Whenever we think of Mumbai, two things which immediately come to our minds are the dabbawalas and the local trains. While the former is restricted to Maharashtra only, the latter is not really unique to that part of India, but is present in every nooks and corners of the country—and, herein lays the twist. To excel in something unique to that part of the country is much easier than the one which is present everywhere. Ok, let’s cut down on all this and look at some of the unique features of local trains in Mumbai straightway—
15. Cheap fare
Mumbai might be one of the most expensive cities in India, but if you’re traveling around in a local train, then you’re lucky! To travel a distance of 118-120 kilometers (maximum), you need to shell out as less an amount as 30 bucks!
14. First class compartment
It is perhaps the only local trains in India with a “first” class compartment—though it remains exceptionally empty even during the peak hours.
13. 2.2 billion passengers/year
The suburban railways in Mumbai ferry around 2.2 billion passengers every year whereas the population of the world is around 6 billion.
12. Striking frequency
The local trains ply regularly between all major and minor stations in Mumbai in 4-5 minutes’ interval. There’s only a gap of around 3 to 4 hours between the last train of the day and the first train of the next day.
11. Crowded in peak hours
What? Are you talking about window seats? You have every right to feel lucky if you get a proper place to stand in the local trains of Mumbai in peak hours.
10. Moving towards exit?
Everyone commuting daily on the trains witness quite regularly those moments when they do not have to make any attempt to move towards the exit; the crowd does the honor of pushing them without any hesitation—especially if that’s Churchgate station!
9. ‘Adjustable’ seats
We all know that there are only three seats per row in a local train. But for those who travel daily on the local trains, there’s always the fourth seat available irrespective of the “width” of the persons seated.
8. People on the doors
You’ll always find passengers hanging from the local trains of Mumbai—irrespective of the fact whether it is crowded or not. When crowded, for obvious reasons, people have to keep hanging from the doors, and when empty, people somehow feels a certain urgency of inhaling some fresh air as a result of which they invariably keep themselves hanging from the massive doors!
7. Hop in!
The trains are never quite full for the passengers commuting daily—by hook or by crook, they have to enter the train even if the next train is to arrive after 3 minutes.
6. No place in bogies, no worries
If the local lads see the trains too overcrowded to enter, they would simply hop on to the narrow pipes connecting the bogies and be seated there—sometimes, they would even hang from the window panes. If you think we’re exaggerating, you may just ask some locals for clarification.
5. Live telecast of Ekta Kapoor’s soaps
If you’re too much into the drama of daily soaps, you’re surely going to have a great time at the train where you’ll get to see quarrels, fights and even an insight into the tidbits of personal “saas-bahu” quarrels.
4. Time matters
To the daily commuters, train timings are the most important events in the life—if you’ve missed one train, you’ll surely going to rot in hell!
3. Video coach
You would know the significance of “video coach” only if you’re a daily-passenger of the Mumbai local trains. These are the first class female coach (for the polished ladies!) attached to the general male coach with only a window in between. Ah! Imagine the sheer bliss you get on over-crowded trains!
2. Jumping jacks at Thambevali
No we’re not talking of any fantasy series, we’re talking here of a “real” invisible station which lies between Borivali and Kandivali, which is referred to as Thambevali. No matter what happens, the train never fails to halt here—and, everyday, local passengers would hop off here!
1. The cult of window seat
The biggest deal onboard the local trains is when you get the window seat—you’re none less than a prince. And, if you happen to get hold of a window seat if you hadn’t board the train from its inception point, then you’re surely the Hero of the Day!