Mumbai: The decks have been cleared for the procurement of more than 200 air-conditioned locals for Mumbai following an ‘in-principle’ nod for the proposal at a high-level meeting of the Railway Board. A final call on the matter is expected to be taken by the board shortly.
Earlier, the procurement of 238 AC locals had been sanctioned under the MUTP-3 and MUTP-3A, but the procurement process was stopped after a letter written by the Zonal Railway.
On Tuesday, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) gave a detailed presentation to the Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw about the rolling stock. The chairman of the Railway Board, Suneet Sharma and other concerned officials too were present at the meeting.
On September 23, 2021, The Free Press Journal had exclusively published the recommendations of a six-member committee formed for studying the future of AC local trains in Mumbai suburban sections.
After a detailed survey and meeting with the stakeholders including passenger associations, the committee had suggested that Mumbai needs fully air-conditioned locals in future.
“Bearing in mind the committee reports and the presentation of the MRVC, it was decided to move on the procurement process of 238 full AC locals with automatic door closing systems for the Mumbai suburban section. A final call will be taken by the Railway Board soon,” said an Indian Railway official.
Under MUTP 3 and MUTP 3A, 238 AC locals (47 in MUTP-3 and 191 in MUTP-3A) were proposed to be procured by 2024. Given the 25-year lifespan of rolling stock, these rakes will serve the suburban network until 2050.
Sources said that at the meeting, measures to reduce mishaps caused by passengers falling off running trains were discussed, for which automatic door closure was a must and for which air-conditioning was necessary.