With some 3.5 million commuters using the Western Railway (WR) daily,it is not only one of the busiest and crowded railway networks in the country but also in the world. Despite introducing new services the railways has various problems to deal with. The newly appointed general manager of Western Railways,Ravindra Nath,discusses these problems with Newsline.
When will the 15-car-rakes service start?
We have received the report regarding introduction of 15-car-rakes and we are planning to run it as a pilot project. To start with,we would be giving halts at selected stations like Dadar,Borivali,Virar,considering the length of the platforms at these stations. We also need to upgrade the infrastructure including extension of platforms and building more foot-over-bridges (FOBs) since this train will have 25 percent more commuters. We hope to start the train soon but it would be difficult to give a specific time frame.
Early this month the commuters at Borivali protested against various issues concerning WR?
We have taken up this issue seriously. We have held talks with the MMRDA,BMC and BEST so the issue can be sorted out jointly. From February 28,we will have converted 36 services from 9-car to 12-car of which 32 are Churchgate-Borivali-Churchgate while the rest are Bandra-Churchgate-Bandra services.
What is the status of the Mobile Ticketing Project and the GO Mumbai Card Project announced by the Rail Minister in last years rail budget?
The ticketing has certainly improved in the city. Apart from 312 unreserved ticketing systems,we have 118 ATVMs,236 Coupon Vending Machines (CVMs). For the mobile ticketing project,there are some revenue related issues like getting the ticket fare from the telecom service providers. These issues are being sorted out. In case of GO Mumbai card,there are some rental issues,but we are working on both these projects and are hopeful that they will start soon.
Railways has always been a soft target for terrorists. Any specific plans to upgrade the rail security?
We have floated tenders for upgrading the security with the help of Rs 97 crore Built-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) system. With this,we plan to have 2000 cameras at the stations,20 X-Ray baggage scanners,five explosive vapour detectors and 13 bomb disposal equipment.
Despite the quadrupling of the Borivali-Virar route,the WR has not been able to use it properly? Also,what is the status of the Dadar and Mumbai Central terminus ?
The trains on the Borivali-Virar route run on Alternate Current (AC) while most of the locals run on Direct current (DC). Dadar terminus should start soon while the Grant Road terminus is still in its planning stages.