There are 14 AC local trains in Mumbai. File pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The Central Railway's AC local trains seem to be back in demand. Dr Shrikant Shinde, member of Parliament from Kalyan and son of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, on Monday met Central Railway officials, demanding the revival of AC local services from Badlapur and more trains from Ambernath.
"The demands include AC local train services at stations like Badlapur, Ambernath and Dombivli between 8.00 am and 8.30 am," Dr Shinde said in a petition to the Central Railway, Mumbai.
In fact, it was AC local train services to Badlapur that had led to earlier protests on the CR in August 2022 with a demand for complete withdrawal of the trains by NCP leader Sharad Pawar. AC local trains became a political tool with Pawar calling for restoration of regular train services for working-class commuters.
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After the new AC services, including those from Badlapur were introduced in August 2022, there were protests from commuters who illegally boarded local trains from Kalwa car shed and also commuters from Badlapur against the services, led by NCP leader Jitendra Awhad. Following the protests and political pressure, the CR had
withdrawn the 10 new AC services within five days of their introduction, citing law and order issues.
"The issue of air-conditioned local trains has been taken up by our leader Jitendra Ahwad. It seems the AC local train has affected office goers, the middle class and working people. AC trains should be withdrawn permanently and replaced with normal trains for the benefit of the common man," Pawar had said in a public statement.
At present, there are 14 AC local trains in Mumbai - 12 with electrics from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), one detachable train with Medha Servodrives electricals and another walkthrough one also with Medha Servodrives underslung equipment.
As per official figures, while Western Railway, Mumbai runs 79 AC services with about six trains, Central Railway Mumbai runs five trains with 56 services, with the rest under maintenance and spares.
CR officials said they would examine the feasibility of introducing new AC trains and would be able to comment or take a decision after that, as any change in public services is for the benefit of the maximum commuters and inconvenience to anyone would be unfair.
Suburban train services on Central Railway's harbour line were severely disrupted due to a fire near the tracks between Juinagar and Nerul stations in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. The incident led to cancellation of nearly eight to 10 services and significant delays as well as overcrowding.
The disruption occurred due to fire in the grass and the location box near Juinagar. "From 7.30 am to 7.50 am for 20 minutes the section was kept closed as a precautionary measure as the grass/bushes caught fire near Nerul station sidings," a CR spokesperson said.
No. of services operated by CR Mumbai