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State wants AC local trains

The state government wants city’s seven million rail commuters to travel in air-conditioned comfort.

mumbai Updated: May 19, 2010 01:17 IST
Rajendra Aklekar
Rajendra Aklekar
Hindustan Times

The state government wants city’s seven million rail commuters to travel in air-conditioned comfort.

This is what government officials told the railways and the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai during a visit to the factory on Saturday.

“Half of Mumbai’s population travels by local trains and the state is worried about the quality of travel in these trains today. We have suggested that local trains in Mumbai be made air-conditioned so that it improves the quality of life and travel,” said T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary (urban development), who visited the ICF factory.

Former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had suggested the possibility of introducing air-conditioned suburban trains in Mumbai by 2012. Senior railway officials from the Research Design and Standards Organisation in Lucknow are already working on the “tough task” of designing AC trains for Mumbai’s super dense crowd.

The challenge is to design a coach that can accommodate rush hour traffic and provide air-conditioning without compromising on space and safety. They are examining the concept of air curtains at the doors to keep coaches cool even if the door is not closed. An air curtain, a fan with a powerful jet, is a ventilation device used for separating two spaces from each other.

“The railways have said to provide an air-conditioned train, they will require to shut the doors, which may not be possible in Mumbai,” Benjamin said. Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation managing director Pramod Chander Sehgal said the new trains will be better than the existing violet trains.

“The new trains will have a steel body and more swank interiors. We are also considering changing the colour due to the problem of stains due to spitting, but the railway board is yet to finalise it,” Sehgal said.

The railways are manufacturing a fresh set of trains under the second phase of the Rs 5,300-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project funded jointly by the state government, the Indian Railways and the World Bank.

First Published: May 19, 2010 01:15 IST