Central Railway seeks Funds for 285 AC Coaches on Suburban Routes
Mumbai: Central Railway (CR) may ask the railway board to sanction funds for procurement of 285 air-conditioned coaches for the suburban system. Mumbai is expected to get 285 non-AC coaches as part of the 12-car Harbour line project and Seawood-Belapur-Uran line. Of these, 153 are for the Harbour line.
CR General Manger S K Sood said, “We are thinking of asking the board to allow purchase of AC coaches.” A senior CR official said, “We have to look at the long-term, as AC coaches with a closed-door system will prevent people from travelling on the foot-board. It will definitely end deaths due to falling from running trains.”
The official said even if the board agrees to the CR’s request, it will take years to get the AC coaches running. He said, “We will have to invite global tenders for the coaches. Once the bidder is selected, it will have to prepare a design that will have to be approved by the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO).”
Thereafter, the product schedule will begin for prototypes. Once the prototypes are cleared by the commissioner of railway safety (CRS), production of the balance coaches can begin.
A senior MRVC official said, “A decision has to be taken quickly. The new rakes, whether AC or non-AC, will take 3-4 years to arrive.”
So far, the railway board has sanctioned one 12-car AC rake, which is likely to arrive on Western Railway’s Mumbai suburban system by March 31.
The railway board has already ordered one AC rake, which is being manufactured at the Integrated Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai. The rake has faced numerous delays and officials have cited “use of new technology” for missing multiple deadlines.
The 12-car rake will be introduced on WR’s suburban system. WR does not want to run the service up to Virar as it feels there will be inadequate patronage north of Borivli. Therefore, it will run it between Churchgate and Virar. Initially, it plans to run 12 services a day. The rake will have a vestibule-type design and have a seating arrangement similar to those in existing rakes.