In a major development for the Mumbai suburban railway network, often referred to as the lifeline of the city, plans are underway to upgrade the existing trains to Vande Metro trains. The aim is to provide commuters with faster, safer, and more comfortable travel options. The Railways Ministry has issued an order to the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to procure 238 suburban trains, which will be transformed into modern Vande Metro trains. This initiative draws inspiration from the successful Vande Bharat Express, India's first indigenous semi-high-speed train.
The Union Budget 2023-24 included an announcement that the Vande Metro trains will be state-of-the-art coaches operating in major cities, covering shorter distances of around 100 kilometers. Currently, the Central Railways and Western Railways operate the two suburban railway corridors in Mumbai, spanning a total of 319 kilometers. These corridors connect five districts, including Thane, Palghar, Raigad, and Mumbai suburban. With a total of 3,129 services, including AC local trains, the Central and Western railway lines accommodate a significant number of passengers, with the AC trains alone carrying approximately 60 lakh passengers daily.
To enhance the commuting experience for these passengers, the MRVC plans to revamp the existing train fleet with 238 Vande Metro trains. The Chief Public Relations Officer of MRVC, Sunil Udasi, confirms that the trains will be developed by a technology partner, adhering to the Make in India guidelines of the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade. The acquisition of these trains falls under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III) and 3A (MUTP-3A).