15-coach trains for Mumbai railway commuters: In the next few years, the Western division of Indian Railways or Western Railway is likely to witness a major change. Railway commuters can expect less crowded local train services between Andheri and Virar as Western Railway is likely to run 15-coach local trains on the slow corridor between these railway stations, stated an HT report. At present, only the trains, which run over the fast corridor consist of 15 coaches while on the other hand, trains which run over the slow corridor have 12 coaches. The 15-coach trains, which were introduced in 2009 on Western Railway have 25 per cent more passenger carrying capacity than that of 12-coach trains.
Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of Western Railway confirmed that in order to accommodate the longer rakes, at least 25 platforms across 14 railway stations in the section will be extended by railway officials. The development includes 8 island platforms, which are placed in between two tracks.
According to a Western Railway official, the railway platforms will be extended by up to 76 metres, either on a single side or on both sides. In most of the railway stations, the length of platform number one and two will be extended, while in some cases, length of platform number two and three and three and four will also be extended. He also said that the project will cost around Rs 25 crore and to appoint a contractor for extending the platforms, the bidding process is on. A railway official said that while the 12-car train carries 4,300 passengers on daily basis, the 15-coach train will be able to carry over 5,000 passengers. He also said that the government allocated the funds for this project in union budget 2018-19.
At present, 42 fast train services with three 15-coach locals are being operated by Western Railway. In 2012, these trains were launched by the Central Railway, which runs 16 services. As there is always a heavy rush between Andheri and Virar section, the slow corridor was selected, some railway officials said. Another Western Railway official stated that the space constraint is another reason for the extension of platforms, the report stated.