•A/C Locals to be run before the end of this year, says GM
•Focus on parking for new trains, looking beyond Mumbai
•In touch with Thane, Kayan civic bodies
MUMBAI, September 29, 2016 (GPN) : In a major makeover plan for the much-stressed Central Railway suburban system, the management is studying an ambitious Rs 20,000 crore plan improve services including acquisition of 150 new rakes and introduction of additional routes and adequate parking lines.
Addressing the media at Mumbai Press Club Knowledge Series programme, powered by Public Relations Council of India (PRCI), Central Railway General Manager Mr Akhil Agrawal said he is studying the report of a committee on improving the suburban services and will take an appropriate decision.
The committee was formed at the instance of Railway Minister Mr Suresh Prabhu, who was shocked after a video clip of an accidental death near Thane went viral, notes that ten people die daily on CR tracks and the basic reason for this is the huge demand-supply gap.
The committee cautioned that the situation with the existing stock can be “explosive” by 2030 as the number of casualties will multiply manifold due to open doors on the trains, the committee cautions and stresses that CR trains need air-conditioning and door closures much before the Western Railway.
Mr Agrawal said the Central Railway has taken various steps like increasing frequency of trains, introducing 12 coach rakes which resulted in fall in deaths on tracks due to various reasons over the past eight months to 1,414 as compared to the figure of 2,187 over the previous year.
Quoting from the report PRCI national president B N Kumar said that CR works at 400+% capacity on normal days and at times even exceeds 800+% capacity and calls for additional exclusive platforms to handle suburban trains, new trains to bridge the gap, and stabilizing lines to help double the services.
The panel envisages that half of the projected investment is to go for acquiring new rakes, while the stabling lines or parking places for trains to reduce piling up of rakes – akin to bumper-to-bumper road traffic – will be developed on self-financing basis.
Responding to questions on parking or stabling lines, Mr Agrawal said there was a space constraint in Mumbai city area. Hence the Railway is looking at areas like Thane, Kalyan and even beyond. “We are making provision for new rakes as we acquire them,” he said.
Mr Agrawal said punctuality on the suburban network rose by 2% due to the improvement in the working of the system. “We are continuously monitoring and taking steps to plug loopholes,” he said.
He also assured better basic facilities for the commuters. He said the issue of toilets and lavatories across the stations would be taken on a priority basis. He insisted on making the trains much cleaner so that the passengers are not hassled.
Mr Agrawal also assured to expedite laying of new lines and enhancing carrying capacity as and when the freight lines are built.
Convener of Mumbai Press Club’s Knowledge Series, Mrityunjay Bose moderated the session.