First class! WR plans to get semi-AC local trains for you
The commute on the city’s suburban railway network is set to get cooler. Reason: The Union railway ministry and the Western Railway (WR) are in talks to revive a 2018 plan to introduce semi-air-conditioned (AC) local trains on Mumbai’s suburban railway network.
According to officials, the plan was discussed in a meeting of senior WR officials last week, in the presence of Railway Board member (traffic), Girish Pillai, at the WR headquarters. Pillai also asked railway officials to study the need for additional local trains that would be required to accommodate passengers after the introduction of semi-AC trains.
The plan to introduce semi-AC local trains includes conversion of three first-class coaches of a 12-compartment local train to AC; the rest nine coaches will be non-AC. In a 15-compartment train, the zonal railway plans to have six AC coaches and nine non-AC ones.
“The study on implementation of AC compartments in local trains is going on in the Ministry of Railways. We’ve been asked to review the shift in passengers after AC coaches are introduced in trains. As majority of passengers travel in second-class compartments, the study will be done to check if additional local trains would be required,” said a senior WR official, who was a part of the meeting.
Passengers on social media have also requested the Railways to introduce AC compartments on existing local trains rather than introducing new AC local trains. “Noise of full-fledged AC local...no one is travelling... put one AC boggy [coach] in every local train…it will be beneficial for both,” tweeted a commuter @premsnagar. The plan for semi-AC local trains was announced by Union railway minister Piyush Goyal in 2018, who had then stated that 70 local trains would be fitted with AC coaches. However, the designs of the semi-AC trains were not approved by the Research Design Standard Organisation (RDSO) and Goyal had then stated there might be logistical problems in the operation of semi-AC trains.