The funds will be used to support Mumbai Urban Transport Project 2A which aims to increase vehicle capacity during peak hours, reduce overcrowding, shorten journey times and improve operational efficiency. As many as 720 vehicles will be added to the system while the project will also expand maintenance facilities, provide additional lines and complete the conversion of the Central Railway from 1.5kV dc to 25kV ac.

With an overall cost of Rupees 53 billion ($US 1.15 billion), the state government and Indian Railways (IR), which are sharing the cost of the project, will now have to push ahead with securing the additional funds required. Officials from both the state government and IR have confirmed that revenues raised from developing a plot of land at Bandra East will be central in these efforts.

Mr Hubert Nove-Josserand, World Bank senior urban transport specialist and project team leader, says that project 2A is intended to have a similar impact as the first Mumbai Urban Transport Project which has already managed to reduce the level of crowding in suburban trains from 4500 to 4100 passengers per nine-coach train at peak hours in spite of traffic increases.

"This follow-up project will further improve the capacity, operational efficiency, level of comfort and strengthen the institutional capacity of the agencies in charge of the suburban rail system in the Mumbai Metropolitan Area."