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India’s first semi-air-conditioned local train is likely to start operating on Mumbai’s suburban railway network in December.

The railway board has again initiated steps to run semi-AC rakes on the suburban network though there are challenges due to complex coach configuration of rakes.

According to the plan, first-class compartments in suburban trains will be replaced with AC compartments. Twelve-coach trains have three first-class compartments, while 15-coach ones have six.

The Indian Railways is working with the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai to manufacture AC local trains and send them to both the Central and Western railway by September. The trains will undergo trials and software test on the Central and Western Railway.

“We are studying the designs for the semi-AC local train. The ICF will send the AC trains in September. After trials, it will be introduced on the suburban railway tracks,” said Rajesh Agarwal, member (rolling stock), Railway Board.

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 “We are reviewing the shift in passengers, after the introduction of semi-AC local trains. Our engineers are looking into the mechanism of replacing a few coaches with AC ones,” said a senior western railway official.

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