Patna : Railways  is toying with an idea  to design and manufacture  air conditioned ( AC ) coaches  for suburban train services across the country. It would  be a boon for commuters  travelling in the  crowded  local passengers  during sultry weather  condition.

A Railway Board official said the proposal had been approved by Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation ( MRVC ) but could  not make much progress  for the reasons not known. However, railways has  decided  to provide  AC  local passenger trains  at places where feasibility to run such trains  is  very high, he said. According to sources ,  the Research Designs and Standards Organisation ( RDSO ),  research and design organization of the Indian Railways, had earlier  prepared  a new blueprint  for manufacturing AC local train coaches . It would be suitable for running suburban network on the pattern of metro rails. The cost  of each  AC bogie could  be Rs  80 lakh to Rs 90  lakh, sources  said.

The RDSO has successfully designed the AC local coach as per requirement of passengers . The RDSO  is ready to manufacture an AC  EMU ( electrical multiple unit ) bogie. However,  the final decision is yet to be taken by the ministry of railways , the Board official said adding  railway minister Suresh Prabhu  is keen to improve the condition of  commuters trains.  The doors of the AC local trains will have to  be kept closed  throughout  the journey  like metro rails . At a place where number of commuters  is too high or they are in habit of travelling on footboard due to rush in the compartment, AC local trains would not be successful, sources said.

The Western Railway ( WR ) had earlier converted a coach to an AC bogie at an additional cost of about Rs 17 lakh. It was introduced  between Mumbai Central and Bandra  for several days . Finally, this service was withdrawn as the WR did not get permission from higher authorities . Similarly, the proposed  plan to run an AC local between  Mumbai Terminal and Kalyan  was rejected  by railways  following  protests from passengers that railways  was simply wasting  its resources , sources said.

A Board official, however,  felt that it is the  need of the time  to introduce AC local trains in suburban areas to cater to the needs of  passengers on the pattern of foreign  railways.


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