Rail journeys between Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus are set to become faster by March 2010. When trains running on the Titwala-Kasara-Igatpuri section of the Central Railway line switched from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) in 2006, journeys between CST and Kasara became quicker by 15 minutes. Central Railway will start conversion of the Thane-CST sector in March 2009. To that end, tenders were recently floated to increase the height of five bridges-one each at Masjid and Matunga as well as three at Kurla. The DC to AC conversion project was sanctioned in 1998 at a cost of Rs 648.76 crore. This results in a 10 to 15% drop in power consumption as AC has lower power losses. Also, faster trains with higher load-carrying capacities become a reality as AC has 16 times extra power than DC-run trains. Incidentally, Mumbai is the only pocket on the entire Indian Railway line where trains still run on direct current. The conversion would permit train speeds to touch 100 kmph from the present 70 kmph. The change may not be felt on the suburban slow lines as stations are located very close to each other. However, fast train corridors will benefit. The entire DC-to-AC conversion project is being executed in four phases. Phase I is almost complete; phase II would be completed by March 2010. Phase II includes Thane-Turbhe Rail Corridor while Phase 3 consists of Tilak Nagar-Panvel rail corridor. Other benefits of the project include better train control, lower maintenance, reduction in wear-and-tear of the contact wire, higher reliability and fewer power stations. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Ajaz Khan for NMTV News.
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