Mumbai: The Central Railway is now planning to act on a proposal to allow private contractors to run air-conditioned suburban rail services.
This proposal was finalised in a meeting held on September 27. According to the official, the air-conditioned train services run by private operators will first run on the Thane-Vashi-Panvel trans-harbour line.
Senior railway officials who attended this meeting said that a thorough survey will be done on this section to ascertain the feasibility.
They will assess the passengers using this section, growth of areas along the railway stations on this route, use of local trains since its first EMU services began from 2004 and the future prospects.
“A consultant will be appointed to conduct a survey of these details. Currently, the trans-harbour route seems to be a probable choice for a private contractor, as there are lesser train services on this route,” said a senior railway official.
The Trans-Harbour section connects the mainline and harbour line through a new belt of residential and commercial areas of Airoli, Rabale, Ghansoli, Kopar Khairane and Turbhe.
The railway officials also feel that if in case the train operations run by private players suffer on Trans-Harbour, it would not affect the main and harbour lines. There are plans of operating AC local trains on Central Railway, first of which is expected to run on harbour or Trans-Harbour lines.
The authorities claim that one of the ways of looking at it is, if a private operator is ready to bear the cost of running local train and pay off the railways, then there is a possibility that private operator will be allowed to run locals.