Travelling on Mumbai’s lifeline may not have changed dramatically in 2016, but the railways did make some useful changes that made commuting a little more pleasant for the 75 lakh Mumbaiites who use the services every day.
In the beginning of the year, the Central Railways got 40 new services —11 on the main line, 22 between Thane and Vashi and seven on the harbour line. The harbour line’s nine-car trains were converted to 12-car ones, adding 33% more passenger capacity.
The railways also began work on the Parel terminus; and finally started trials of AC trains on CR, a plan that was until this year only on paper.
Sources said a lot has been planned for 2017.
In possibly the biggest upgrade the suburban services have seen in decades, AC trains on the WR may start running by mid-2017, once safety trials are done.
An extension to the Andheri-Goregoan harbour line, which will provide relief to about two lakh suburban commuters, is likely to be inaugurated by the end of March; work to expand the suburban network in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) — with projects such as the doubling of the Panvel-Karjat line, an elevated link between Thane and Kalwa and the quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu rail line — are also likely to take off by the end of 2017.
Sources also said six new Bombardier rakes are expected to arrive in the city by the end of January — 66 trains for the WR arrived in the city in 2016.