Commuters may soon be able to ride air-conditioned local trains on the Central Railway (CR) route, with the railway expected to get its first fully air-conditioned rake by October 15. The AC local trains are likely to ply between Thane-Vashi and Thane-Panvel, as the trans-harbour line has no restriction on height, officials said.
In Budget 2012, the Railway ministry had announced AC local trains for Bombay division suburban rail network. While the Western Railway (WR) had received four AC rakes, it is yet to make a debut on CR. A senior officer from CR confirmed that the first AC rake for CR will reach Mumbai by mid-October. “Once the rake reaches Bombay division, two types of trials will be conducted — static and moving — which will take another 15 to 20 days. By mid-November commercial operation of AC local on CR will start,” the officer said.
Highlighting that there are bridges of low height on CR mainline, the officer said, “AC services won’t be able to ply on the mainline because of this. However, the trans-harbour line stretch between Thane-Vashi and Thane-Panvel don’t have any height restriction, so initially the AC local trains will ply on the this line.”
The AC trains, once introduced, will replace 14 non-AC train services on the trans-harbor line, the officer added. While the fare structure has not been decided yet, it is likely to be based on WR fares.
Meanwhile, officials said that of the four AC rakes in WR, two are in service, while one has been taken off after it completed its service period. In December 2017, the first AC rake was introduced in the suburban network, which plies between Virar and Churchgate. Recently, a second AC rake was introduced on WR and AC local trains started plying on weekends as well.
WR, meanwhile, will get its first semi-AC rake on Friday. After trial runs, WR will decide if it will ply a 15-coach or 12-coach semi-AC local train on the route.