The railways are planning to start 76 new services from stations such Dadar, Bandra and Kurla, a move that could make trains less crowded.
The new suburban services will begin after the monsoon. The Central Railway is likely to start 40 new services, while the Western Railway will have 36 new ones. The Mumbai divisions of both CR and WR presented their plan to Mohammad Jamshed from the railway board — the Indian Railways’ policy-making body.
The plan is to start these services from Dadar or stations after it — instead of Churchgate or CST — to cater to newer business hubs. “Population is going up and new work spots and offices are coming in the northern parts of the city. Both zones are focussing on that and working out plans to improve services in those areas,” Jamshed said.
The CR is planning to introduce 12 services on the main line, 14 each on the Harbour and trans-harbour corridors, railway sources said. The services would be introduced in the new suburban timetable that will be introduced from October.
Sources said of the 36 new WR services, some would be on the 15-coach trains that can carry 25% more passengers than the 12-coach trains.
On Monday, railway minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted about the new services.
Currently, both CR and WR operate more than 2,900 suburban services that more than 75 lakh commuters use every day. But commuters still struggle to find space on these trains and face frequent disruption of services.
According to official sources, Jamshed also directed both the CR and WR to improve train frequency and punctuality.
Railway officials said Jamshed directed Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to expedite the Mumbai Urban Transport Project and advance its deadlines, especially for Thane-Diva 5th and 6th line that will segregate suburban and outstation train traffic between Kurla-Kalyan.
Clearing that first air conditioned local that is undergoing trials at present would first ply on Western railway, railway also said that they would start more and more AC services. Jamshed also hinted that new AC trains would be procured under third phase of MUTP.