Mumbai, Dec 25: The Indian Railways on Monday flagged off the country's first air-conditioned suburban local train for Mumbai commuters, 150 years after the first suburban local was hauled by a steam engine in 1867, officials said. The Christmas and the pre-New Year bonanza saw the first AC local's maiden run for the media, officials, some political party activists and commuters between Borivali and Churchgate on the Western Railway. Though a public holiday, there were several hundreds of curious and wide-eyed commuters who crowded the Borivali station and other stations en route to gawk at the new wonder, which will start full-fledged operations from January 1, 2018, with 12 daily services. According to the Western Railway chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar, six return services (total 12) shall be operated on the suburban sector at regular intervals on all weekdays, with the weekend kept free for maintenance purposes.
As per current plans, of these 12 daily services, eight will be operated as 'fast trains' on the congested Churchgate-Virar (Palghar) sector, three between Churchgate-Borivali, both with halts only at major stations, while one will ply as a slow service halting at all stations between Mahalaxmi-Borivali. The Western Railway has also announced an introductory fare to lure commuters to the new, 'cool' style of commuting, with the fare to be 1.2 times the cost of a first class one-way regular ticket, and later the fare will be 1.3 times. There will be weekly, fortnightly and monthly season tickets available at 5.0 times, 7.5 times and 10 times the fare of regular first class ticket rates, for the time-being, besides a 5 per cent GST and other applicable charges.