Mumbai: AC-coach trials to begin in September

Only three coaches in each rake will be air-conditioned; service will be introduced in Central Railway first

While you can’t do anything about the summer’s rising temperatures, the thought of travelling in an air-conditioned local train in the near future might bring some solace. The Indian Railways have planned to initiate trials of AC local trains within six months.

This cool news comes with a condition only three coaches in every rake will be air-conditioned. “The first trials will start in September before the October heat hits Mumbai,” said Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu. While the initial plan was to start the service on Western Railway (WR), the trials will begin on Central Railway (CR) first.

Commuters, thus, will have the option to travel in AC, second-class general, first-class, ladies and goods compartments. Until now, there were talks of having a complete single vestibular AC train that would run at fixed times of the day.

According to senior officials, the fares of travelling in AC coaches will be at least 50 per cent more than a first-class ticket. The Railway Board and the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, which is manufacturing these coaches are confident enough of getting the first set of coaches ready by the deadline.

The first round of trials are likely to be carried in WR, after which full-fledged manufacturing will begin. However, the AC-coach service will begin on CR first, a good news for the 42 lakh commuters who have been crying hoarse about the poor condition of trains.

“We have asked the Railway Board to give the first lot of AC trains to CR as the newly introduced Bombardier rakes will be going to WR,” said a CR official. Currently, all the new trains will go to WR as CR doesn’t want different models of trains running on its network.

Track record
>> WR runs 84 rakes every day on its network between Churchgate-Dahanu
>> CR operates 117 rakes on its network between CST-Karjat/Kasara/Panvel every day

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