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More 15-car local trains would mean fewer people get ferried on Western Railway

The Union Railway Minister asked the authorities to consider increasing the number of 15-car trains on both fast and slow corridors of the suburban section.

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Shashank Rao

Updated: Dec 17, 2018, 06:35 AM IST

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Running 15-car trains on Churchgate-Andheri route could mean ferrying fewer commuters, say railway officials after the Union Railway Minister asked the authorities to consider increasing the number of 15-car trains on both fast and slow corridors of the suburban section.

Here's why. The distance between two signal posts (stations) on the 21-km Churchgate-Andheri corridor of the rail network is smaller. A 15-car train surpasses the length of track between two signals on the slow line. Trains do not get a green signal if the rake ahead has not completely cleared the portion between two signals. More 15-car rakes would, therefore, affect railway punctuality, other than passenger safety.

Western Railway authorities plan to add 22 services on Andheri-Virar stretch in January as the distance between signal poles can easily accommodate 15-car trains.

Currently, during peak hours, 4,800-5,000 commuters travel in a 12-car train, which runs 20 services in an hour with a headway of three minutes during peak hours.

However if a 15-car train is operated on this stretch, the headway would drop to four minutes, bringing down the total number of services to 15.

Senior railway officials have calculated that since a 12-car runs 240 coaches (each with over 400 people) in an hour while a 15-car uses 225 coaches, 6,000 people would be left in the lurch during peak hours. This is more than what a 12-car train carries in peak hours.

At present, four 15-car trains ply 54 services on the fast line. "We are planning to run 15-car trains on slow line starting next year. This would be easier on Andheri-Virar stretch where two signal poles are between 650-1100 metre apart," said a WR official. "We will have to rationalise the distance between signal poles to ensure there is space for 15-car trains to stand," said another.

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