Commuting in an air-conditioned local train is not likely to turn into a reality, at least for the next six months, as railway officials expect the train to arrive only in December this year. The rake was earlier expected to arrive in the city by August.
Hemant Kumar, General Manager, Western Railway said, “The electrical equipment required for the air-conditioned rake are being tested. Once the tests are complete, the electrical equipment will be sent to the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai and the coach manufacturing process will begin thereafter. It will then take at least two months for the rake to be ready.”
Once the rake comes to Mumbai, it will have to undergo trials at the car shed as well as on the suburban section, which will be a time consuming process.
Railway officials estimate that the rake will be commissioned for commuters in the first half of 2015. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is supplying the electrical equipment for 70 twelve-car rakes being procured under the World Bank funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project 2A. While commuters will have to wait for the air-conditioned rake, the new Bombardier rakes, two of which are undergoing trials, are expected to be commissioned by August 15 this year.
Kumar said, “The tests are over. The Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has to send a report to us, following which the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) will inspect the rake to sanction it. The ICF will then be asked to start manufacturing.”
According to Kumar, after the two new rakes are commissioned, the remaining of the 70 twelve-car rakes will start coming in from December 2014.
Meanwhile, WR is going to help commuters estimate the waiting time in queue by drawing lines on the floor, at different intervals, near ticket counters. “Once a commuter reaches a particular line, she will know that she will reach the ticket counter in ten more minutes,” said a railway officer. The markings will be made at stations with regular and long queues. A similar marking will also be made at ticket counters selling only Rs 5 and Rs 10 tickets.
Titled the ‘Jaldi 5’ and ‘Jaldi 10’ counters, the scheme to sell same denomination tickets has been a hit on WR, with six tickets sold every minute against three at ordinary counters. WR has earmarked special ticket windows at Borivali, Andheri, Dadar, Bandra and Vasai Road for selling only Rs 5 or Rs 10 tickets. More than 78 per cent of tickets sold fall under the Rs 5 or Rs 10 category.