Mumbai gets nation’s first AC local train

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Dec 2017 08:44:44



THE Indian Railways on Monday flagged off the country's first air-conditioned suburban local train for Mumbai commuters here, almost 150 years after the first suburban local was hauled by a steam engine in 1867.
The Christmas and pre-New Year bonanza saw the first AC local's maiden run for the media, officials, some political party activists and commuters between Borivali and Churchgate on the Western Railway on Monday morning.

Though a public holiday, there were several hundreds of curious and wide-eyed commuters who crowded the Borivali station and other stations en route to gaze at the new wonder, which will start full- fledged operations from January 1 with 12 daily services, officials said.

According to WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar, six return services (total 12) shall be operated on the suburban sector at regular intervals on all weekdays, with Saturday-Sunday kept free for maintenance purposes.

As per current plans, of the 12 daily services, eight will be operated as ‘fast trains’ on the congested Churchgate-Virar (Palghar) sector, three between Churchgate-Borivali, both with halts only at major stations, while one will ply as a slow service halting at all stations between Mahalaxmi and Borivali.

Till Friday (December 29), the WR will operate six (three in each direction) services daily on experimental basis and introduce full 12 services from January one, New Year Day.
The WR 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.

On day-1, ticket-less traveller nabbed:A PASSENGER was on Monday caught for travelling without ticket in an air-conditioned (AC) suburban train, whose services started here, a senior railway official said.

A fine of Rs 435 was recovered from the passenger and the amount includes Rs 165 as fare, Rs 250 as penalty, Rs 10 as CGST and Rs 10 as SGST, he said. The passenger was nabbed while he was travelling in a Churchgate-bound train, the official added.

The WR claimed that it received “decent” response from the commuters. The WR said in total five trips of the day, total 446 tickets were booked and 579 passengers travelled. “We earned Rs 62,746 through the fares from these five trips,” it added. Meanwhile, railway activist Rajiv Singal, who has been a member of Rly Users Consultative Committees in both CR and WR, claimed that the train would be “a failure due to institutional flaws.”