The much-awaited rake has finally arrived from Chennai today and will be added to Western Railway’s fleet; officials claim it will ensure smoother, faster service
Mumbai: The much awaited third Bombardier rake has arrived the city today morning. The new rake is modified to give Mumbaikars a smoother and easier commute, will soon be added to the fleet of Western Railway.
The rake left on July 16 from Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, where the Bombardier rakes are being manufactured and assembled. On its day of departure, the train was draped in flowers and officials also performed a puja before sending it off to Mumbai. This train will now be added to the 94-strong fleet of WR which operates 85 rakes a day, with the rest making up the reserve stock to be used in case of technical failures or any other time of need.
Under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), 72 Bombardier rakes will be added to the city’s suburban system – 42 to WR and 30 to Central Railway (CR). According to sources, WR will begin transferring their older rakes, which have completed 12-15 years of operation, to CR.
The latter operates 121 rakes across three lines – Main, Harbour, and Trans Harbour – and keeps an additional 12 rakes as spares. “We will be getting 30 new rakes from ICF by March 2016,” said Prabhat Sahai, chairman and managing director, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which is procuring them for Mumbai.
These new Bombardier rakes are touted to provide a faster, more comfortable commute to Mumbai’s citizens – what with their wider seats, bigger luggage racks, double handles and more.
Demand for local trains has seen a drastic rise in the last decade. Ten years ago, the suburban system carried 62.03 lakh people; it presently ferries 76.76 lakh every day, as per railway data. “Expectations of people are growing every year.
We have made rectifications in the new rakes in the seats, windows, ventilation, and even handles,” said a railway official. In 2005-06, 31.64 lakh people used CR’s network; this number has reached 41.67 lakh in 2014-15, a whopping 31.7 per cent increase.
Similarly, the number for WR has jumped from 30.39 lakh to 35.09 lakh in 2014-15, a 15.4 per cent rise. Railway officials added that this increase in commuter traffic has forced them to convert 9-car rakes to 12-car rakes, and now, even 15-car trains WR operates two 15-car trains while CR runs one such rake.
The number of train services has not been able to match up to this demand. “We are running more 12-car trains to allow us to carry more people in the limited number of services,” said a WR official. 75 rakes of the total 85 operated by WR are 12-car rakes; CR runs 86 12-car trains out of the total 121 rakes pressed into service every day.