After many delays, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to have finally found Friday the 13th as the most appropriate date to inaugurate a host of projects for Mumbai, including the country’s first longest 15-car local train.
The Western and Central Railway has been trying to get her to Mumbai, but her visits to the city have been a rarity as she had been busy with the local by-elections in West Bengal.
She will visit the city on Friday.
The Western Railway has lined up a host of other projects that had been pending inauguration at her hands, including a 15-car train between Dadar and Virar, more ladies special suburban trains, the Dadar mid-town terminus, Surat AC Express and Mumbai Jodhpur Express.
On the Central Railway, the minister is expected to flag off the Mumbai-Nagpur non-stop Duronto Express train.
On Tuesday, Banerjee’s party the Trinamool Congress won all seven seats it contested in the West Bengal Assembly elections.
“Mamataji will now have more time to focus on railways and complete all her commitments,” a senior rail ministry official said.
Banerjee had inaugurated her earlier Mumbai projects through video conferencing and has never been in the city, as a railway minister during this term, for a public function.
She will be returning to Mumbai as railway minister after a period of 10 years.
Incidentally, the foundation stone of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, the suburban railway think tank, was laid by Banerjee 10 years ago at Kurla station.
The Western Railway’s 15-car train to run between Dadar and Virar will make six trips daily.
It will have additional ladies, handicapped and first-class compartments and will be able to ferry 25 per cent more, that is about 1,500 more passengers, than the existing 12-car train.