Mumbai: Following a technical glitch in an air-conditioned (AC) local train, the Western Railway (WR) was forced to replace six AC services with non-AC ones on Thursday.
However, this isn't a one-off incident as several such snags had marred the cool services in the recent past. Due to recurring mechanical faults, AC local commuters have expressed disappointment over poor service despite paying high fares.
According to a senior WR official, design defects may be the one of the main causes behind the recurring technical issues. “We already reported to the BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd) about technical glitches being reported in AC locals,” the official said, adding that they get less time for routine maintenance owing to absence of spare rakes.
“In the last six months, more than a half dozen times AC local passengers were forced to travel in non-AC locals due to replacement of scheduled cool services,” said Dinesh Sharma, 56, a Borivali resident. Similarly, Surekha Chavan, who has been travelling in AC locals on the WR for more than a year, said, “When scheduled AC trains are cancelled, we feel cheated. Railways need to make proper arrangements for refund of passengers' money for that day.”
The fare of AC locals is 1.3 times higher
“The fare of AC locals is 1.3 times higher than the first-class ticket cost. There should be a train attendant to look after such minor glitches. Sometimes the temperature is too low and sometimes there isn't enough cooling,” said another AC local commuter Rajesh Shah from Bhayander.
Currently, the WR runs 79 AC services on weekdays, which have a daily ridership of more than 75,000.
Month and services replaced
Nov 10 - 6 AC services replaced with non-AC ones
Oct 31 - 15 AC services replaced
Oct 12 - 13 AC services replaced