Mumbai: The much-awaited air-conditioned local train for Mumbai has begun taking shape. Late last week, the railway board approved a ‘layout’ of the coach and other technical parameters of the train. Layout is railway lingo for placement of seats, luggage racks, grab poles and the like inside a coach.
The train is estimated to cost a little over Rs.43 crore and is expected to have a majority of its parts imported, including the vestibules connecting the coaches and the flooring.
According to officials, the coach shell has also been finalised by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and work on building the shell will commence by mid-April. The most important part of the 12-coach train — the three-phase electrical systems that will power it — will arrive from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited by the last week of April.
“It is a tight schedule for the train because it needs to be brought in by July 2014 as that date has been announced in the railway budget. The train is already going to miss its March 31 deadline that was announced in the previous budget, and missing it again would reflect badly on the railways. Moreover, we understand there is tremendous curiosity in the city for the AC local, with people mistaking the Bombardier rakes currently being tested as the air-conditioned train and posting pictures of the same on social media sites,” said a railway official.
As reported earlier, the most important aspect of the layout that has been approved by the railway board is that the seats would be in the same pattern that locals currently have. This pattern was approved because of Research Design Standards Organisation’s objection to the longitudinal pattern — the one used in metros worldwide — which, it says, would put strain on the train floor.
“We have to keep in mind the crowd inside a Mumbai local. During peak hours, it’s a mind-boggling 16 people per square metre, something the railways calls the super dense crush load. The longitudinal pattern of seating would mean more people standing, which is not a good thing in dense suburban systems like Mumbai’s,” said an official.
The horizontal, rectangular windows — the kind used in the Rajdhani Express — have also been approved by the railway board, sources said.