Months after work on Mumbai's first air-conditioned local train began at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, the Railway Board has decided to introduce 12 such AC trains for the city in the years to come.
The decision comes a couple of days after the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the first AC coach of the local train would be tested by March this year.
The railway authorities said yesterday that the Railway Board in Delhi has asked the ICF to work on these AC locals, and also on its trials.
"The schedule for building the shell for these AC coaches for suburban EMUs is on time," said a railway official. Recent trials for the train's electrical circuitry were deemed successful. A 12-coach rake of the AC train is expected to be operated on Western Railway (WR) for field trials by March 31.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had said, in a function in the city, that they were trying to conduct trials by March. The Railway Board approved the layout and other technicalities of the AC train in the first week of March 2014.
The train, expected to cost Rs 43 crore, will have seats similar to the local trains currently running in Mumbai, with some coaches being connected by vestibules. The AC train was first announced in the Railway budget for 2012-13, and was supposed to be up and running by March 2013.
The railway ministry, under the UPA government, then pushed the deadline for commissioning the trains to July 2014. These AC trains are being procured as a special project and not under any phases of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
There are also rumours doing rounds that the Bombardier make of trains shall begin operation from January 26. However, permissions are yet to be received from the Commissioner of Railway Safety and the Railway Board.