All may not be merry with the first air-conditioned local that is rolling onto the city’s suburban tracks on Christmas Day. The Western Railway officials have easily counted as many as 50 “small” hiccups with the rake that might lead to what is being dismissed as teething troubles. But compounded, some of these snags could become a prolonged rumbling strip for the AC service, DNA has learnt.Broadly, the problems relate to air conditioning, emergency halts, door closure, and machinery.These can affect the overall performance of the train and throw its schedule off-kilter.Senior railway officials said that two months ago, when the AC rake was being trialled, 80-odd problematic issues were recorded. But after Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the AC train would make its first full run on January 1, a series of meetings between different railway agencies and the manufacturer led to as many as 30 issues being resolved. But others remain.”These are small glitches that can cause a bigger problem at the time of running. The biggest fear is the coordinated opening and closing of the rake’s doors, and on the same side,” said a railway official on condition of anonymity.Even after a couple of months of fine-tuning, it isn’t certain how the doors would open.If the doors don’t close simultaneously or one faces an obstruction while closing, then the train won’t start. This could happen even if there’s a tiny pebble in the door ridge. In such cases, the motorman or the train guard would have to manually open and close the door.The Railway Board has issued a rider that if the portals malfunction, the AC services will be suspended.The next is the pulling of alarm-chains. Rail officials feel that the guard would have to alight and walk up to the coach from which the chain has been pulled, manually open the door, and press a button, which is inside the coach, to restart the train, which will be time-consuming. In the existing system, in case an alarm chain is pulled, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) or the stationmaster inspects the issue from outside.On an average, around 2-3 cases of alarm-chain pulling are reported every day from the tracks, which affects punctuality, as it takes 7-10 minutes to restart the train after the emergency brakes are hit.”What would happen if this occurs during peak hours? How will we manage?” asked a rail official.Also, initially, the AC would stop working at the time the door opens or closes, as electric supply could only support one of them. It continues to be a suspense if the supply knot has been ironed out.Finally, this prototype rake is retrofitted. The engines, coaches, motors, ACs, and the information display system have all been assembled. As such, there are bumps on the system. For instance, the software has to be fed with fresh information about station halts every time the train starts a journey. A mistake could delay the service and have a cascading effect on other services.BROAD ISSUESIf someone pulls the chain, the door will have to be opened from the outside of the coach Cooling may not be uniform in all coaches, could be too high/low Door closing might not be fully coordinated Station names have to be fed afresh into info display for each journey

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Spoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local