The nine-car trains, which came into operation 50 years ago on March 2, 1961, may soon be completely phased out on the Western Railway (WR).
Over the years, there have been quite a number of changes. Initially, Mumbai’s suburban train system began with three-car trains.
“Three-car trains first ran on the WR between Colaba and Borivli in 1928,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR.
Increase in number of passengers forced the rail authorities to increase the capacity. The railways introduced six-car trains in the 30s. These trains continued for long till eight-car trains replaced them. The nine-car trains replaced the eight-car trains, which were briefly operational till the 60s.
In 1986, after several trials, a 12-car train was introduced on the Western line. This, however, picked up steam only in 1991, when more 12-car trains began running on this line. Today, there are only 304 services of 14 such nine-car trains on the WR while 62 of the 76 trains run between Churchgate and Virar are 12-car trains. “We would be converting all trains to 12-car before this year-end,” said Chandrayan. The total number of services run by WR is 1,210. Sources said that some of these remaining nine-car trains would be diverted to the Central Railway as and when they get new trains under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project and when there is improvement in power supply after conversion from direct current to alternating current.
The officials expect all trains to become 12-car by October, thus increasing the carrying capacity by 33 per cent. Early this January, 51 services were converted to 12-car increasing passenger capacity by 50,000. The number of commuters has merely gone up by 6% while the number of 12-car train services has increased by 56% in last 3 years.