Mumbai: Commuters who avail of Central Railway’s air-conditioned local service are upset with repeated cancellations, especially as they have paid a premium for the service.
On Wednesday, the railway replaced 14 air-conditioned local services with regular services owing to a technical problem in a rake.
Central runs a total of 56 air-conditioned services a day with five rakes of which one is in periodic overhaul at any given point in time and four are in service; there is no standby rake.
Over a dozen AC services cancelled
Earlier, on Nov 30, Central had cancelled over a dozen AC services as there was a problem with one of the rakes.
According to sources, more than half-a-dozen breakdowns have been reported in the railway’s AC locals in the past six months.
“There is a system of periodic overhaul for which rakes need to be taken,” a railway official said. “After withdrawing one rake, the remaining four are used for services. Any technical failure in any of the four rakes in service may lead to running of services with non-AC rakes.”
Asked about the process of commissioning the sixth rake allotted to Central, the official said, "It will take around a month.”
Reacting to the sudden cancellation of AC services on Wednesday, Durgesh Jha, 45, a resident of Dombivli, said, "Such a casual approach is to be condemned. What’s the use of buying tickets for AC?”
Surendra Kadam, 42, of Thane said the railway should have worked out all such scenarios before increasing services as last-minute cancellations frustrate passengers.
"Why are commuters of Central Railway facing this inconvenience regularly?” Mr Kadam said. “Most of the AC trains are new. Such frequent technical glitches raise questions about the maintenance."
About the frequent breakdowns, a senior Central Railway official said, "We have informed the Integral Coach Factory [in Chennai, which manufactures the rakes] about the type of technical glitches reported recently. They are working on it." All air-conditioned local trains in the city are manufactured at the ICF.
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