Mumbai’s commute to get cooler: First of 67 AC trains likely by 2020
A day after the BEST undertaking shut its AC bus operation in the city, chief minister Devendra Fadanvis and railway minister Suresh Prabhu took the decision to buy the AC trains for Rs10,500 croremumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2017 10:41 IST
In a major decision, the state government and ministry of railways decided to buy 47 air-conditioned (AC) locals under the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-III), on Tuesday. Under this project, the city will get 20 more AC trains.
The state government also gave in-principal approval for sharing the cost of Rs4,300-crore Communication Based Train Control, commonly known as the Cab Signaling project, on the Harbour line.
The number of services on the Harbour line will also go up by 50%. Significantly, the Asia Development Bank has agreed to fund the Rs14,400-crore CST-Panvel elevated corridor.
Just a day after the BEST undertaking shut its AC bus operation in the city, chief minister Devendra Fadanvis and railway minister Suresh Prabhu took the decision to buy the AC trains for Rs10,500 crore under the MUTP III , in a joint meeting held to review major railway projects.
Under the MUTP III project, which received the union cabinet nod in November last year and a budgetary allocation of Rs636 crore, Railways had planned to procure 47 locals trains. But in a bid to reduce deaths because of overcrowded trains, the solution of introducing closed doors or AC locals was discussed.
Prabhat Sahay, chairman managing director of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), said the AC locals under MUTP III would be upgraded from the existing AC locals. The trains will be fully vestibule trains with automatic doors and other modern facilities. “Now we will work out cost estimates, but each train is expected to cost around Rs80 crore,” he said.
Although Mumbai already received an AC train last April, it is still going through trials.
Sahay said that after receiving final approval for the cab signalling project, they would forward the proposal to the Railway Board that governs all regional railways. Cab signaling is expected to increase train frequency on harbour line by 50%. “Once sanctioned, it will take three years to overlay the new signalling system on the existing and next two years for getting it fully functional,” said Sahay, adding that they will add 20 new AC trains on the line under the project.
DK Sharma, general manager of Central railway, who is also holding additional charge of WR, said the railway minister has set a March 2018 deadline to commission the first phase of Belapur-Seawood-Uran line till Kharkopar. Similarly, the deadline for Parel terminus is March 2019 and for Kurla-Parel terminus 5th and 6th line is March 2021. Harbour line will get extended till Goregaon before December 2017.
He said the state has not yet signed a “state support agreement” for the Bandra-Virar elevated corridor project. Hence, railway has asked the state government to reword the agreement, which they would forward to railway ministry for approval.
Before the meeting, Prabhu said this was the first time Asia Development Bank, one of major funding agencies, has agreed to fund railway projects. “The Asian Development Bank will fund CST-Panvel elevated corridor,” said Prabhu.
Railway officials said the issue of funding the ambitious elevated corridor project has been sorted out as ADB agreed to fund 50% of the Rs1,44,00 crore project.