Four months after an AC rake arrived and lay idle on the Western Railway (WR) yard, a meeting has been called on January 15 by the Railway Board to decide the coach composition of the country’s first semi-AC local. This move comes after WR officials did not agree to the design finalised by Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), which asked railways to have six-AC and six non-AC coaches.
The approved RDSO coach composition of 6-6 coaches would lead to severe overcrowding, a senior officer from WR said. “Considering the present ridership, the six-AC coaches which have less than half passengers of the non-AC coaches. This would lead to overcrowding on one end of the platform as well as on the bridges for passengers to enter and exit the station,” he said.
Officials had then asked the board to allow a composition of nine non-AC and three AC coaches in a 12-coach local, or nine non-AC and six AC-coaches in a 15-coach local. However, a 15-coach train would not be able to halt at stations such as Charni Road and Grant Road, due to which a 9-3 composition was considered ideal for the suburban network.
But according to WR officials, Medha Pvt Ltd, which is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the semi-AC train, did not approve of a 9-3 compositing, citing technical issues. The matter was then brought before General Manager Sanjeev Mittal and, after his approval, a letter raising the issue was sent to the Railway Board.
Chief PRO of WR, Ravinder Bhakar said, “The meeting is to be held in mid-January, which will have officials from Medha Pvt Ltd, RDSO, WR and those on the board decide the coach composition. We had suggested a coach composition of 9-3 as the ideal solution.”
A semi-AC local is being touted as the ideal solution for inducting AC trains in the saturated suburban network. Despite having additional rakes, the WR is unable to increase AC services, as each AC train will be inducted at a cost of a non-AC service. But with poor patronage to these AC trains, the proposal for increasing more AC trains is yet to see the light of day.
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