Though the much hyped and the last month launched AC local might not have got a good response yet, the Central Railway is planning yet another AC local that will run every day including weekends. Central Railway’s aim is to target business class and better services.
A fortnight ago, Central Railway’s first-ever AC local commenced its maiden run. Two weeks since the service took off, it has been found that the response was not as expected; people are not travelling much in the first AC local on the Harbour line. Reportedly, only 1,400 passengers which mean only 28 per cent are using the service though the train can carry 5,000 commuters at a time.
Central Railway’s senior official told AV that they have been holding meetings to decide how to conduct a survey on Thane-Vashi and Thane-Panvel area to identify how many MNC companies are located in the area. The Rail Corporation is hoping that the idea of urging these employees to avail of the AC service will increase the ridership on the AC local train. First of all, they will identify the companies and commercial outlets in the Thane-Vashi route and later urge their employees to patronise AC locals over taxis and auto-rickshaws.
Shivaji Sutar, chief public relation officer (CPRO) CR said, “The plan of action will be ready soon and once it has been done, they will start approaching the companies and commercial outlets.”
Since the last few years, areas such as Airoli, Rabale and Turbhe have made progress in terms of both commercial and residential spaces. A major reason behind starting the AC local service on the route was due to an unprecedented rise in the number of first-class commuters. Currently, the second rake is undergoing tests for its electrical components by the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) and Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The rake is expected to be ready within a month while a third rake is expected to arrive in a week.
The first AC local train of the Indian Railways ran in Mumbai on 25th December 2017 under the Western Railway zone in Mumbai. The AC local train completed its two years on 25 December, 2019. The air-conditioned train has received good response from Mumbaikars as during the last two years, this AC EMU train has earned Rs.40.03 crore from 95.81 lakh passengers. The long cherished dream of Mumbaikars for a ‘cool travelling’ experience in ‘air conditioned local train’ finally became a reality on 25 December, 2017 when the country’s first and only air-conditioned suburban train started its maiden run from Borivali and headed to its destination at Churchgate. The ‘air conditioned local train’ with state-of-the-art security features consists of automatic door closing system, talk back system and firefighting system in each coach etc. Though the ridership of the AC local was minimal in the early days, but slowly and steadily it started gaining momentum and became a major hit among the commuters during the sweltering summer months.