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e.m.u. enigma


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(Page color represents the blue/cream livery of early mg a.c. in Madras)

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16 Apr.1853 - 16 Apr.2002


They carry a city to work.

Each passing day, several million commuters pack themselves like sardines into these humble train sets on their way to or from work, or for socializing.Stop the emus for half and hour and the entire megapolis grinds to a screeching halt, especially in Bombay.

The dc emus (electrical multiple units) in the Bombay area alone carry over five  million passengers daily. While each rake (train set) is officially reckoned to carry 1,700 passengers, including standees, they carry during peak hours a load in excess of 7,000 passengers, so densely packed that even pickpocketing is impossible!

The degree of overcrowding is referred to by the authorities as dense, super dense or hyper dense crush loads.

The train sets are usually of a nine car formation. The basic rake, as it rolls out of the works, comprises of four cars including a motor (power) coach. Two such units plus an additional motor coach are coupled to make up one 9 car unit. The position of the motor coaches are so adjusted as to have them in the 2nd, 5th and 8th positions.Twelve car formations were introduced around 1988, and sixteen car formations are under consideration. (!999).

D.c. emu sets run in the Bombay area alone. The trainsets of the Calcutta metro as well as the trams of Calcutta are also dc sets. However, with the conversion to a.c now well under way in the Bombay area, the days of the d.c. are now numbered.

A new breed of ac/dc has now been outshopped.

With the ongoing conversion of the dc electrified areas into ac in the Bombay area, the dc workhorses may not be with us for too long. A.c. emu sets run in Madras, on the bg as well as on the mg (though the mg units may not last too long with large scale re-gauging), in New Delhi, and in Calcutta.

For all the yeoman service they render, the emu trainsets unfortunately lead a thankless existance. They are usually seen hard at work in the big bad megapolises and metros, amidst all the filth, squalor, dirt, disease, and even death. Desperate overcrowding, plus a permanent hurry to catch this train as the next one will be packed, coupled with largescale tresspassing on the tracks with impunity mean that these emu trainsets account for at least five deaths a day in Bombay, and three in Calcutta. Commuters misuse the stock and turn their wrath on them every now and then.

The emu trainsets deserve a better deal. Let us give them their due.

Click on the hyperlinks alongside for a virtual tour of the emus of the country.

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History =>

d.c.emus =>

a.c.emus =>

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Last Updated: 07/06/2002  Page spun by S. Shankar in Aug.1999 with Microsoft FrontPage 98. Part editing with CuteHTML.

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