Railways may procure 47 AC rakes for new suburban services under MUTP-III

Railways likely to procure 47 AC rakes for new suburban services under MUTP-III
Representational Image. Courtesy: Rediff

Railways might procure air-conditioned rakes for the new suburban services under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-III (MUTP-III), aimed at boosting the rail infrastructure across Mumbai, Thane and other neighboring districts of Maharashtra.

Despite the hot and humid weather conditions, Mumbai only has one AC rake, which is still months away from being commissioned.

It was acquired in mid-2016 for Central Railway but later handed over to Western Railway due to certain limitations on the route. The rake is expected to be ready for carrying passengers after the monsoon, assuming the trial runs don’t expose any major issues.

For the MUTP-III, however, it is likely that that railway authorities opt for AC rakes instead of the conventional ones.

“The railway board had agreed to procure 47 rakes under MUTP-III with automatic door closure facility. Due to overcrowding in trains, carbon dioxide levels can be quite high in coaches once the doors are closed. Hence, Central Railway, Western Railway and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) officials feel we should go in for AC rakes under MUTP-III,” an official told TOI.

The board is likely to take a decision about the rakes within a month’s time, following which the MRVC will invite bids.

The cost of the rakes will change significantly depending on the type of air-conditioning technology used.

The rakes with air-conditioning equipment on top of the coach, like the one undergoing trials, will cost Rs 7 crore per coach. On the other hand, the metro-style implementation where the AC system is fitted in the under-frame of the coach may cost around Rs 10 crore per coach.

A total of 546 coaches will be required under the MUTP-III, which entails a new suburban corridor between Panvel-Karjat (28 km route), new elevated corridor between Airoli-Kalwa (3 km route) and quadrupling of Virar-Dahanu Road (63 km route).

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