INDIA: The World Bank agreed on June 29 to provide a US$430m loan towards the US$970·5m Mumbai Urban Transport Project phase 2A. This aims to improve capacity on Mumbai's suburban rail network, which the World Bank said suffers from some of the most severe overcrowding in the world with 4 500 passengers at densities up to 16 people/m2 in nine-car trains with a rated capacity of just 1 700.

The network was used by an estimated 6·4 million passengers a day in 2006-07, representing more than half of all motorised trips in the metropolitan region. As well as strengthening institutional capacity, MUTP-2A will add up to 720 electric multiple-unit cars to increase peak capacity. These are to be supplied by Chennai's Integral Coach Factory, with the World Bank funding the electrical equipment. Trains will be lengthened from 12 to 18 cars, and speeds increased from 100 to 110 km/h.

Maintenance and stabling facilities will be expanded at the existing maintenance facilities at Kurla and Virar, and conversion of the remaining sections of the Central Railway from 1·5 kV DC to 25 kV AC will be completed. The Research Designs & Standards Organisation is working with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corp to specify the electrical work needed, which could reduce power consumption by up to 35%.

Indian Railways will raise funds for its share of the 2A project cost through developing land at Bandra East.