Commuters of Mumbai finally have respite now, thanks to the railway authorities who approved the proposal to introduce and flag off fully air-conditioned coaches in the city's local trains. It has been 150 years since the first steam-engine-powered suburban train was flagged off in Mumbai in the year 1867. Marking the 150th anniversary, Western Railway has witnessed the train with air-conditioned coaches leave Andheri railway station at 2:10 pm and reach Churchgate station at 2:44 pm.
Chief Spokesperson for Western Railway, Ravinder Bhaker, told the press that after this maiden run, six return services will be operated on the suburban sector on all weekdays, with Saturday-Sunday kept free for maintenance purposes. Of these 12 daily services, eight will be operated on congested Churchgate-Virar (Palghar) sector, three between Churchgate-Borivali, both with halts at major stations, while one will ply as a slow service halting at all stations between Mahalaxmi-Borivali.
According to an NDTV report, these coaches are manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai. The fully air-conditioned air-suspension coaches have a capacity of carrying nearly 6,000 commuters per rake, automatic door opening-closing system, LED lights, Emergency Talk Back System between commuters and guard besides a public address system, advanced GPS-based passenger information systems, speeds of up to 100 km per hour, air-tight vestibules inter-connecting all 12 coaches, other modern amenities and latest safety features for commuters.
The Western Railway has also announced an introductory fare to lure commuters to the new, 'cool' style of commuting, with the fare to be 1.2 times the cost of a first class one-way regular ticket, and later the fare will be 1.3 times. There will be weekly, fortnightly and monthly season tickets available at 5.0 times, 7.5 times and 10 times the fare of regular first class ticket rates, for the time-being, besides a five percent GST and other applicable charges.
With inputs from IANS