IN A step towards augmenting the suburban railway system, members of the Railway Board on Tuesday said that the speed of local trains is likely to see an increase of 20 per cent. The move is aimed at enabling both the Central Railway (CR) and the Western Railway (WR) to run additional train services on their suburban routes.
Currently, the trains run at an average speed of 80-100 kmph, depending on the route. “We are looking at improving train speed in three stages. In the first stage, the local train speed will be increased to 110 kmph and above,” said Rajesh Agarwal, member, rolling stock of the Railway Board.
In the second stage, the Railways plans to introduce MEMU services between Mumbai-Nashik, Mumbai-Pune and Bhusawal-Nashik, covering the journey between the two destinations in two hours. At the national level, the Railways will run the first train to be partially operated by a private operator. The third stage refers to upgrading track and infrastructure work.
Agarwal said that with faster trains, the number of daily services too will increase by 20 per cent, thus carrying more commuters. While members of the Railway Board expect the number of train services on CR and WR to increase by 20 per cent with the increase in train speed, railway officials were more conservative. They said the move may bring about a 5 to 7 per cent increase in the number of local train services.
The CR operates 1,774 local train services while the WR runs 1,367 services every day.