Beginners' Guide to Travelling in Mumbai Local Trains

Guest post by Blessen Varghese a.k.a. 'Mallu Mumbaikar':

1. Travel as light as possible with little or no luggage. If you do have a luggage, then make sure you also have your name on it or else some stranger might come to the happy realization that his great grandfather’s uncle’s brother-in-law had lost a similar bag/suitcase in 1936 and stake his claim over it.
2. Avoid peak hours, which would be, let me see… ahem… almost throughout the day! Basically, avoid traveling!
3. Make sure you are not allergic to the combination of sweet ‘aroma’ of oil, fish and sweat! If you are, constant traveling will make you get used to the same.
4. If you are a first-class traveler, then be sure to apologize for accidentally pushing or stepping on someone. If you are traveling by second-class, then be street smart and blame the ‘accident’ or ‘incident’ on the person standing behind you. Before doing this, make sure there IS a person standing behind you or else, you will be in big trouble.
5. Amongst all the good qualities that a Mumbaikar possesses, politeness is NOT one of them. So, if someone is hell bent on picking up an argument with you, be polite and remain as quiet as possible. Your attitude will surprise him. The guy that is picking up the argument might just have had a fight with his wife at home and may be removing it all on you!
6. If your station is just five stops away from the starting point, then don’t be dumb in trying to find a seat, for if you do, you may never be able to get off even after the tenth stop. Remain standing, and do so closer to the door that you will be getting off from! If you do not know which side your platform falls, then ask your co-passengers. But make sure the person you ask is not a mirror image of you yourself. You might just end up either on a wrong station or on the tracks, the latter being not a very exciting prospect!
7. If you are going to be a regular traveler, catching the same train and hoping onto the same compartment will help you make new friends. These guys will stand by you whenever there is an argument.
- As posted in Blessen Varghese's blog

Vashi local starts late today

The 8.38 am Vashi local to CST started late by 20-25 minutes today. Also, other harbour line trains were running late by 15 minutes in the morning.

Safety in trains: HT dedicates a page

Dead bodies, rapes, molestation cases... do we want Mumbai local trains to be known for all this? 

While railway authorities are continuously making improvements for the comfort and security of commuters, something seems amiss.

Now, following the gang rape of a girl near Kalyan railway station on June 21 and the other sad incidents in the recent past, HT has dedicated an entire page (page 6, metro) on issues that have been shocking the Mumbai local train commuters.

It's good to see that someone is giving this kind of importance to the safety issues. When once a station master told me that it's tough to have a cop in every single ladies compartment of every train, I  understood that allocating so many resources will be actually too much. But after many months, the incidents have only increased and worsened.

While the authorities find a solution and ensure 100% safety, should we just wait and watch? It's time to be more alert while travelling and take sensible decisions for our own safety.

Here are some tips to travel safe:
  • Don't wait in a secluded spot
  • Don't board empty compartments in very late or early hours
  • Raise an alarm or take necessary steps when you sense trouble
  • Don't hesitate to report any inappropriate behaviour
  • Carry a pepper spray (do let us know where we can find it)
  • Stay on the phone with someone friend / family member when you are travelling very late in an almost empty train, keep them informed about your whereabouts
 Add to the suggestions in the comments section here / Facebook page of this site.

Tata bye bye to India's first railway bridge

The Thane creek bridge that gave us the first-ever popular photograph of the first Indian train will soon cease to exist. Read more about it in the article Curtains down on India's first railway bridge by Rajendra Aklekar.

Do share your opinion on the same

Fastest local train on Western Railway

The fast train can run at a very high speed (130 kmph). Read more about the train and the doubts people have about it -
Western Railway conducts trial of its fastest local train - Hindustan Times

Explosive device found in train, blast averted

Hundreds of lives were saved today (June 17, 2011) as an explosive device found in Kolkata-Guwahati Kanchenjunga Express and defused in time.

The train reached Guwahati station at its scheduled time early in the morning and Assam police started the the routine frisking of the train. The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was found in a box placed in one of the coaches of the Kolkata-Guwahati Kanchenjunga Express.

Let's all stay alert while travelling in trains and report unidentified objects to the authorities. 

Common lies you hear in Mumbai local trains

Mumbai local trains have created many liars... but what to do, the trains are so crowded and add to the daily stress. Here's a list of the common lies we get to hear. Do add to the list here in the comments section or post on Twitter with #trainlies

 1. “Oh Madam, zyaada smart nahi banneka. Mere pass FIRST class pass hai isliye iss compartment mein hoon. But I won’t show it to you. Jo karne ka hai karo!” (By some commuters who travel 1st class without valid pass.)

2. “Mujhe next station pe utarney ka hai isliye door pe khada hoon, mujhe koi shauk nahi hai idhar hawa khaaneka!” (By some commuters who travel in footboard of super-crowded trains only to get some air... don’t be fooled, they are not getting off until the last station!)

3. “Arre mera ticket mere husband ke pass hai, par woh gents’ compartment mein hai...” (by ladies who travel ticketless, however 50% times it’s genuine!)

4. “She pushed me.” (By the one who pushes you ahead and blames on someone else who blames someone else...)

5. “I am at Khar only, will reach Bandra in 5 minutes.” (By a commuter who just boarded the train from Andheri and whose friends are waiting for him at Bandra for 30 mins.)

Badla at Badlapur station

The Pandharpur-Mumbai train was running late by four hours yesterday (June 13, 2011) and then it was made to halt near Badlapur station for more than an hour. Damn, we know how irritating it is when our trains halts mid-way for even a minute! Obviously, the passengers were irritated and they lost their temper when other trains passed by while their train was stationary.

Tumhaari train train, hamaari train fail???

Eventually, when a goods train started to pass, some furious passengers of the Pandharpur-Mumbai train got off and stopped it. Of course, they were 'successful' as the goods train had to be then diverted to another route and their train then started at around 9.15 am.

In the process what the passengers didn't realise was that their fury would result in a greater consequence... an unplanned badla: Tum hamaari train late karo, hum saari trains late karengey! Due to their protest and all the drama, local trains services on the central line were affected for the entire day. Reportedly, the suburban trains were running late by 10 minutes until evening!

So who is to blame?

The passengers? Well, imagine being stranded at a station for around 6 hours and being clueless.
The motorman? What could he do? We suppose he was just following orders or had to ensure that the local trains that carry thousands of passengers every minute don't get affected due to his train.
The rains? Seriously?

I think that proper announcements in the train would have helped. If the passengers had been continuously updated about the situation and informed why their train had to stop while others moved, perhaps they must have understood that the reason was genuine. They should not have been forced to keep guessing, right?

News source: Hindustan Times

Harbour, Central line trains running late

And then people jump from trains!

It rained all night and as always in such situations the trains are running late today (June 11, 2011).

There was water logging on the tracks (4.30 pm update) near Kurla station. Trains in Central as well as Harbour line trains were seen queued up behind each other.

And then people started jumping off the trains. Why? Well with no accurate announcements in the trains, some clueless commuters jumped onto the tracks at Tilak Nagar to reach Kurla station. Others simply wanted to have a clearer view of the situation ahead! I know, you don't find this surprising... yeh toh hamesha ki baat hai. But we must understand that in such situations trains don't run as per schedule and we should not occupy the tracks as it can create unnecessary panic

I urge commuters to stay calm and not jump on tracks as it could be fatal.

Image courtesy: Anup Khanna

Trains late on second day of monsoon

As expected, trains are running late today (June 3, 2011)... looks like the Train Gods were defeated by the Rain Gods hands down.

Harbour line train status update at 10.00 pm: Train to Vashi arrived at 10 pm. Before this, a train had left at 9.05 pm.

Harbour line train status update at 9.30 pm: Announcements are being made at CST station that Vashi/Belapur/Panvel train services will stay suspended until further notice.

Do share the latest train updates for the convenience of commuters across Mumbai.

Mumbai trains and rains in 2009, 2010

Monsoon has arrived and we are loving the first showers. But soon we might start complaining of train delays due to rains. We know how it is every year (though the situation is improving year after year), yet we get irritated as rains affect train services. This year, let's just enjoy the lovely season and hope that trains run smoothly this monsoon.

Let's take a look at what happened over the last two years as Rain Gods arrived and Train Gods played host:

Trains running late again due to rains
Jul 22, 2010
Trains running late again due to rains. It has been pouring and how! And you won't be surprised to know that the Mumbai local trains are running late today. So, plan your day accordingly...

Mumbai water logging news - Rains hit rail, road traffic
Jul 14, 2009
Rail, Road Traffic Affected as Rains Hit Mumbai: Jul 14, 2009: Rail and road traffic in Mumbai got affected as rains hit the city on Tuesday. Local trains on both the central and western lines were running 20-25 minutes late...

Trains, Rains and Me in Mumbai
Jul 14, 2009
Trains, Rains and Me in Mumbai – 14th July 2009 Morning. I couldn't sleep last night for 2 reasons. Firstly, I was completely unwell. Secondly, the sound of breeze with heavy rainfall was frightening enough to awaken...

Rain disrupts rail, road traffic in Mumbai
Jul 08, 2009
Rain disrupts rail, road traffic in Mumbai • Rail, Road Traffic Affected as Rains Lash Mumbai...

Water logging - Wadala and Chunabhatti railway tracks
Jul 08, 2009
Reports of water logging on Wadala and Chunabhatti railway tracks due to rains are pouring in...

Water logging outside Parel / Elphinstone station
Jul 08, 2009
There's water logging outside Parel / Elphinstone station on the west side. To take bus no. 137, walk up to the main road (under the flyover). It's a good idea by BEST as people need not stand in the rain water and have...

Hands Up Cops!

Policewaala hai toh kuch bhi karega kya?

Not anymore! Or at least this is what it seems like with the arrest of five cops by Dadar GRP in the last week of May.

Three policemen who extorted Rs 8000 money from an IIT Bombay student for allegedly storing pornographic clips on his mobile phone were arrested on May 31, 2011. If you are unaware of the incident, well this student was on his way back home after a vacation when the cops at Dadar station threatened to arrest him for storing such videos on his phone. The student had to hand over the money to save himself at that time!

Cops travelling in coach reserved for physically challenged arrested
In another incident, two policemen attached to Nagpada police station were arrested by the RPF at Dadar. Now these two travelled ticket-less in a coach reserved for physically challenged in a Kalyan fast train. How disgusting!

While such behaviour by cops infuriates me, I am glad that Government Railway Police is being strict with wrongdoers, be it an aam aadmi or a policewaala.