmetic changes on its emus, thereby altering their very appearance. Here the normally large destination board panel of this ICF built unit has been reduced to a mere slit. The train is passing under the Charni Road bridge.(Scanned from a magazine issue circa 1984.)
6. Another emu of a slightly different kind is that used on the Calcutta metro. A unit draws attention from two schoolboys750V d.c., 3rd rail current collection: first time in India. (Scanned from the cover of a magazine in India: circa 1987.)

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7.A close view of a metro emu which was then undergoing trials just before the metro was  commissioned. (Scanned from the IR Annual Report circa 1986).
8.An ICF built emu heads for Poona from Lonavla. This pic was shot at Kamshet in 1992.

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9. A 'double fast' Virar bound emu  on the WR in Bombay speeds through Nala Sopara station.(April 1996).
10.Although officially termed as suburban trains, the emus   serve neighboring towns as well, or at least towns less than 150 km away.(or else they will have to be provided with toilets, as per IR regs). Here is an old dc emu heading for Karjat. The open country with the emu is the corner is purposely so depicted so as to give an idea of distance. (April 1996).

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11. A positively battered tram in Calcutta.  Not much is known about these trams (who builds them, how old they are etc.).They run positively packed, and its an edifying sight to see one of them rumbling over the Howrah bridge, packed with humanity. Most are thoroughly battered tin cans. (Pic.spotted while surfing the web.Source not noted)
12. A d.c. e.m.u. # 420 at Kurla station in Bombay. The train is a harbor line service from Mankhurd to Bombay VT.

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13. A d.c. e.m.u. of the Calcutta underground speeds away from a station. The electrified 3rd rail is barely visible. (Pic.spotted while surfing the web.Source not noted)
14. An ICF  built d.c. e.m.u. negotiates a complicated set of points while entering Bombay VT, while another e.m.u. unit speeds away in the background. (Pic.downloaded from the web.Was part of a news article. Source not noted)

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15. The degree of torture and misuse the poor e.m.u. units are subject to is appropriately brought out in this picture of an overcrowded unit on the Western Railway in Bombay. (Pic.spotted while surfing the web.Source not noted)
16. This unit is a tad luckier: she is heading towards Poona from Lonavla, and is running through the lush monsoon greenery.

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17. A couple of d.c. have had their windows sealed off, and will be used for carrying material for departmental works. They will probably be used during the conversion process of the d.c. lines into a.c. Here is one such cargo unit at the Matunga/Parel siding. (Photo courtesy: Sundar Krishnamurthy)
fisherfolk.jpg (131360 bytes) 18-19. Two inseparable scenes from the Bombay suburban scene: noisy and cackling 'Kohli' (fisherfolk community) women with basketfuls of their foul smelling cargo.(left): they beseige the trains by mid morning.  Daredevils try stunts when two trains pass (right), taking advantage of the extra width, amd the consequent  small distance between the trains. Several people get killed in the process when they fall off, or are hit by traction masts and other trackside furniture. (Pics. spotted while surfing the web.Source not noted)

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20. A very far shot of the bi current d.c./a.c. e.m.u. in a shed in Bombay. (Photo courtesy Viraf Mulla)
21. Another view of the bi current e.m.u. A Churchgate/Dahanu direct service was to have started with these units in 2001, unfortunately, the route between Virar and Dahanu had to be modified to take on the extra wide stock, due to which this project was postponed. The stretch between Virar and Dahanu is on a.c. traction. The entire Churgagate -Virar d.c. route is slated for a.c. conversion by the end of 2002. (Photo courtesy Viraf Mulla)

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22. The IR celebrated 150 Years of existence on 16 April 2002. Several dc emus in Bombay bore a large banner across their buffers saying '150 Years of Indian Railways', or the Hindi equivalent as seen here. This is a Jessops built unit about to leave Bombay VT. (Photo by Alok Patel)
23. Although the mg emu services between Madras Beach and Tambaram have been served by ac emus between 1968 till 2002, before mg was ripped up and replaced by bg, dc ruled between 1931 and 1967. The earliest dc emus were these handsome rigid 3-car sets built by Metro Cammell of the UK. The centre cars had a common bogie between them. During their last years, they were converted to 4-car sets by sealing off one of the ends and attaching the driving trailer of one of the more modern dc emus.

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24. Another shot of a thoroughly battered tram in Calcutta. Totally contrary news reports have been coming in about these whining old ladies: one school of thought says that they ought to be taken off, while another school holds that they are soon to be totally modernized and revamped. Time alone will tell. (Pics. spotted while surfing the web.Source not noted)
25. A Jessops built e.m.u. approaches Kamshet station in 2002 on her journey from Lonavla to Poona. (Photo courtesy Chetan)

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You can see more pictures of d.c. e.m.u.s on Prakash Tendulkar's sites:

The desperate congestion around the Bombay suburban lines:

The d.c./a.c. bi current e.m.u.:

For some maps and diagrams of the Bombay suburban lines, check out my Bombay Suburban site, a made for a specific purpose document, not updated in a while now! Site temporarily closed.

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