Suburban rail in India

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Suburban rail, urban rail, commuter rail, or regional rail, plays a major role in the public transport system of many of India's major cities. Suburban rail is defined as a rail service between a central business district and suburbs, a conurbation or other locations that draw large numbers of people on a daily basis. The trains providing such services may be termed suburban trains. Trains on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, Chennai Suburban Railway and Kolkata Suburban Railway are referred to as "local trains" or "locals".

Suburban rail in India operates on lines shared with other passenger and freight trains (like the Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway) or a combination of dedicated suburban lines and lines for long distance trains (like the Mumbai Suburban Railway). The infrastructure in India is owned by Indian Railways and usually operated by one or more of the railway zones of Indian Railways.

In some cities of India, the opening of rapid transit systems have led to a decline in use of the Suburban rail system.

A Suburban trains that handle commuter traffic are mostly electric multiple units (EMUs). They usually have nine or twelve coaches and sometimes even fifteen to handle rush hour traffic. One unit of an EMU train consists of one power car and two general coaches. Thus a nine coach EMU is made up of three units having one power car at each end and one at the middle. The rakes in some of the suburban rails run on direct current and others on alternating current.[1]


Many cities have their own dedicated suburban networks to cater to commuters. The suburban rail systems in Hyderabad, Pune, Barabanki-Lucknow and Lucknow-Kanpur do not have dedicated suburban tracks but share tracks with long distance trains. The suburban rail system of Chennai and Mumbai has dedicated as well tracks shared with long distance trains.

A suburban rail system is planned for Ahmedabad,[2] Bangalore,[3] Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.[4]

System Local Name City Opening Year No of Lines Notes
Chennai Suburban Railway சென்னை புறநகர் இருப்புவழி Chennai Metropolitan Area 1931 6 lines Broad gauge
Barabanki-Lucknow Suburban Railway बाराबंकी लखनऊ उपनगरीय रेलवे
بارا بنکی لکھنؤ اپنگریی ریلوے
2 lines Broad gauge
Delhi Suburban Railway दिल्ली उपनगरीय रेलवे Delhi 1982 Broad gauge
Mumbai Suburban Railway मुंबई उपनगरीय रेल्वे Mumbai Metropolitan Region 1853 6 lines Broad gauge
Kolkata Suburban Railway কলকাতা শহরতলি রেল Kolkata Metropolitan Area 1854 5 lines Broad gauge
Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway लखनऊ कानपुर उपनगरीय रेलवे
لکھنؤ کان پور اپنگریی ریلوے
1867 2 lines Broad gauge
Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) హైదరాబాదు ఎం ఎం టి ఎస్ Hyderabad 2003 3 lines Broad gauge
Pune Suburban Railway पुणे उपनगरीय रेल्वे Pune 1978 2 lines Broad gauge
Ahmedabad Suburban Railway Ahmedabad Broad gauge
Bangalore Suburban Railway ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಉಪನಗರ ರೈಲು Bangalore 2014 3 Broad gauge
Thiruvananthapuram Suburban Railway തിരുവനതപുരം സബ്അര്‍ബന്‍ റെയില്‍വേ നെറ്റ്‌വര്‍ക്ക് Thiruvananthapuram 2014 6 Broad gauge
Kochi Suburban Railway കൊച്ചി സബ്അര്‍ബന്‍ റെയില്‍വേ നെറ്റ്‌വര്‍ക്ക് Kochi 2014 5 Broad gauge


  1. ^ "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Electric Traction — I". Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Green signal for A’bad Local, News - City - Ahmedabad Mirror,Ahmedabad Mirror". 2011-02-26. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  3. ^ "CM writes to railway minister for Commuter Rail System for Bangalore | Latest News & Updates at". 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  4. ^ "Suburban railway corridor project from Thiruvananthapuram gathers steam". The New Indian Express. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2014-02-06.