INDIA: A prototype for the next generation of Mainline Electric Multiple-Unit for Indian Railways is expected to be rolled out for test running on December 15, according to Integral Coach Factory General Manager Sudhanshu Mani.

Developed at the ICF plant in Chennai, the MEMU family is designed to cater for short distance regional and inter-city traffic on routes electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz.

Earlier 110 km/h MEMUs are powered by DC traction motors and have large equipment rooms behind the cabs of the driving vehicles. The new design uses underfloor traction equipment, which Mani says has been derived from that used on the 200 km/h Train 18 inter-city EMU prototype now on test with Northern Railway.

This has freed up additional space for seating in the driving vehicles, lifting the rated capacity of a six-car trainset by 9% from 2 402 to 2 618 passengers. The multiple-unit is gangwayed internally between vehicles, and future builds are expected to be fitted with power-operated doors.

Work on the 130 km/h prototype began earlier this year, at an estimated cost of Rs260m. According to Mani, ICF has recommended to IR that the MEMU prototype should be tested on Southern Railway services close to Chennai. This would enable the manufacturer to monitor its performance and take the unit taken back to the works for attention if necessary.