Mumbai (The Hindu): Finally, the wait for an air conditioned local train is nearly over, with the Railways announcing that the first AC local will begin running in September on the Western Railway. The blue-and-silver train will ply the Churchgate-Borivali route, offering between 10 and 20 services per day.
Railway Board officials said they are working on growing infrastructure and providing more passenger amenities. Ravindra Gupta, member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, said, “The AC local will run from September on the WR. We have ordered nine more such trains from BHEL.”
“We will ensure these trains operate on both WR and Central Railway (CR) and all passengers benefit from thems,” A.K. Mittal, chairman, Railway Board, said. The AC local arrived in Mumbai from the Integrated Coach Factory ICF on April 4, 2016. Initially, trials were conducted on CR, but the train ran into problems on the Main Line due to its height, among other issues.
Last month, the ?55-crore train was sent to WR, where more trials are underway. “There are two road over bridges on the Western Line at Mahalaxmi and Matunga Road stations, which are a cause for concern. Railway Board authorities said this is being addressed,” Mittal said.
Officials, however, didn’t share fare details except to say that they would be on the lines of Delhi Metro fares, or 1.5 more than current first class ticket prices. Mohammad Jamshed, member (Traffic), Railway Board, said, “We are working on suggestions for fares. We are considering Mumbaikars and their budget. We will fix passenger-friendly fares.”
The WR authorities are also considering a queue system during boarding to avoid the usual chaos, and pushers to ensure commuters don’t block the automatic doors during peak hours. The rake can seat 1,028, while 4,936 standees can be accommodated at maximum capacity. All rakes in MUTP III will be closed-door.
Bullet train by 2023
Railway Board officials said they are in the process of beginning work on the Bullet train from Bandra Kurla Complex to Ahmedabad. They said the train will be ready by 2023. This corridor will complement the International Finance Centre planned by MMRDA at BKC, as the Railways wants BKC to become a strategically located business hub in the future.
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