The introduction of 25,000 volt pure alternate current (AC) rakes on the Western Railway (WR) by the end of the year, may lead to discomfort for second-class women passengers. The second-class coach will now be divided in two parts to facilitate the installation of electric equipment like motors, thus reducing space inside the women's coach.
Against the background of the manpower shortage already faced by the government railway police (GRP), the new arrangement will also raise security concerns as it will now require deputation of a police personnel in each part of the divided coach.
According to railway sources, unlike the existing Direct Current (DC) and DC-AC rakes, the new AC rakes with four units do not have the same formation. In the new AC rakes, the first coach is a motor coach -which holds the pantograph on the roof.
In an attempt to address the rising demand of passengers, the WR is procuring 11 AC rakes, including an air-conditioned one and will extended suburban services till Dahanu. Manufactured at the railway's Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF), two such rakes are already undergoing minor modifications at the WR's car shed.
These AC rakes also have the white and purple colour scheme on exterior but are slightly modified in the interior.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer of the WR, confirmed that the women's compartment of the new AC rakes would be divided in to two parts, but added that the overall space of the women's compartments would not change. "There is no major change in the composition of coaches," said Chandrayan.