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The Locals And You
ChurchgateThe Indian Railways have a daily all-India passenger traffic of one crore and ten lakhs, of whom 56 lakh are Mumbaites.

Literally the lifeline of the city, the suburban local trains (locals) bring the entire populace together – all in need of earning their daily bread. Executives of foreign banks at Nariman PoChhatrapati  Shivaji Terminusint, bank clerks, local sabziwalas (vegetable vendors) and even machimars (fishermen) from Versova rub shoulders everyday. Death might be the Great Leveller elsewhere -- in Mumbai it's the locals.

The suburban railway system is divided into three main segments – Central, Western and Harbour.

The Central Railway operates the biggest suburban network in the world, carrying over three million passengers everyday on 1079 trains, spanning 66 stations. These trains start from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (C.S.T), previously known as The Victoria Terminus or V.T.  The Western Railway locals begin their long journey from Churchgate station, and the Harbour line, which is operated by the Central Railway, originates from C.S.T.

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History On Wheels
History on wheelsThe history of Mumbai's railway system is as old as the history of Indian railways. The Mumbai railway system has many firsts to its credit. Interestingly, the first train of the Indian Railways travelled between Bori Bunder (later known as Victoria Terminus) and Thane on April 16, 1853. Even the first electric train was introduced in Mumbai on February 3, 1925. In fact the first electric train, which ran between Boree Bunder (VT) and Kurla, was the first in India. It was flagged off by Governor General of Bombay, Sir Leslie Wilson.
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Ladies’ Day Out
Mumbai can proudly proclaim that she is the safest city for women and children in India. Even on a midnight local from Churchgate to Virar, you often find many women passengers fearlessly travelling in the ladies compartment of the train. Women are given a pride of place in the locals, not just with separate ladies compartments, but also with special locals only for them. Since 1992, women have been travelling in comfort in the Ladies Specials. The ladies’ specials run twice a day (morning and evening) in both railway segments, marking yet another first.

Surekha Yadav The First Lady Motorwoman
April 13, 2000 was a historic day for Mumbai and also Surekha Yadav, who became the first motor woman to run a local train on the Indian Railways. Although few commuters of the 10.54 am local between Dombivli and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus were aware of it, a lady was in the driving seat of that train. 

A diploma holder in electrical engineering, Surekha joined the railways in 1989. After undergoing a one-year training for the post of assistant driver, she drove goods trains from the car shed to the station for ten years. The daughter of a farmer from Satara in Maharashtra, she is married to a policeman and has two children. Her family has always been highly supportive of her career choice.

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Coupon Validating Machines
Coupon Validating MachinesBoth the Western and Central Railways have introduced a system to help passengers avoid long queues to buy tickets. They can opt for the 'coupon book,' which contains various denominations of tickets. These coupons can be punched at the validating machines placed near ticket counters. The coupon books, which are refundable, cost Rs 30/- or Rs 50/-.
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Pointers For Local Passengers

  • Trains do not run between 1:30 am and 4:30 am.

  • There are fast and slow locals. The fast locals stop only at the main stations and slow trains stop at all stations.

  • Avoid rush hours – 7:00 am to 11:00 am and 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

  • Electronic signboards at all stations provide information on train destinations and on whether the trains are fast or slow.

  • The ticket seller will also be able to quide you about the platform from where you can get your train.

  • First and II class compartments: I class has fewer commuters, thinly padded seats and a little more breathing room than the II class compartment.

  • Children under five years can travel free. Children under 12 are charged half the adult fare.

  • Trains are not air-conditioned and smoking is forbidden.

  • Trains stop at suburban stations for about 10 seconds, so make sure you're prepared in advance for boarding or disembarking.

  • It's a smart strategy to sit as close to the door as possible, in order to disembark fast.

  • Women should take advantage of "ladies only" carriages; boys under 12 years can travel with their mothers.

  • First class carriages are often marked by red stripes; ladies-only carriages are often, but not always, marked by green stripes.

  • The first carriage on the train is usually a ladies-only compartment.

  • Station platforms have signs indicating where the I class and the ladies-only carriages pull to a halt.

  • If you plan to get off from a rush-hour train, start manoeuvring your way to the exit two stops before your destination.

  • There is a special compartment for handicapped persons in certain trains; such persons should board locals that have a wheel chair symbol in front..

  • It's not a good idea to stand on the footboard of the trains.

  • Nor is it intelligent for men to get into the ladies compartment. There are instances of male passengers being pushed out of compartments from a moving train.

  • Ignore bhajan [devotional music] singers. They are noisy; an argument with them will take you nowhere, since people are touchy about religious matters.

  • Pickpockets have a field day during rush hours. Take care of your valuables.
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Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation [M. R.V.C.]

Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a public sector joint venture between the Union Government, Railway Ministry and the Maharashtra Government was formed on 29th April 2000. The Corporation was set up to meet the demands of the ever-growing rail passenger traffic in the city. MRVC will be involved in planning and execution of integrated rail projects for the development of Mumbai suburban rail services and rehabilitation of people affected by the projects.

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Benefits To Commuters
  • Increased travelling comfort through reduced overcrowding during peak hours.

  • Smooth passenger flow inside the coach.

  • Better ventilation and air circulation.

  • Better entry and exit at stations.

  • Higher frequency of train service during peak hours.

  • Improved punctuality of trains.

  • Reduction in journey time.

  • Reduction in pollution.

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