Mumbai's suburban railway commuters can expect to travel in air-conditioned (AC) trains by October, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.
“Mumbai will get its first AC local before October,” said Prabhu, speaking to the media at the launch of trade union leader JG Mahurkar’s autobiography The Guardian, at Rail Nikunj in Mumbai Central.
First announced in 2002, the AC locals were expected to be operational by May 2013, but delay in finalising the rakes’ design and procurement of material deferred the project. While presenting the railway budget in February, Prabhu had said the trains would be ready by the end of September.
On Saturday, he also said the feasibility study for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is in an advanced stage.
“The feasibility study for Mumbai-Ahmadabad trains will be over soon. Earlier this month, we held talks with the JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is conducting the study] and senior rail ministers from Japan. Once we get the report, we shall decide the future course of action,” said Prabhu.
The railway minister said several initiatives were underway to make train travel safer for women. He said while efforts were on to install CCTV cameras in compartments, RPF officers are being sensitised to curb crime against women.
Though Prabhu avoided questions about the delayed DC to AC traction conversion on Central Railway, a CR official said the technical aspects of the project were finished and it is awaiting the railway board’s nod, likely to come by next week.