Need to learn from Indian success in local trains

KARACHI: Pakistan despite of wasting two decades has failed to run the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) in its largest city, while the neighboring India is facilitating millions of urban commuters through successfully running local trains systems in many of its cities. The transport department of Sindh and Pakistan Railway need to sent its experts to India on a study tour to learn from the Indian success in running local trains.

Suburban rail, urban rail, commuter rail, or regional rail, plays a major role in the public transport system of many of India’s major cities. Suburban rail is defined as a rail service between a central business district and suburbs, a conurbation or other locations that draw large numbers of people on a daily basis.

The trains providing such services may be termed suburban trains. Trains on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, Chennai Suburban Railway and Kolkata Suburban Railway are referred to as “local trains” or “locals”.

Suburban rail in India operates on lines shared with other passenger and freight trains (like the Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway) or a combination of dedicated suburban lines and lines for long distance trains (like the Mumbai Suburban Railway). The infrastructure in India is owned by Indian Railways and usually operated by one or more of the railway zones of Indian Railways.

A Suburban trains that handle commuter traffic are mostly electric multiple units (EMUs). They usually have nine or twelve coaches and sometimes even fifteen to handle rush hour traffic. One unit of an EMU train consists of one power car and two general coaches. Thus a nine coach EMU is made up of three units having one power car at each end and one at the middle. The rakes in some of the suburban rails run on direct current and others on alternating current.

Many cities have their own dedicated suburban networks to cater to commuters. The suburban rail systems in Hyderabad, Pune, Barabanki-Lucknow, Lucknow-Kanpur and Bengaluru do not have dedicated suburban tracks but share tracks with long distance trains. The suburban rail system of Chennai and Mumbai has dedicated as well tracks shared with long distance trains.

India is also planning a suburban rail system for Ahmedabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

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