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30 July 2018 | 4 min read
Mumbai Trains

Here Is How To Travel In Mumbai Local Trains Like A Pro

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The city that never sleeps, the city where dreams come true – Mumbai tempts many to try their luck on the professional front, find themselves, or explore its hidden gems. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain; the Mumbai local railway network – often termed the ‘lifeline of the city’ is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get around.

Everyday 2300 trains carry about 2.2 billion passengers back and forth, and this can make travelling by a Mumbai local train a bit overwhelming. The following tips have years of experience backing them. Use them to make your daily commute smoother.

Three Main Train Lines

  • Central line: Runs from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Kalyan Junction, where it bifurcates into two tracks – north to Kasara and south to Khopoli.
  • Western line: Runs from Churchgate to Virar, although some trains go further on to Dahanu Road.
  • Harbour line: Runs from CSMT to Panvel, with a branch line to Goregaon on the Western line.

You can find maps of these three lines above every door of the train. Now that you know the three different train lines let’s get to hacks that can make your travels smooth and easy.

Mumbai Local Trains- Live More Zone

Source: Poulomi Dey

When To Travel

If you don’t need to, avoid travelling during peak hours (8 to 11 am and 5 to 8 pm). Travelling during non-peak hours (11 am to 4 pm) tends to be less chaotic. Trains on the Western line are relatively empty on Sundays, but the Central Line still draws crowds.

Buying Train Tickets

  1. Ticket windows generally have two lines: one for second class tickets (to the right) and one for first-class tickets (to the left).
  2. Special Mumbai local train tourist passes are available for one, three, and five days. These offer unlimited travel on all lines of the Mumbai local train network.
Mumbai Train Map - Live More Zone

Train map

How To Beat The Crowd

  1. UTS Mobile Ticketing: No time to queue up at ticket counters? This app lets you book paperless tickets from your phone, which are delivered straight to the mobile application. You can also use it for buying or renewing monthly or quarterly season tickets.
  2. m-Indicator: Download this free app for information on train routes, timings, fares, the time is taken to get from point A to B, fast/ slow/ air-conditioned train options and platforms on which a train is expected. The app is easy to use and quite comprehensive.
  3. Smart cards- You can also get an Indian Railways Smart Cards from the ticket counters to buy tickets from Automatic Ticket Vending Machines at the stations. This helps you avoid the long queues at the ticket counters on a daily basis.
Train Tickets - Live More Zone

Source: Poulomi Dey

Trains And Classes

Mumbai local trains are either Fast (stopping at only main stations) or Slow (stopping at all stations). Each can be identified by “F” or “S” on the monitors at railway stations.

Note- While the Central and Western lines have fast trains, there are no fast trains on the Harbour line.

  1. Mumbai’s locals have either 12 or 9 carriages. 12 carriages are standard on the Western and Central lines, whereas many platforms on the Harbour line can only accommodate shorter 9-carriage trains.
  2. All trains have first and second-class compartments.
  3. Second class tickets are inexpensive – ranging from ₹5 to ₹20 (single journey), depending on the distance.
  4. First class is denoted by red stripes. The tickets are almost five times the cost (relatively cheaper when buying a season ticket), but the compartments are also more comfortable.
  5. Trains have different compartments for men, women, and the differently abled, and these are indicated by different coloured stripes.
  6. Currently 12 air-conditioned trains run on the Western line between Churchgate and Virar – six up and six down. The ticket fare is about 1.3 times that of a first-class ticket. There are also plans to attach three AC coaches to the 70 regular trains across all lines.
Local Train Crowd - Live More Zone

Source: Vaikooveryvia Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

Boarding And Alighting

  1. Boarding- The unspoken rule is one side of the door for boarding and the other for alighting. If you position yourself well, it won’t take much voluntary effort to get in or out, especially during peak hours. The crowd takes care of that!
  2. Stations are usually announced over the speaker in Marathi, Hindi and English. Pay attention to these announcements, so you don’t miss your stop.
  3. Alighting- It is completely acceptable (and sometimes wise) to ask the person in front of you where they will be alighting. If the train is crowded, get as close as possible to the door.

Note- When travelling towards CSTM or Churchgate, and facing in the same direction, the East will be on your left. When travelling away from CSTM or Churchgate, the West will be on your left.

Getting A Seat In Mumbai Local

  1. As strange as it sounds, you can unofficially ‘book’ a seat when travelling. Ask seated co-passengers where they will be alighting. If their destination arrives before yours, you can ask for their seat when they get up.
  2. Though a row of seats is meant for three; people are often asked to scoot over and make space for a fourth person. You get half a seat, but it’s manageable if you are of reasonable size.

Bonus tips

  1. Often, you will find much on sale in train compartments – from fruits and vegetables to toys and even make-up. The items are incredibly cheap, and in terms of quality, aren’t too bad.
  2. Keep your belongings in a backpack or bag and always keep it in front of you to prevent theft of wallets and phones.
  3. Students travelling by train can avail Railway concession forms from their college. These make season passes more economical.

Ready to brave the Mumbai local train? Let us know in the comments about your experience.

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