India's first air-conditioned (AC) local train, stretching between Mumbai's Churchgate and Virar station, was flagged off today from Borivali station.
The Christmas and pre-New Year bonanza saw the first AC local's maiden run for the media, officials, some political party activists and commuters between Borivali and Churchgate on the Western Railway (WR).
The fare of a single journey ticket of the AC rake costs 1.3 times the base fare of a first class ticket.
Manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, the full AC air-suspension coaches have a capacity of carrying almost 6,000 commuters per rake, automatic door opening-closing system, LED lights, Emergency Talk Back system between commuters and guard besides a public address system, advanced GPS-based passenger information systems, speeds of upto 100 kmph, air-tight vestibules inter-connecting all 12 coaches, other modern amenities and the latest safety features for commuters.
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Similarly, three fast services will run between Churchgate & Borivali stopping at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra & Andheri stations in both directions. While the inaugural run of the first AC local was met with overall enthusiasm, there were some issues that were hard to brush under the carpet. On average, ten deaths of persons falling from Mumbai's local trains are reported each day. The only slow AC service will be from Mahalaxmi to Borivli after which it will run from Borivli to Churchgate. Railway Protection Force (RPF) constables will be in each coach to ensure security. A Mumbai Urban Transport Plan (MUTP) surcharge and Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 5% is levied separately on the final fare.
Excited commuters captured the historic moments by clicking selfies the moment train reached the Churchgate station at 11.16 am. Weekly, fortnightly and monthly season tickets will be charged at 5, 7 and 10 times that of a single journey.
The 12-coach AC train with self-closing doors is a landmark for the city's lifeline. "We will also bifurcate the ladies coaches from others by introducing a divider", a senior official said.