Taking the lead from the Western Railway, the Central Railway (CR) on Tuesday flagged off the first run of its 15-car train, from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kalyan, at 7.33pm on Tuesday.
“The wait is over and our journey from CST to Kalyan will be smooth,” hopes a Sangeeta Pai, 45, a commuter who boarded the train, which can accommodate 6,000-6,500 passengers.
Sixteen such services will be operated on the CST-Kalyan route.
The train took off in the presence of MP and chief guest Anand Paranjpe and MP from Thane Sanjeev Naik.
Nita Martin, another commuter, says the 15-car rakes will be a boon to women and the physically-challenged during the peak hours.
“The trains will operate between CST and Kalyan. They will halt at Kalyan and Dombivli. We have also increased the number of fast trains from 203 to 233. The CR plans to introduce 40 new services which were announced in the railway budget this year. These include six on Thane-Karjat, two on Thane-Vashi and five on CST-Kalyan, two on Wadala-Panvel and four on Thane-Kasara routes,” says Subodh Jain, general manager of CR.
"There will be two new services from Thane to Badlapur and Ambarnath, and one from Kurla to Titwala. There will be three fast trains from Kalyan after 9.40pm. And, from CST, the number of fast trains after 8pm will increase from eight to 11,” adds Jain.
He explains that platforms were extended, signals were re-spaced and several other technical changes were made to put the 15-car services on track. The WR had put out its 15-car services about a year ago.
For rlys, life comes a full circle
As the Central Railway (CR), the country’s oldest rail network, flagged off 15-car services from CST on Tuesday, life came a full circle for the Mumbai local. For, the country’s first train — a 14-coach one — had also run from CST, then Boree Bunder, more than 159 years ago.
“The pioneering train that started it all in the Indian sub-continent was a 14-car train that ran between Boree Bunder and Thane. The train had three locomotives and 14 coaches. The local population had been awestruck with the moving contraption and called it a monster,” recalls a senior official.
“The first train started at 3.35pm from Boree Bunder and took 57 minutes to complete the 32km journey to Thane, with a halt at Sion for taking in water. At the time, there were only a handful of stations. The electric trains today are much faster and reach Kalyan, about 60km away, in that much time,” he added.
The official said the train was cut in size about 70 years later when electricity was introduced on the railways due to technicalities. “The country’s first electric train ran between CST and Kurla had four coaches due to limited power and technology. The coaches then increased to six, eight, nine and 12. Now 159 years later, they are back to 15 cars,” he smiles.
“Tuesday was a historic day. The flagging off also coincides with the date of the first journey of the official passenger train. While the first run was on April 16, 1853, this time, it was on the 16th of the month.”