Nearly a month after Dombivli resident Bhavesh Nakate fell to his death from a packed CST-bound local, the Central Railway (CR) will on December 22 begin introducing the 2+2 seating format in regular coaches to create more room inside.
Initially, the authorities plan to introduce just one train with a single coach in which seats will be reduced from the current 3+3 format to the 2+2 plan. This is to test commuter reaction before making a decision to apply the same idea across the network.
mid-day was the first to report this idea with it’s front-page report on December 9, ‘Trial on for 2+2 seating to fight overcrowding’. Officials started the trial phase by introducing three old coaches which already had 2+2 seating.
mid-day spotted this old coach with two seats on either side running on a Central Railway train on December 2
The second phase of this trial is to extend the same plan to regular 3+3 coaches as well. “The first such coach inside a local train will run from December 22, on which work has already begun,” said Amitabh Ojha, Divisional Railway Manager at CR.
CR will reduce the number of seats near the doorways. Each bogie has four doorways — two on the left, and two on the right. Currently, when commuters enter a coach, they can find three-seater benches on either side. The CR will remove one seat each from these benches, in effect cutting out eight seats from the entire coach.
However, this change will only be seen in a one coach in a single train. This will allow commuters to experience the 3+3 and 2+2 formats and compare the two. Officials will then conduct a survey to determine which format is preferred.
More standing room
Each seat that is removed will create room for at least three commuters to stand. More importantly, this extra room will be created near the doorways, which should reduce the chances of a commuter falling out. Apart form the seats themselves, the metal frame supporting them will also be cut.
During peak hours, 16
people stand in each square metre inside local trains. Officials said each coach currently carries about 350 people during peak hours, which keeps the axle load around 16 to 20 tonne. Meanwhile, sources added that as of now, there are no immediate plans of having the longitudinal seating arrangement similar to the Metro.
In a freak incident in the late hours of Wednesday, a motorman got injured after a metal part from a bridge fell on his cabin and shattered the windshield and hit his chest. Motorman S Korturwar was driving a CST-Titwala local at 80kmph, when around midnight, the metal part fell from the Kopri bridge between Mulund and Thane. The motorman drove the train and its passengers safely till Thane, after which he was taken to hospital.