Senior officials from the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) have announced that the , often referred to as the lifeline of the metropolitan city, are set to be replaced by 238 units of the Vande Bharat Metro, following approval from the Railway Board.
According to an MRVC spokesperson, these trains will be purchased as part of the ambitious Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III) and 3A (MUTP-3A).
These projects are spearheaded by the Railway Ministry and the to expand the capacity of the city's suburban rail network.
"A tech partner will manufacture these trains in compliance with the 'Make in India' initiative guidelines, under the oversight of the Centre's Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade," it has been noted.
An MRVC representative has stated that the procurement process will be managed by MRVC itself, with maintenance obligations extending over a period of 35 years.
The MUTP-III and MUTP-3A projects have been allocated budgets of ₹10,947 crore and ₹33,690 crore, respectively.
Local trains are the financial capital's lifeline, with lakhs of commuters relying on them for their daily journey.
According to railway authorities, the , an advanced train, is designed for short trips, linking cities that are up to 100 kilometres distant from each other.
A report by the Indian Express indicates that the two suburban railway lines, managed by the Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR), run for a total distance of 319 km and operate 3,129 services, inclusive of the AC locales.
The will feature lightweight, flexible solar panels on their roofs. These panels will generate electricity to run fans and lights, thus reducing the trains' dependence on overhead power supplies.
Passenger associations have indicated support for the introduction of Vande Metro trains, however, they are concerned about the premium fare charges.
Associations anticipate that fare charges will be equal to Metro trains to increase Vande Metro service acceptability.
The conversion of Mumbai's local trains to Vande Metro trains is a crucial step in modernising the city's transport system, providing commuters with increased comfort and amenities.