Mumbai Suburban Railway
मुंबई उपनगरीय रेल्वे
|Locale||Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Maharashtra, India|
|Transit type||Suburban Rail|
|Number of lines||6|
|Number of stations|
|Daily ridership||7.585 million|
|Annual ridership||2.64 billion|
|Website||Central Railway l bine|
|Began operation||16 April 1853|
|Train length||9/12/15 coaches|
|System length||427.5 kilometres (265.6 mi)|
|Track gauge||1676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Broad Gauge|
|Electrification||1500V DC/25,000V AC Overhead catenary|
|Average speed||50 km/h (31 mph)|
|Top speed||100 km/h (62 mph)|
The Mumbai Suburban Railway (Marathi: मुंबई उपनगरीय रेल्वे) consists of rapid transit on exclusive inner suburban railway lines augmented by commuter rail on main lines serving outlying suburbs to serve the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Spread over 465 km, the suburban railway operates 2,342 train services and carries more than 7.24 million commuters daily. By annual ridership (2.64 billion), the Mumbai Suburban Railway is the second busiest rapid transit system in the world. It has some of the most severe overcrowding in the world. Trains run from 4 AM until 1 AM.
- 1 History
- 2 Network
- 3 Services
- 4 On-board accommodation
- 5 Ticketing
- 6 Rolling stock
- 7 Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC)
- 8 Electrification
- 9 Safety Issues
- 10 Terrorist attacks
- 11 Future Expansion
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 Gallery
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Mumbai Suburban Railway is an offshoot of the first railway to be built by the British in India, and is also the oldest railway system in Asia. The first train ran between Bori Bunder (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and Thane, a distance of 34 km, on 16 April 1853 at 3:35 pm. The 14-coach train took 57 minutes to complete the 32 km journey, with a halt at Sion to refill the train's water tanks. Since 1991, it has faced rapid expansion. The Bombay Railway History Group has been striving to document railway heritage along this line.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway system is operated by Indian Railways' two zonal divisions Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR). The fast commuter rail corridors on Central Railway as well as Western Railway are shared with long distance and freight trains, while inner suburban services operate on exclusive parallel rapid transit tracks. WR operates the Western Line and CR operates the Central Line, Harbour Line, Trans-Harbour Line as well as the Vasai Road-Diva-Panvel line.
The Western Line follows the Western Railway northwards from Churchgate parallel to the west coast. Local services by electric multiple units (EMUs) ply between Churchgate and Dahanu Road (120 km) on exclusive parallel tracks up to Virar (60 km) while Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) service the section beyond Virar to Dahanu Road (60 km). On 16 April 2013 EMU has extended up to Dahanu Road. MEMUs also operate between Dahanu Road and Panvel via a branch line from Vasai Road. There are EMU carsheds at Mumbai Central and Kandivali. An EMU car shed is under construction between Nala Sopara and Virar which will be the largest car shed in Asia. A repair shop for EMUs is situated at Mahalaxmi.
Western Railway's EMU fleet consists of EMUs completely powered by alternating current (25 kV) power. EMUs are 12 car or 15 car formations and are differentiated as slow and fast locals. Slow trains halt at all stations, while fast ones halt at important stations only and are preferable over longer distances.
The Central Line in Mumbai consists of 3 major corridors, which bifurcate as they run into suburban satellite towns. Two corridors (one local and other through) follow the Central Railway run from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kalyan (54 km), from where it bifurcates into two lines – one to Kasara (67 km) in the north-east and the other to Khopoli (61 km) in the south-east. These two corridors constitute the 'main' Central Line. There is also a 18-km corridor between Kurla and Thane stations for use of outstation and cargo trains. The corridor is being extended further from Thane to Kalyan now as a part of the main line. The Central Line has two interchange stations with the Western Line at Parel and Dadar. Rolling stock consists of a fleet of DC as well as dual-powered EMUs. The major car sheds on this line are at Kurla and Kalwa. There are fast and slow locals here for suburban service. Slow locals halt at every station, while fast locals halts vary between Byculla, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Dombivali and Kalyan. All services plying beyond Kalyan run as slow service (halting at every station).
The Harbour Line is part of the Central Railway, and runs from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Andheri and Panvel. All Harbour Line services operate as slow services. The line operates from two separate platforms at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), and the tracks cross over the main line at Sandhurst Road, to head towards stations along Mumbai's eastern dock area. A branch line from Wadala Road joins the Western Line at Mahim and continues towards Andheri. The Harbour Line has an interchange station with the main line at Kurla, where it turns east towards Navi Mumbai. The Harbour Line further bifurcates at Vashi into two lines – one rejoins the main lines at Thane, while the other continues to Panvel. The shed for these trains is in Sanpada. A large section of the Harbour Line is elevated.
The Trans-Harbour Line connects Navi Mumbai to Thane. It runs from Thane to Vashi and Nerul. According to V Malgaonkar, Chief PRO of the Central Railway, "The objective of the Trans-Harbour Line project was to reduce the load at Kurla. The line caters to the chemical industrial belt in Navi Mumbai that goes up to Thane." Services from Panvel and Nerul have also reduced the load on Vashi. The line was started in 1993 to run goods trains between Turbhe and Kalwa. It was upgraded in 2004 to transport commuters to Thane. Services from Panvel to Thane and Nerul to Thane were started in 2010. There are currently 208 services operating on the line.
Mumbai Suburban Railway services have various such designations in wide use by Mumbaikars as well as official use:
- local train or simply local stops at every station
- fast local runs express (skipping stops) until a certain station, and from that station onward runs like a local
- fast, superfast, double-fast; also bada-fast (Hindi bada= big) run express for various lengths of route
There are also women-only cars (termed ladies), and since 1992, Ladies Special trains with the entire reserved for women passengers. A semi ladies special is a train with a few (e.g., 3) coaches reserved for women. These designations can be combined with fast', slow, etc., so you have terms such as Slow Ladies Special.
The suburban fleet consists of 9, 12 and 15-coach rakes. There are two classes of travel, including first class. The first class fare is approximately 10 times more expensive than second class, and therefore tends to be less crowded. First class compartments also have slightly better seats than second class. Because women can travel separately, there are four types of accommodation, termed 'compartments':
- general compartment also called gent's second class or simply second class as the majority of passengers in these compartments are men. The compartment is open to women and children as well.
- general first class Again commonly known as gent's first class or simply first class, since majority population is men. Women and children can also board this compartment. The coach is designated by red and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by coloring the platform walls with similar stripes.
- ladies' compartment commonly known as ladies' second class. This compartment is reserved solely for females, however male children up to the age of 13 can travel in this compartment. Men are not allowed to travel, and may face a penalty. Some of the coaches of ladies compartments are open to general public between 11:15pm – 6:30am. These are indicated by a note near the doors of the compartments. The coach is designated by green and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by coloring the platform walls with similar stripes.
- ladies first class is reserved solely for females, however male children up to the age of 13 can travel in this compartment. Men are not allowed to travel, and may face a penalty. Some of the coaches of ladies compartments are open to general public between 11:15pm – 6:30am. These are indicated by a note near the doors of the compartments. The coach is designated by red and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by coloring the platform walls with similar stripes. This compartment is often adjacent to the ladies compartment.
- handicap and cancer patients' compartment for people with disabilities or cancer. On a platform, one can locate these by signs or by following a 'Beep-Beep-Beep' sound indicator for the visually impaired. These coaches are open to all the genders. One needs a valid certificate of disability to board the compartment. Failure to do so may result in a penalty.
- senior citizens special coach is reserved for passengers above the age of 60. These coaches are open to all the genders.
- luggage compartment - heavy goods and luggage can be transported using the compartments specially designed and reserved for this purpose. The luggage compartment at the south-end of Western Line services is reserved for dabbawalas between 10 am and noon on all Virar-Churchgate services and between 2 pm – 4:30 pm on all Churchgate-Virar services. On the Central Line, the compartment is reserved for dabbawalas 10 am – 12.30 pm on all Kalyan-CST services and from 2 pm – 4.30 pm on all CST-Kalyan services.
Stations usually lack clear signage indicating the positions of compartments. However, seasoned commuters usually know them by heart.
Tickets for the suburban trains can be purchased at every train station. Travelling without a valid ticket is an offence and if caught can result into penalty. The penalty is steeper for passengers travelling in first class without a valid ticket.
Tickets can be bought for single journey (one way) or a return journey. A return ticket is valid till the next day on weekdays and till Monday if purchased on a Friday. The ticket counters usually have long queues.
Tourists can avail the option of 'Tourist ticket'. Under the tourist ticket scheme, passengers can travel unlimited times during its validity between any stations on all lines Mumbai Suburban Railway. Tickets are available for first and second class. Effective 1 August 2012, the fares for first class tickets are 270 (US$4.30) (1-day), 365 (US$5.80) (3 days) and 430 (US$6.90) (5 days). These tickets are issued maximum 3 days in advance, excluding the first day of validity. No refund is admissible on unused/partially used tourist tickets. But tourist tickets booked in advance can be cancelled before the day of validity on which charges of Rs 10 for second class and Rs 20 for first class per passenger will be deducted.
Platform Tickets are required to be purchased by those members of the public not boarding trains, but who wish to access the platforms at certain long distance termini, perhaps for the purpose of receiving or seeing off a passenger. These generally cost 5 (8.0¢ US), but this price may vary by location. Not all stations issue platform tickets. In their absence, access to the platform is free. A person can be penalized for non-possession of this ticket.
- CVMs and ATVMs
To save time, a Coupon Booklet can be purchased and the coupons can be punched for the designated fare at the Coupon Validating Machines(CVMs) at every station. The ticket fares matrix is pasted above the CVM. As of October 2012, there are approximately 575 CVMs on Mumbai Suburban Railway stations. The Central Railway network has 350 and the Western Line has 225.
There are also Smart Cards available that can be topped up (recharged with some amount) and one can use it to print tickets for themselves from an Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVMs). A Season Ticket can be purchased if one is commuting regularly. One can choose the validity of these tickets from 1-month, 3 months to a year. Season Tickets are the most cost effective and time efficient option for regular commuters.
The suburban services are run by electric multiple units (EMUs) in 191 rakes (train sets) of 9-car, 12-car and 15-car composition. To alleviate the problems of overcrowding, the 9 coach trains are being phased out and replaced with 12-coach trains. 15-coach trains were introduced on 21 November 2009. However, these are few in number.
The bulk of the current fleet of both the Western and Central railways features old rakes built by Jessop (Kolkata) and ICF (Perambur) which are capable of a maximum speed of 85 km/h in regular service. The recently introduced AC/DC rakes (with modern motors in the existing carriage designs) are capable of 100 km/h under light traffic conditions. The actual average speed of the rakes on the slow lines is about 35 km/h, while rakes on fast lines average about 45–50 km/h on a typical run.
On 12 November 2007, the first of 129 new 12-coach rakes with upgraded facilities was inducted into the fleet of the Western Railways under the MUTP project. The coaches are built of stainless steel, and have non-cushioned seats, emergency fluorescent lights, bigger windows with polycarbonate panes, better suspension systems, roof mounted forced ventilation to reduce carbon dioxide levels in packed trains, and GPS based passenger information systems in all coaches. The new rakes are much more cool and airy than the old EMUs. The motors of the new rakes also make less noise than the older ones. Since 2010 the front of the EMUs are painted yellow, so that the maintenance workers on the tracks can see the train easily. These rakes have been procured under the project at a total cost of Rs 19 billion (Rs 19 billion) (USD 431.0 million).
On 25 July 2012, Central Railway announced it was introducing trains with cushion seats in second class compartments. Cushion seats have been fixed on all the white and purple coloured EMU rakes by an in-house team of Matunga workshop. The difference between first and second class seats is that they have four-inch density and two-inch density respectively.
The cushion has been made of rubberised coir material which is fire retardant. The seat cover is made of artificial leather similar to ones used in the first class compartment. Coir is tough, durable and can spring back to shape even after constant use. Coir is cheaper compared to rubber foam or polyurethane material, which is being used for making cushion seats in first class compartments.
A nine-car train has a seating capacity of 876 and 1,752 standees – a total of 2,628. A 12-car train can seat 1,168 and accommodate 2,336 standees that is a total of 3,504 passengers and a 33% rise in carrying capacity compared to a nine-car train.
In fall 2013, brand new 12-car rakes were introduced on the railway.
Air Conditioned Rakes
The Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) in Lucknow is currently working on the design for AC trains for Mumbai. On 23 January 2012, the Railway Board approved an air conditioned rake for the Western Line because it is a comparatively straight line and is completely powered by alternating current. The air conditioned rake will have longitudinal seating and a design similar to the ones operating on Kolkata and Delhi metros.
Currently there are no AC rakes in the Mumbai Suburban Railway. However, all coaches are fitted with fans.
Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC)
To enable the Mumbai Suburban Railway to meet the demands of the ever-growing passenger traffic, the federal Government of India's Ministry of Railways and the state Government of Maharashtra have jointly envisioned the constitution of a separate corporate entity to operate the system.
The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC), a public sector unit of the Government of India under the Ministry of Railways, was incorporated under the (Indian) Companies Act, 1956 on 12 July 1999, with an equity capital of 250 million (US$4.0 million) to implement the rail component of an integrated rail-cum-road urban transport project, called Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). The cost of the rail component of the project is to be shared equally by Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra.
The Indian Railways plans to build a 700 MW gas-based plant in Thakurli. Once functional, the plant will provide all the necessary power to run suburban trains on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, and the additional power in the grid can be given to other sources. The Thakurli power plant will be set up with the help of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). It will lie on an 85acre plot next to Thakurli railway station.
Due to its extensive reach across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and its intensive use by the local urban population, the Mumbai Suburban Railway suffers from some of the most severe overcrowding in the world. Over 4,500 passengers are packed into a 9-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of 1,700. This has resulted in what is known as Super-Dense Crush Load of 14 to 16 standing passengers per square metre of floor space. Trains on the suburban line are on average more than 4 minutes apart, contributing to the problem of overcrowding. The impending introduction of new higher speed rakes may help address the issue.
On an average, about 600 people die annually on the Mumbai Suburban Rail network: over the past 10 years (2002–2012), more than 36,152 lives have been lost on tracks and 36,688 people have been injured. A record 17 people died every weekday on the city's suburban railway network in 2008. One of the reason for accidents and deaths is overcrowding (see above). Another cause of death is passengers crossing the tracks on foot to avoid footbridges. Some passengers die when they sit on train roofs to avoid the crowds and are electrocuted by the overhead electric wires, or fall while hanging from doors and window bars. However, the fatality rates have declined recently. To reduce the risk of such fatalities, automatic doors will be installed on all rakes by 2016 along with longer platforms and more frequent trains.
Central Railways in association with a behaviour architecture firm deployed neuroscience based interventions at the Wadala station, reducing fatalities by about 75%. Times of India carried a news item regarding the success of this experiment
Western Railway has pledged that its trains will stop running if "even a single person" is seen travelling on the roof.
In mid-2011 a viral video depicted a youth performing stunts while dangling from the compartment of a Harbour Line train. Following this, a boy was killed while imitating the actions performed in the video.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway has suffered 8 blasts and around 368 people are believed to have died as a result.
Due to the geographical spread of the population and location of business areas, the rail network is the principal mode of mass transport in Mumbai. As Mumbai's population has swelled, frequent overcrowding has become a serious issue. A metro system and a monorail system are under construction in Mumbai to ease the travelling conditions on the suburban railway, in addition to plans to expand the railway itself.
Navi Mumbai is expected to get approximately 180 km of railway tracks in the near future. Surveys by the MMRDA showed that passenger density in the satellite city was growing at a faster rate than both Western Railway and Central Railway’s main line. Navi Mumbai is expected to have a population of 4.8 million by 2021 and about 80% of the population will travel by train. The State Government, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and World Bank officials estimate that railway projects in Navi Mumbai and neighbouring areas of Raigad district will cost around 14,000-crore.
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-II plans to extend the Harbour Line up to Goregaon. The work is expected to be completed by March 2014. Under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III, the Harbour Line will be further extended up to Borivali.
In popular culture
The Mumbai Suburban Railway has regularly been used for film shoots. Film writer Sanjay Chauhan says, "A train is not only the lifeline of Mumbai, but love, heartbreak, separation and loneliness have been symbolized through trains since pre-independence days. A story based in Mumbai is incomplete without a train sequence, as in Baton Baton Mein and Saathiya."
In 2010, Western Railway earned 8.35 lakh from film and television shoots. That figure went up to 1.42 crore in 2012-13. WR charges 1.10 lakh for a day's shoot without any rolling stock, while one with special rolling stock is about 4.12 lakh. According to film location director, Arun Mathias, "A security deposit of 5 lakh has to be paid, besides an insurance of 48,000 taken for a week's shoot. An engine with coaches on the platform and a moving train may go up to 4.25 lakh (for 8 hours). But just a platform shoot or a sequence in a railway yard can be done for 2 lakh."
Some movies that have used the Mumbai Suburban Railway for filming are: Agneepath, Dabangg, Gangs of Wasseypur, Life In a Metro, Ghanchakkar, Kai Po Che, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again, Rajjo, Ra.One and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani.
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