Indian Railway has achieved a historic milestone with the conversion of traction system from 1,500 volt direct current. to 25,000 volt alternating current over Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Thane via 5th & 6th line-Kalyam railway line in Mumbai on January 12, 2014 at an estimated cost of Rs.148 crore. The total project cost estimated to Rs.1,300 crore
The major benefits of this conversion includes seamless operation on 25,000 volt electric traction services for 43 pairs of mail/express trains (including non-daily), coming/going from lgatpuri side to LTT and vice versa. This would release 20 WCAM3 (AC/DC Locomotives) thereby leading to saving towards lease charges of Rs.14.5 crore per annum. Due to energy efficiency associated with AC traction system, energy savings of Rs.51 crore per annum would be achieved, besides staff savings of Rs. 3.5 crore per annum.
Another major benefit of this work is that incoming traction power supply has been shifted from Maharashtra State Electricity Board to Tata which is cheaper by Rs. 2.05 per unit, thereby resulting into annual saving to the tune of Rs. 12crore. Therefore, total recurring annual savings would be about Rs.81 crore.
In addition, there would be other benefits which includes elimination of technical halt of 15 minutes at lgatpuri for 43 pairs of Mail/Express trains as Kalyan-Kasara-lgatpuri section has already been converted on 25,000 volt alternating current system, increased traffic flows, improvement in speed and sectional capacity, reduced cost of operation and substantially higher reliability.
The above project was sanctioned in 1996-97 on Central Railway. Mumbai sub-urban section from Mumbai V.T. to Kalyan was electrified in 1925 at 1,500 DC traction system which was the only modern traction system available at that time. Over the years, 1,500-V DC system was not able to handle any further additional power requirement on account of steep fall in reliability and increased propensity to fire hazards. Space availability for additional sub-stations also posed a serious limitation.
IR has already completed the DC/AC conversion work in the Vasai-Diva-Jasai, Panvel-Karjat, lgatpuri-Kasara and Pune-Kalyan sections of Mumbai.