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Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 15, 2012
It’s not just ambitious rail infrastructure projects that have been sanctioned, there are several small-scale projects that are expected to bring immediate relief to Mumbaiites who go through the daily grind of local train commute.

There will be 75 new train services across the western and the central lines, which include the harbour and the trans-harbour lines.

The budget has sanctioned the much-awaited Rs756-crore project to introduce 12-car rakes on the harbour line.

Rakesh Saxena, managing director of the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), said that the Railways would convert 153 nine-car coaches on the harbour line into 12-car rakes in two years’ time. This will increase the passenger capacity on the line by 30%.

Anticipating that the project would get the go-ahead the MRVC has already initiated paper work for the project. “The plans for the engineering work, signals and overhead wire shifts have commenced. We were just waiting for the budget sanction. Now that it has been sanctioned, we will immediately float tenders. Work will start after the monsoon,” said an MRVC official, requesting anonymity.

The long-awaited extension of suburban services from Virar to Dahanu has also taken off. The budget says the local trains will start plying on this route in 2012-13.

The budget has also made provisions to make the Central Railway services faster through conversion of the entire line from Direct Current (DC) to Alternate Current (AC). Currently, the conversion has been completed till Kalyan.

After complete conversion, the trains can go at higher speed – the speed will go up from 80 km an hour to 100-110 km an hour.