Two years after introducing the city’s first AC local, the Western Railway (WR) is planning to add another AC local train to increase its operations from six trips a day at present to 10. Officials said the WR is mulling withdrawing a lesser patronised Churchgate-Bandra local and replace it with an AC local, which will give it four additional services.
The WR is also planning to introduce more AC services during morning and evening peak hours, especially on Andheri-Churchgate section, which has several business hubs nearby. At present, the WR operates six trips of AC local — one each during morning and evening peak hours and the remaining in the afternoon.
On Saturday night, the WR got one more AC rake, which takes the tally to four, said an official.
Trying to find a balance between providing more AC locals and causing least inconvenience to non-AC commuters, WR officials have carried out a survey to ensure which train would least affect commuters. It was found that the Churchgate-Bandra service had merely 500 commuters using it.
A senior official from WR said, “We found that the patronage to this service was merely 10 per cent of other trains, which have super dense crush load of 6,000 passengers each.”
Withdrawing this service will open up additional path, using which officials have planned to run additional four trips — with four services both in the up (towards Churchgate) and down (towards Virar) directions.
The link prepared for the section had only one service — leaving Virar at 8.30 am and reaching Chruchgate at around 11 am — planned in the peak hours. While the remaining three up services were from Andheri to Churchgate in the off-peak hours between 12 pm and 4 pm.
Similarly, the down direction trains, of which three would be up to Borivali, were before the peak evening hours set in and the one train going up to Virar was after the peak hour ended, said an official.
The WR is now planning to increase its AC services to cater to both morning and evening peak hour commuters. During the survey, it was also observed that there was more patronage to AC train plying closer to business centres like Andheri, Bandra, Charni Road, Grant Road and Churchgate.
“We are considering running AC trains in specific sections such as between Churchgate and Andheri from where they get more passengers. These services have to be introduced during the peak hours as running them in off-peak makes no sense,” said the official.
The WR is also planning to convert the immediate non-AC local following the AC local into a fully second class train, which will have no first class compartment. The move is to ensure that commuters of first class switch to AC local while those travelling in second class compartments have adequate space in the following train, said an official.
Ravinder Bhakar, chief PRO of WR, said, “We are planning additional AC services for commuters but with least inconvenience to non-AC commuters. The time table is being revised…”