The much-delayed plan to give Mumbai its first 15-coach train will become a reality on Saturday. Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee will flag off the train from Andheri.
The 15-coach train would be world’s longest ‘electric multiple unit’ (EMU), a technical term for a suburban train.
It will be a hi-tech inauguration with Banerjee using a remote control to wrap up the event. She will reach Andheri (E) at 2.30 pm and flag off the 15-coach train, two suburban ladies’ specials and six outstation services.
The extra coaches would mean a 30 per cent rise in carrying capacity over 12-coach trains. The 12-coach trains carry 5,000 commuters; the 15-coach trains would carry 6,500.
Though longer trains on the tracks would widen the gap between services by half-a-minute, Western Railway (WR) officials said the delays would be negligible. This could be achieved, they said, by giving quicker signal clearance to trains. As of now, WR will have only one such train, which will make 12 trips a day.
WR has lengthened platforms at Dadar, Andheri, Borivli, Vasai and Virar, where the train will halt. However, there could be a problem if a 12-coach train and a 15-coach one arrive on different platforms at the same time. The higher number of commuters alighting from such trains could crowd pedestrian bridges. “We are constructing additional bridges at Andheri and Borivli to take care of this,” said a WR spokesperson.
WR will monitor the performance of the 15-coach trains before deciding whether to induct more in its fleet.