Buoyed by the success of the Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi, the Railways is planning to explore the possibility of running such semi-high speed trains between Mumbai to Pune, Nashik and Vadodara.
The Vande Bharat Express has reduced the travel time between New Delhi and Varanasi by 40 per cent.
“We want to check whether the same train can be replicated for Mumbai to Pune or Mumbai to Nashik or Mumbai to Baroda (Vadodara)….trial runs will begin in the next week,” member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board Rajesh Agrawal said.
“We are going to start trial runs from the next week on the Vande-Bharat pattern. One AC-EMU rake and one non-AC MEMU rake will be given to the Central and Western Railways.
If the trial goes as per plan, we can reduce the travel time between Mumbai to Pune and Nashik to within two hours,” said Mr Agrawal, an ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India.
“No final decision has been taken yet. As of now, we are going to explore only the possibility,” he said.
Traffic congestion and upgradation of infrastructure including the tracks are bigger challenges for the railways, he said.
Mr Agrawal also said that by the end of March 2020, the railways has planned to run 12 AC locals in Mumbai, six each on the Central and Western suburban lines.
“We have no shortage of coaches as the coach production has seen a quantum jump…Till previous year, all coach factories used to produce less that 4,000 coaches annually and this year the number has been scaled up to 6,000.
Next year our target is to produce 8,000 coaches,” he said.
Mr Agrawal, who was in the city to review various works carried out by the Central Railway and Western Railway, lauded preparations for the monsoon, and expressed hope that even a rainfall of 200 mm in 24 hours will not disrupt the local train services this year.