Harbour line commuters won’t have to wait for the CSTM-Panvel elevated corridor to enjoy air-conditioned travel as the railways and the state government will be introducing air-conditioned locals on the line by the end of 2014.
High-tech and stainless steel AC coaches, similar to Metro coaches, will soon be procured for the project. These coaches will have closing doors and will be connected by vestibules, making it easy for commuters to move from one coach to another.
As part of the ongoing Rs. 714 crore project to introduce 12-car services on the harbour line, a total of 53 air-conditioned coaches (four-twelve car rakes and five extra coaches) will be procured.
“Rolling stock component of the project is estimated to cost about Rs. 520-crore and coaches will soon be procured through a global tendering process,” said a senior official of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), an agency planning and execution body, for suburban railway projects.
The global tendering process will be initiated after Railway Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) finalises specifications of these air-conditioned coaches, said the official.
On Thursday, MRVC met with BP Khare, general manager of CR, to inform him that the project was on schedule.
The official added that each coach is estimated to cost over Rs9 crore, but costs might escalate as the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) had to procure such coaches for Rs15 crore each.
To accommodate the 12-car trains and other related works, the MRVC has already awarded all tenders for extending the length of platforms on the harbour line. The extension work is likely to be completed by the end of 2014.
The railways have already proposed two elevated rail corridors in the city, on which it plans to run air-conditioned trains.
CSTM-Panvel elevated corridor is one of them and is estimated to cost around Rs9,800 crore. For the project, the MRVC had conducted a ‘willingness to pay survey’ among Harbour line commuters last year.
However, the long awaited dream of suburban commuters to travel in air conditioned trains will come true in the next few months.
The first air-conditioned suburban local for the city is being built at the Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and is likely to reach city in August, say WR officials.