The Mumbai Suburban Railway, which caters to the daily commuting needs of a vast urban population, is the lifeline of Mumbai. The Central and Western segments of Mumbai rail system are operated by two railway zones, the Western Railwan and Central Railway. The suburban railway has dedicated lines separate from the long distance lines of the Indian railways. The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the busiest rapid transit system in the entire world. The railway network is spread over an area of about 465 km and there are more than 2,300 train services. The average number of commuters who travel from these trains is about 7.5 million. The Mumbai Suburban Railway is one of the oldest railway systems in Asia and was built by the British in India.
The Indian Railways operate the system of the Mumbai Suburban Railway in two different zones - Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR). The WR operates the Western Line, while the CR operates the Central Line, the Harbour Line, the Trans-Harbour Line and the Vasai Road-Diva Panvel Line.
The Western Line covers a large section of Mumbai's suburbs. It follows the Western Railway northwards from Churchgate parallel to the west coast. The Western Railway's suburban section in Mumbai extends from the city's business centre Churchgate to Dahanu Road and covers a distance of 123 km and 36 stations. In 1928, the first electric train was commenced between Colaba and Andheri. Local services ply from Churchgate to Danahu via Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), while the services beyond Virar to Dahanu Road ply with the Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs).
The Central Line of Mumbai comprises three main corridors that branch out when they run into the suburban satellite towns. There are two corridors that follow the Central Railway from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kalyan. From here, it divides into Kasara and Khopoli. For the suburban service here, there are both fast and slow locals. The slow locals halt at every station, while the fast locals hault at only a few stations. There is also a line from Vasai Road-Bhiwandi Road-Diva to Panvel, which is a part of the Central Railways. Another line, i.e. Nerul/CBD Belapur-Uran, is under construction and will be operational soon.
The Harbour Line is also a part of the Central Railways that runs from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Andheri and Panvel. The line operate as slow service. A branch line of this main Line from Wadala Road joins the Western Line at Mahim and goes till Andheri. Larger section of this line is elevated.
There is also a trans-harbour line that runs between Vashi and Thane, and Nerul and Panvel. It connects Navi Mumbai to Thane.
The local train services begin around 4 a.m. every morning and end at 1 a.m. There are few trains that even run till 2.30 a.m.
The tickets for the trains can be bought for either a single journey (one-way) or a return journey. If a return journey is to be undertaken, the return ticket is valid till the midnight of the following day if it is purchased on weekdays and till Monday in case it is bought on Friday. The tickets can be bought from the following modes:
Ticket Booking Office: Commuters can buy tickets from the booking counters available at all the suburban stations in cash. It is to be noted that a journey has to start in an hour after the purchase of the ticket.
ATVM: At all the stations, ATVMs are available from where one can buy first and second class single or return tickets. ATVMs can also be used to renew season tickets. Smart Cards are used to buy tickets through ATVMs. Smart Cards can be bought from any booking offices at the stations and can be recharged as per requirements. Commuters are given five percent extra value with every recharge.
CVM: The commuters can also buy coupon booklets from all the suburban stations. These booklets are available only in the denomination of Rs. 50 and contain 10 leaves of Rs. 5 each for the use of the travellers. Commuters can get the coupons of the required value punched in Coupon Validating Machines at any station before the commencement of journey. These coupons are valid only for the second class single journey.
JTBS: JTBS is a scheme under which several counters are provided outside the stations from where the commuters can buy unreserved tickets by paying Re. 1 extra per ticket. Currently, there are seven functional counters in the Mumbai suburban section.
IRCTC: The official website of the Indian Railways has a provision for the bookings of the seasoned tickets of the Mumbai Suburban Railways via online mode only.
The commuters should note that traveling without ticket in the Mumbai trains is an offence and can result in a penalty. In addition to that, people who want to access the platforms due to certain reasons such as receiving or seeing off any passenger have to buy platform tickets. It is also a punishable offence if any person is found without a ticket.
The trains consist of rakes with 9, 12 and 15 coaches. There are two classes of travel - first class and second class. The fare in the first class is much higher than that of the second class. The first class compartments also have better seating arrangements. There are some reserved compartments too; hence their accommodation is divided into four different types of compartments:
General Compartment: This is locally known as gents' second class or second class. Most of the travellers in this compartment are men, but it is open for all.
Ladies' First Class: These compartments are solely reserved for female passengers although male children till the age of 13 can also travel in the same. However, some of the coaches of the compartment are open for men from 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. These coaches are painted in red and yellow strips.
Ladies' Compartment: This is the general second class compartment meant only for ladies. Male children up to the age of 13 are allowed to travel in this compartment. The coaches are open for male passengers from 11:15 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. are marked in green and yellow slant strips.
Handicap and Cancer Patient Compartment: The compartment is reserved for cancer patients or people with disabilities. There are signs or sound indicators meant for visually impaired to help locate the compartment. Both male and female passengers can travel in this compartment, but they need to carry the certificate of disability with them.
Senior Citizen Coach: This coach is reserved for people above the age of 60 and is open for all genders.
Luggage Compartment: This is the compartment wherein heavy luggage and goods can be transported. You can check the above map to know more about the routes of the Mumbai local train network.
Last Updated on : January 25, 2017