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Cooler journey ahead for Mumbaiites: Gear up for CR’s first AC local in 2019

The first train may be on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) -Kalyan route

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2018 00:57 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Central Railway,Mumbai,CSMT
The initial trials of the AC locals were conducted on the CR route in 2016.(HT File )

Central Railway (CR) will get its first air-conditioned local train in early 2019 and the planning for this is underway. The city’s first air-conditioned train was introduced in 2016 and operates on Western Railway (WR) routes, between Churchgate and Virar.

CR’s first air-conditioned suburban train may travel the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) -Kalyan route.

General manager, CR, DK Sharma said, “We are trying to operate it on every route. Nothing has been finalised yet. However, in future, all coaches which will arrive will be air-conditioned and will be operated on the city’s suburban railway network.”

However, before operating the train, there is one hurdle that the authorities must clear – the train’s height barrier.

Compared to the existing, regular suburban trains operating on CR, the height of air-conditioned trains is slightly higher. Regular local trains are approximately 437 centimetres tall, whereas the height of the air-conditioned local train is approximately 439 centimetres. Air-conditioned trains are taller because of the location of their air-conditioning units, which are fitted on the ceilings of the train compartments.

Read more: New AC trains in Mumbai locals to be 100% made in India

The two-centimetre difference poses a significant challenge. When the proposal for air-conditioned trains on the suburban train network was originally passed, CR was supposed to get the first air-conditioned train, but due to the height issue, the train operated on WR instead.

“Height is a major concern for the operation of the train on the main line. The placement of the overhead equipment wires is low on the main line route. This is because the height of the road overbridges between CSMT and Kalyan are low as many were built during the British era. The issue was discovered during the initial trials,” said a senior central railway official on condition of anonymity.

The air-conditioned local train was first announced in the 2012-2013 railway budget and arrived in the city in April 2016. The initial trials were conducted on CR since it was supposed to operate on CR routes. However, due to software and height issues, the train was parked in the Kurla car shed for months before finally operating on WR routes. This time, CR has approached Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, which is manufacturing the air-conditioned trains for the city. A letter has been sent mentioning the necessary alternations and specifications for the trains.

“As the trains are in the process of being manufactured, we have written to ICF asking if the height of the AC trains can be altered. The placement of the air conditioners will also be crucial,” said he official.

CR authorities are also keeping a backup plan of operating the train on the Harbour line in case the height concerns are not addressed.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 00:55 IST