The 42 lakh commuters of Central Railway are in for both good news and bad. While the good news is that by March at least 24 services of air-conditioned locals will start plying daily, the bad news is it will replace the existing regular ones.
This decision came forth at a meeting held on Friday between CR authorities and passenger associations at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).
At the meeting, rail authorities revealed that they will procure two AC locals in the next two months. “We have been informed that by January-February, AC local trains will run on CSMT-Kalyan, CSMT-Panvel, and Thane-Panvel routes,” said Mansoor Darvesh, President, Passenger Traffic Relief Association.
The meeting went on for long and sources said it is likely the AC rakes will operate on slow lines as they want to attract more commuters. Also, there are chances that Harbour and Trans-harbour will get one AC local, while the other one will be for the CSMT-Kalyan main line.
“We have warned CR authorities about the problems that may arise if a fully AC train is operated on a slow line during peak hours. There are chances that people will let the AC local pass and wait for a regular train, which will only add to the already-existing rush,” said Subhash Gupta, President, Rail Yatri Parishad.
Yatri Sangh Mumbai — an umbrella association comprising all passenger associations — even submitted a letter with 28 signatures from different associations. “We welcome AC locals on CR. However, we demand that existing services aren’t replaced with AC local services. The better idea is to add three AC coaches to the existing 12-car trains,” stated the letter presented by the umbrella body.
“We are waiting for the AC rakes to come. Depending on its arrival, we are planning to run 10-12 services in a day per AC rake. It will replace the existing services,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity.