The new deadline for the city’s first air-conditioned local train, to run on the Western Railway (WR), has now been set for June 30, 2014. The train was announced in the railway budget for the current financial year.
According to WR officials, the delay was caused by the time taken to select a new design for the rake and because technical gaps related to the electrical systems that will power the train had to be plugged. The train’s power system will be provided by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s Bhopal plant.
Speaking to dna, Pankaj Kumar, chief mechanical engineer, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, said, “This train will have a completely new design in the history of Indian Railways. It will be a 12-coach rake, broad gauge, as wide as the locals running in Mumbai and will be completely vestibuled. The furnishings will be state-of-the-art and different from those in the trains running in the city at present.”
Kumar told dna that the design for the new train has almost been finalised and the production of the rake could start in March putting it into service by June 30. The various tenders would be beginning as early as next month, said ICF officials.
In Mumbai, officials said that the fare of the train is still a matter of debate because pricing it too high or too low could be a problem. “The train should not be so crowded that we have trouble closing the doors. That would delay the trains following it,” said a WR official.
A group of officials believe that in the face of the saturation in the suburban system, an air-conditioned train isn’t a solution. “It is best that we run longer, 15-coach regular trains on the suburban system and run air-conditioned ones on the elevated corridors being planned between Churchgate and Virar and CST and Panvel,” said an official.