World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo Iweala travelled on one of the city’s new trains on Monday. The journey, which began at 11.39 am on a Virar-bound slow train, ended at Mahim.
The trains have been chiefly funded by the World Bank — the railways are buying 120 — and are faster and more airy.
Western Railway (WR) sources said on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media that she travelled in the motorman’s cabin. She wanted to understand the difficulties faced by commuters and problems on the routes.
After alighting at Mahim, Iweala briefly met commuters and asked them what improvements there have been and what problems they faced. “Commuters said the trains are better, but overcrowding is a problem,” said a World Bank official on condition of anonymity.
Earlier in the morning, Iweala and her delegation visited Churchgate station. “She reviewed projects funded under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP),” said S Chandrayan, WR’s chief public relations officer.
State and railway officials met Iweala and her team along with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. “We asked them to fund the remaining phases of MUTP. The government is also seeking funding for the Metro,” said a senior railway official.
However, officials said that with the Metro being constructed through private companies, the funding pattern would have to be reviewed if the World Bank agrees to support it.
The bank has funded projects such as the quadrupling of the Virar-Borivli lines and power conversion from direct current to alternating current.