The Mumbai rail journey has been synonymous with profusely sweating passengers struggling to find a footing, stepping on others’ feet, travelling on footboards, rooftops and connecting bumpers, besides latching on to the windows. This means great discomfort and huge risk.
Now, Lucknow’s Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) — the sole R&D wing of the Indian Railways — is all set to help better the scene.
The Research Design and Standards Organisation on Thursday inked a multi-crore MoU with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to considerably improve the quality of journey on board trains there.
This comes as a major boost to the Research Design and Standards Organisation itself especially with major research work being shifted to West Bengal and its relevance being questioned in the wake of failure of safety projects leading to back-to-back accidents.
“For the common passenger, we’re going to up the trains speed up to 110 kmph, increase the number of coaches per train from the existing 12 to 18 for load-shedding, introduce a better ventilation system and ensure a smooth ride by controlling jerks,” said AK Mathur, RDSO’s Executive Director (Admn & PR).
The project file
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project was formulated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority for improvement in traffic and transport situation in Mumbai metropolitan region.
Under this project, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a joint venture of Indian Railways and Maharashtra, was set up for implementation of railway projects in the Mumbai metropolitan region.
The MoU — meant for development and augmentation of sub-urban rail infrastructure in Mumbai’s metropolitan region — was signed RDSO DG KBL Mittal and MRVC MD PC Sehgal.
The RDSO will also help evolve a system for electrical sub-urban trains in Mumbai. This will mean saving of 35 per cent energy. The Mumbai local trains carry more than 6.1 million commuters on a daily basis. It has the highest passenger density of any urban railway system in the world. However, the passenger density is not synonymous with the infrastructure.
The Mumbai Urban Transport Project is to cost Rs 45.26 billion (approximately 1 billion US dollars). Most of the money is to be spent on railway projects.
This project is a sequel to the Bombay Urban Transport Project (BUTP) which was completed in the year 1984 at a cost of about Rs. 390 million
The World Bank has sanctioned a loan of Rs. 26020 millions ($ 542 million) i.e. 57% of the total cost.
Mumbai’s Suburban Rail System carries about 64 lakhs (6.4 million) passengers per day.
About 4,700 passengers travel in a 9-car rake during peak hours.