Mumbai: With the ever-rising number of commuters on the suburban rail network between Andheri and Virar, the Western Railways has planned to introduce additional 15-coach trains in three phases. Railway officials said while the exact number of 15 coach services have not been decided, around 50 existing 12-coach services can be converted into 15-coach services.
“In the first phase, WR will introduce 22 15-coach local train services between Andheri and Virar, which are likely to begin in the next six months. In the second phase, the WR will extend platform numbers 2 and 3 of Virar railway station. This extension work will cost Rs 18 crore,” said an official.
He further added, introducing 15-coach services in phases would give them time to complete the infrastructure work required for the operation of the services. “In the third phase, WR will provide 27 platform extensions at 14 suburban railway stations and will also construct fifth and sixth lines,” the official said.
A senior official said, adding 15-coach services could lead to fewer services as trains would not get the same sectional clearance. Introducing such a service would require a revision of the timetable, to ensure the number of services remains intact. “As part of the project, WR will be procuring 17 additional 12-coach rakes, of which one unit of three coaches will be added to the existing 12-coach locals.
AK Gupta, general manager, WR, said, 15-car trains, which currently run only on the fast corridor, will now also be operated on the slow corridor between Andheri and Virar. “We aim to complete the work by December 2019. The work will be expedited as sanctions have been obtained. More 15-coach locals are required in the Andheri-Virar section, than between Andheri and Churchgate,” added Gupta.
The tentative cost of the project is Rs 55 crore and involves extending 27 platforms on 14 stations on the slow corridor. Currently, the WR operates 54 services, with four 15-coach trains between Churchgate and Virar. Senior railway officials said, “Unlike between Andheri and Churchgate, the gap between signals in this section is large enough to accommodate 15 coach services. Work on making stations between Andheri and Churchgate ready for 15-coach trains will begin in the second phase of the project.”