By the end of this month, thousands of commuters who travel to Dahanu regularly can hop on to a direct suburban train from Churchgate, doing away with the time and inconvenience of switching trains at Virar.
The 60-km Churchgate-Virar suburban corridor will be extended till the coastal town of Dahanu, making the stretch a total of 124 km.
The Western Railways, which is planning 25 services to Dahanu, began conducting safety trials on the route on Saturday. During the trial run, safety parameters relating to tracks, overhead equipment, coaches and other operational details are checked. “This will ensure safety of passengers,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR.
Extending suburban services to the coastal town, which falls under the Thane district, has been a long-pending demand of commuters and was promised in the 2012-13 railway budget.
To familiarise motormen and guards with the route, WR began training them last week with signals and other aspects of the stretch.
Currently, passengers travelling to Dahanu have to switch to main line electric multiple unit (MEMU) or passenger trains at Virar. Of the new services, 13 will replace 18 existing MEMU trains, while two will replace passenger trains between Mumbai Central and Dahanu. There will be 10 additional services.
The plan to extend services till Dahanu had caused unrest among motormen owing to rumours that WR would engage loco pilots for services beyond Virar. WR sorted out the issue by clarifying that services would be run by motormen.