Mumbai will only get semi air-conditioned locals and importantly, only the AC coaches will have the automatic door closing system, not second-class compartments. Also, there is a strong likelihood of these trains not having any first-class compartments.
Indian Railways is looking at either 15-car trains, comprising nine non-AC coaches and six AC ones; or 12-car trains with three AC coaches and nine-non-AC ones. The non-AC coaches will include the ladies compartment, another for the physically challenged and the luggage coach. The idea is that first-class passengers will upgrade to AC coaches.
A recent online survey conducted by the Railways has revealed that of the total 37,082 respondents, 39.3 per cent -- the highest -- had shown interest in having semi-AC local trains with a combination of three AC coaches and nine non-AC coaches.
AC or semi-AC locals need an automatic door closing system, to maintain the temperature within and it will also ensure the safety of passengers. However, this will not be the case with second-class coaches on a partial AC train.
“Having automatic door closure mechanism in second-class compartments in partial AC locals is not possible because of the crowding inside (especially in peak hours). When the prototype of the semi-AC local is made, the second-class compartment will not have this door-closure mechanism,” said Alok Kansal, general manager, Western Railway.
In the past, the Western Railway had carried out trials of such an automatic door closure system on regular local trains. First-class and ladies compartments were equipped with such doors, which would open and close for 15-20 seconds, depending on the station of halt. But there has been no further development on this front.
Participants in the recent online survey included 25,339 WR commuters and 11,743 from Central Railway. Of these 20,497 were aged 19-35 years, 14,639 from the 35-60 age group while the rest included those aged above 60 and below 18 years of age. Further, of the total 37,055 respondents who responded to the question on class of travel in local trains; 13,622 were first-class commuters, while 21,504 commuted by second class and the rest were those who travel by road.
For 25.7 per cent or 15,120 people, the Churchgate-Virar route was the most preferred route, followed by Churchgate-Borivli -- 9,875 responses or 16.8 per cent, while 6,734 respondents or 11.4 per cent travelled on the CSMT-Thane route. In all, 58,911 respondents stated their preferred routes of the total 12 routes mentioned in the survey.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)