Piyush Goyal gives the railway top brass two weeks to come up with plan for running 15-coach Suburban Trains in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal yesterday directed that all local trains in Mumbai be turned into 15-coach trains and asked the Central and Western Railway top brass to come up with a timeline for the project within two weeks. At a meeting with senior railway officials at the state guesthouse Sahyadri, Goyal said that such a move will increase the Mumbai local trains’ capacity by 25%.

A 12-coach train on the Western Line carries more than 5,500 passengers against its capacity of around 3,000 during the peak rush hours. Having run out of terms to describe the rush, the railways coined a new expression a few years ago — super-dense crush load. What it basically means is 16 people are crammed in just one sq mt of compartment space.

A 15-coach train has the capacity of around 4,200 people and carries more than 7,000 commuters during the rush hours.

Currently, the Western Railway has 105 rakes, of which just five are 15-compartment trains. The Western Railway runs 1,365 services daily, of which the five 15-compartment trains complete 54 services.

The Central Railway, which runs 1,772 services daily on the Mumbai suburban network, including the Main and Harbour lines besides services to Bandra, Andheri and Goregaon, has just one 15-coach train out of its running fleet of 133 rakes (37 rakes are on standby for maintenance).

While the Western Railway is already running an AC local train on its suburban network (a 12-coach train) and is scheduled to get another AC train next month, the Central Railway will get its first AC local in June next year.

Goyal told Mumbai Mirror that he wants the Central and the Western Railway top brass to submit a timeline for the project within two weeks. “We want all local trains in Mumbai to be 15-coach trains. It will increase the capacity of the railways by 25%. First up, we want the fast corridors on both Central line and Western line converted to 15-coach trains. This will be extended to the slow line,” the minister said.

Asked about the cost, he said, “For Mumbaikars, money will not be a constraint.”