Suburban railway travellers can expect some relief as the Western Railway begins an overhaul of services beginning Wednesday.
Twenty-six nine-car rakes that have been upgraded to 12-car trains will be introduced this week. Two more 12-car trains and another 15-car train are to be put into service by December-end, which will mean an additional 40 new services at least, Western Railway general manager Mahesh Kumar said on Tuesday.
“Before the end of the current financial year, we will add more services and also start the Churchgate-Dahanu suburban services. By the end of January, we will add a total of 55 new services with the help of new rakes and conversion of existing nine-car types into 12-car ones,” Kumar said.
The railways said 11 services will be operated between Churchgate and Borivali, eight between Churchgate and Andheri; four between Churchgate and Bandra, and one each on the Mahalaxmi-Andheri, Bandra-Borivali and Churchgate-Malad sections. Kumar also announced a new ticketing system to ease the crowding, among measures to improve the quality of commute for suburban travellers.
A new biometric system is being tried out on an “experimental basis to control touting activities” in the passenger reservation system. A “bar code-based ticketing system” and additional automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) will be put up on suburban platforms, the general manager said.
The railways said that the conversion of 26 services from nine-car to 12-car will create additional room for more than 38,000 commuters. With these new services the number of 12-car services on the Western Railway will go up to 1,116 services a day. There are 14 other 15-car services also on the suburban network.
The total number of services currently is 1,250 and is expected to rise by 55 by January-end.