Rs 10,000 for a Ride on the Last DC Local Tomorrow
MUMBAI: The Direct Current (DC) driven suburban local trains will ply for the last time on the Harbour Line tomorrow as part of a special service run by the Central Railways from Kurla to CST wherein passengers can book a historic ride for Rs 10,000.
"We are operating this special service to mark the irreplaceable contribution of DC rakes in the suburban local operations. Also, this would be an unmissable offer to get a ride on the last DC local," General Manager of Central Railways, S K Sood told reporters here.
This special train would leave Kurla at 11.30 PM (on Saturday) and reach CST at 12.15 AM on Sunday. Also, people will get to witness the 'live' conversion (from 1,500 DC to 25,000 volt AC traction).
After the train reaches CST, our team will start the conversion work of DC to AC, Sood said, adding a special function will be held at the CST heritage building here, where participants will get to see the 'live' conversion. Sood said money collected by levying Rs 10,000 per passenger would be given to the drought-hit in Maharashtra.
The iconic yellow-and-maroon direct current (DC) suburban local trains that served the metropolis for more than 90 years, started its first journey on February 3, 1925 when the first electric local ran between CST and Kurla on the Harbour line, marking the beginning of electrification of Railways in India.
However, CR's latest initiative has drawn the fury of railway activists and experts who are of the opinion that this has nothing to do with end railway travellers.
A member of Divisional Railway Users' Consultative Committee (DRUCC) of Mumbai Division of CR, requesting anonymity said, "by charging Rs 10,000 for a single trip, CR railway officers have ensured that only those who are very rich and perhaps never travel by local trains can avail this opportunity. This is the height of the stupidity shown by the so-called intellectual class officers."
He claimed that CR would find it hard to sell the ticket for even Rs 100.
Former DRUCC member of Mumbai Division of CR and railway issues expert, Rajiv Singal said, "Railway officers think common travellars as rich as they are themselves. A common railway enthusiast would think 10,000 times before spending Rs 10,000 on a single trip.
"A second class passenger will get yearly pass for five years while first class passenger would get a pass for over three years by shelling out this amount," he said.
Singal also said the cause to collect funds for the drought-affected was quite good but the method adopted to fulfil it, was unfeasible.
Another railway expert and president of Yatri Sangh Mumbai, Subhash Gupta said, "I was really shocked to know that Railways would charge Rs 10,000 from each passenger. This is going to backfire."
"I have tweeted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu about this nonsensical move and have advised them that if Railways really want to help the drought-affected, then its officers should donate from their pocket or salary," Gupta said.
Students from JJ School of Arts, who collaborated with CR for organising the event, have prepared to make it memorable for the participants, said Sood.
The participants will have to follow a specific dress code and will be given a grand welcome with a special band during their journey from Kurla to CST.