Top 5 Mantras for Boarding a Mumbai Train


The Mumbai locals are not mere mode of transportation but they also bring and bind the city together

Top 5 Mantras for boarding a Mumbai Local

If you are claustrophobic, then the crowded Mumbai suburban trains could be the last place you would like to be in the city.  With 6.1 million commuters travelling every day on the suburban trains popularly known as “locals”, the network arguably has the highest passenger density anywhere in the world.

The Mumbai Suburban Railway is in fact the oldest railways in Asia having been in operation since 1847. It operates three lines, the Central Line, the Harbor Line and the Western Line that connects the city of Mumbai and its suburbs.  

To say that the “locals” are the lifeline of Mumbai would not be an exaggeration. If one does not travel on them, then one would surely be missing out on an experience that exhilarates and enlivens the essence of the Maximum City and showcases the resilience of its people in the quest for a better tomorrow. The touch, the smell and the sights that you encounter on a local are things to behold and cherish, for life.

In the following paragraphs, we present to you our top five mantras for boarding a suburban train in Mumbai, an adventure in itself. 

Criss Cross of Railway Lines

1) Choose your “lines’ well- The locals ply on three lines, the Western, Central and Harbor lines. The first starts from Churchgate and the latter two from Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Thus, you need to be certain about which line your destination falls on.

Though the Western and Central lines meet at Dadar and Harbor and Central lines meet at Kurla, it’s better to read between the proverbial “lines” before boarding a Mumbai Suburban Train as CST and Churchgate stations are quite nearby and its always better to go in for a terminal boarding to save you from mid journey hassles.

A Fast Local

2) Choose your "fast" or "slow", carefully!- The suburban railway system of Mumbai on all the three lines have “fast” and “slow” trains that stop at designated stations. The fast trains only stop at stations which are the major districts/areas of the city with maximum influx of commuters and which have importance as key points in Mumbai.

Thus, if you board a “fast local” it would not stop at all the stations on a particular route. So, if your particular destination is designated as “slow” and you board a "fast" train thinking it would lead you to your destination faster, you would be badly mistaken as the train will simply bypass your destination and stop only at the next "fast" station which could very well be far off from your intented destination. Slow trains on the other hand stop at all the stations on a particular route and hence if you are in a hurry and your destination is a designated "fast" station, you are in for a long haul, on an otherwise fast journey.  

3) Smart cards/coupons to jump the ticket queue - If seeing long queues at the ticket counters makes you scream in frustration then getting a smart card or a bunch of coupons could just be the thing that  lessen your urge to do so. If you are in the city for a short trip and have to commute on the "locals", smart cards and coupons that are available at all the stations are a wonderful way to jump the long queues.

An empty coach

4) An Empty coach could be too good to be true- If you see a comparatively empty coach in an otherwise crowded local, better not board it. It is highly likely that the coach is reserved for the physically challenged. If you board such a compartment thinking it to be your lucky day, the emergence of the ticket collector would be enough to dispel any notions of luck. 

5) When in a crowd, enjoy it- Try to avoid boarding a local during office rush hours especially from 8.30 am to 10 am and between 7 pm to 9.30 pm, as it really is crowded. But if you cannot avoid it, then the best and only thing to do is to enjoy the crowd that encompasses you.

It provides you a great opportunity to try to soak in the colorful chit chats, sights and way of life of the common “Mumbaikar” commuting on the lifeline of Mumbai, the Mumbai local!

The crowd in the train