Western Line (Mumbai Suburban Railway)

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Western Line
System Mumbai Suburban Railway
Locale Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Thane district, Maharashtra, India
Termini Churchgate (south)
Dahanu Road (north)
Stations 36
Daily ridership 3.48 million[1]
Website WR Mumbai Suburban
Opening 12 April 1867 (1867-04-12)
Owner Indian Railway
Operator(s) Western Railway (WR)
Character At grade
Depot(s) Virar, Kandivali and Mumbai Central
Line length 124 km (77 mi)
Track gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Electrification 25,000 V AC through overhead catenary
Operating speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The Western Line is the name given to all routes of the Mumbai Suburban Railway operated by Western Railways (WR). It is a public transit system serving the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Maharashtra. The entire line is at grade and consists of 36 stations from Dahanu Road to Churchgate.

An EMU carshed has been built between Nala Sopara and Virar which is the largest carshed in Asia. A repair shop for EMUs is situated at Mahalaxmi. There are also EMU carsheds at Mumbai Central and Kandivali. Trains 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. Trains usually start from and terminate at important stations.


Newly cladded Churchgate Station, Western Railway Headquarter

The first suburban service on the Western Line was started by its predecessor, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India (BB&CI) Railway. The first train ran on steam traction between Backbay and Virar on 12 April 1867. In 1928, a three-coach EMU service was introduced between Andheri and Colaba stations. Colaba was a major terminal that ceased to be a station in 1930, as Churchgate was commissioned as the new suburban terminus.[2]

The Mumbai suburban section of the WR was extended from Virar to Dahanu Road in the year 1998 by then railway minister Ram Naik, but has been served only by short distance diesel-run shuttle trains.[3] At midnight on 16 March 2013, WR successfully conducted a trial run of an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU), in order to start services between Churchgate and Dahanu Road. Commuters had been demanding the extension of local train services till Dahanu since 2002. The proposal to ply trains between Dahanu and Churchgate was approved in the 2012-13 Railway Budget. In March 2013, 18 MEMU services ran between Virar and Dahanu daily.[4][5]

On 16 April 2013, the 160th anniversary of the Indian Railways,[3] Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated the first EMU service between Churchgate and Dahanu Road.[6][7] The first Churchgate-Dahanu local was flagged off around 10:47am and arrived at Churchgate at 1:44pm. Prior to the launch of this service, EMU services on WR only ran on the 60 km stretch between Churchgate and Virar. Commuters had to travel the 64 km from Dahanu to Virar by using either outstation or Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) and then switching to suburban locals (EMUs) from Virar.[8][9]


  • 1864: Train operated by Bombay, Baroda and Central India (BB&CI) reaches Mumbai, runs between Grant Road and Valsad. BB&CI was the forerunner of WR
  • 1867: Virar-Backbay suburban service commences; BB&CI runs one train in each direction every day
  • 1870: Churchgate station opened
  • 1873: Colaba Terminus commissioned
  • 1928 - First electric train runs between Colaba & Andheri
  • 1930: Colaba station closed. Churchgate becomes new suburban terminus[2]
  • 1936 : Borivli to Virar electrified. Steam engine withdrawn
  • 2 March 1961 : Introduction of 9-car trains
  • 1972 : Total number of services crosses the 500 mark
  • 1986 : Introduction of 12-car trains
  • 1992 : World's first ladies' special train and exclusive seats for senior citizens introduced
  • 1993 : Compartment for physically handicapped introduced
  • 2003 : Total number of services crosses the 1,000 mark
  • 2007 : Indian Railways' first ATVMs introduced on WR
  • 21 November 2009 : Introduction of 15-car trains
  • 5 February 2012 : Conversion from DC to AC traction completed
  • 16 April 2013 : Extension of line from Virar to Dahanu Road


New trains on the Western Railway
Train leaving Churchgate station
SantaCruz station

(Names in bold indicate that the station is a fast train stop.)

Western Line
# Station Name Railway Station Code Connections
English Marathi Hindi
1 Churchgate चर्चगेट चर्चगेट CCG None
2 Marine Lines मरीन लाईन्स मरीन लाईन्स MEL None
3 Charni Road चर्नी रोड चर्नी रोड CYR None
4 Grant Road ग्रँट रोड ग्रँट रोड GTR None
5 Mumbai Central मुंबई सेंट्रल मुंबई सेंट्रल BCL None
6 Mahalaxmi महालक्ष्मी महालक्ष्मी MX None
7 Lower Parel लोअर परळ लोअर परेल PL None
8 Elphinstone Road एल्फिन्स्टन रोड एल्फिन्स्टन रोड EPR Parel
(Central Line)
9 Dadar दादर दादर DDR Central Line
10 Matunga Road माटुंगा रोड माटुंगा रोड MRU None
11 Mahim माहिम माहिम MM Harbour Line
12 Bandra वांद्रे' बान्दरा BA Harbour Line
13 Khar Road खार रोड खार रोड KHAR Harbour Line
14 Santacruz सांताक्रुझ सांताक्रुझ STC Harbour Line
15 Vile Parle विले पार्ले विले पार्ले VLP Harbour Line
16 Andheri अंधेरी अंधेरी ADH Harbour Line
17 Jogeshwari जोगेश्वरी जोगेश्वरी JOS None
18 Goregaon गोरेगाँव गोरेगाँव GMN None
19 Malad मालाड मालाड MDD None
20 Kandivali कांदिवली कांदिवली KILE None
21 Borivali बोरिवली बोरिवली BVI None
22 Dahisar दहिसर दहिसर DIC None
23 Mira Road मीरा रोड मीरा रोड MIRA None
24 Bhayandar भाईंदर भाईंदर BYR None
25 Naigaon नायगांव नायगांव NIG None
26 Vasai Road वसई रोड वसई रोड BSR (To Diva) Central Line
27 Nala Sopara नालासोपारा नालासोपारा NSP None
28 Virar विरार विरार VR None
29 Vaitarna वैतरणा वैतरना VTN None
30 Saphale सफाळे सफाले SAH None
31 Kelve Road केळवे रोड केलवे रोड KLV None
32 Palghar पालघर पालघर PLG None
33 Umroli उमरोळी उमरोली UOI None
34 Boisar बोईसर बोईसर BOR None
35 Vangaon वाणगाँव वानगाँव VGN None
36 Dahanu Road डहाणू रोड दहानू रोड DRD None

‡ indicates stations which Fast Up trains (to Churchgate) skip from around 5PM to 8PM.[10]

A footbridge links Elphinstone Road to Parel on the Central Line.

Churchgate station is the Terminus station at the South End of Mumbai City. In Mumbai, Western Railway (WR) Suburban trains use this station as terminus. Long distance trains and goods trains do not use this station.

Above list of stations is mentioned from South end going towards North suburban areas falling on WR corridor.

Andheri Station


Churchgate station, during rush hour.

Western Railway's EMU fleet consists of EMUs running on AC 25 kV power. WR uses seven 9-car rakes (100 services). Electrification was introduced on the Western Railway, which was then called the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway, on 5 January 1928.[11] On the Western line, the first DC rake was run on January 5, 1928. The first electric local train had run between Mahalaxmi to Andheri. Then Governor of Bombay Leslie Orme Wilson had inaugurated the event. Wilson’s name was later given to the first electric locomotives introduced in Bombay.

The DC-AC conversion of Borivli-Virar section was completed in 2007, while the section between Borivli and Vile Parle was converted into AC traction by 13 November 2011. On 5 February 2012, WR finished converting the entire Western Line from the earlier used 1,500V DC to 25 kV AC power. The entire power conversion project cost about INR500 crore. Since 25,000V AC power is 17 times stronger than DC, anyone coming within 2 metres of the overhead wire will be charred to death.[12] The last ever DC local train ran as a special train from Bandra to Churchgate. It departed from Bandra at 12:30pm on 4 February 2012 and halted at all stations on its route. DC locals had served Mumbai's Western Line for 84 years.[11]

With the conversion, WR expected to net carbon credits worth INR2 crore a year because it utilizes rakes with regenerative braking features, that can use 30% less energy compared to those that run on DC technology, as the traction motor feeds some of the current back into the supply system.[13] The project was also expected to improve the punctuality of train services, make them energy-efficient and allow a greater number of 12-coach and 15-coach trains to ply. Post-conversion, local trains will be able to achieve speeds of 100 km/h with ease. The next step would be to convert the remaining 9-coach trains to 12-coach ones, thus augmenting the carrying capacity by 33%.[14] Conversion will ensure that less maintenance is required, as the AC system needs lighter overhead wires, whereas, the thicker and heavier contact wires and pantographs in the DC network are prone to faster wear and tear.[15] There will be less power loss, allowing the power generating station to be located away from the consumption point. The conversion will not only result in better efficiency but will also reduce pollution.

In the year following conversion, WR stated that it had saved around INR19 crore, augmented over 76 services from 9-car to 12-car and added 36 new services as a result of the switch to AC power. Due to the conversion, WR's suburban section was able to integrate itself with the 25,000V AC traction of the Indian Railways. This enabled seamless connectivity of long distance trains with the rest of the country. WR claims this resulted in speeding up of nearly 100 long-distance trains by up to two hours.[16]

While using DC traction, 22 substations provided power to suburban trains on the Western Line. Since switching over to AC traction, substations at Mahalaxmi, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Borivli and Vasai supply 25,000V power to local trains.[17]


As of 27 March 2012, the Western Line has approximately 1,290 local services running which carry about 35.5 lakh commuters every day.[18] These 1290 local services are operated using 80 trains.[19] Western Railways' EMUs are in 12 car and 15 car formations.[20]

The first 9-car service on the Western Line ran on 2 March 1961. The 9-car service has since been phased out and the last service ran on the Western Line on 20 November 2012.[21] However, 10 services (six on CR and four on WR) were still operated as 9-car even after that date as the rake link is shared between the Western Line and the Harbour Line. Harbour Line platforms are not long enough to accommodate trains having more than 9-cars. It is planned to convert the 10 services into 12-car by bringing in new augmented rakes which will run share link with the Harbour Line.[22]

The first 15-car coach local between Dadar midtown terminal and Virar ran on November 21, 2009.[23] This was the longest EMU service in India. In 2010, 15 car services between Churchgate and Virar were introduced.[24] They halt at all the stations between Borivli and Virar, and do not halt at any stations between Churchgate and Dadar. Currently, 15-coach trains are running on Western Railway during non-peak hours and halts at all stations same as that of 12 car.[25]

No. of coaches No. of Services
Harbour Locals 110
12 1,150
15 30
Total 1,290[26]


The following table shows the number of services and daily ridership on the Western Line throughout its history.[2]

Year No. of Services Daily Ridership
1867 6 No data
1990-91 866 23 lakh
1991-92 900 25 lakh
2000-01 961 28.2 lakh
16 April 2013 1305 36 lakh



WR will inaugurate the Mumbai Suburban Railway's first escalators at Dadar, Andheri and Borivli stations by June or July. The escalators are intended particularly to benefit physically challenged and senior commuters.[27]

FOBs and Subways[edit]

As of 29 April 2013, there are 102 foot over bridges (FOB)[27] and 8 subways on the Western Line.[28]

Train Management System[edit]

The Train Management System (TMS) helps in real-time monitoring of trains in the control room and also reflects on station's indicators. TMS enables commuters waiting for a train to know exactly how late it is. Railway officials stated that they were aiming to provide the arrival status of trains for the next 10 minutes. The system was implemented on the Western Line in 2004.[29]


In 2011, 1,313 commuters died in accidents on the Western Line, mainly via trespassing on ten particular stretches of track. Since mid-February 2012, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel patrol the areas from 7am-11am and 5pm-10pm, the peak times for such incidents. Initially, they used posters in an education campaign and only cautioned offenders. They later escalated to arresting people.[30]

Excess space between the railway platform and the train footboard also poses a threat as commuters face the danger of falling in the gap and getting crushed to death. In response, WR conducted a survey of all 132 platforms on the Western Line and found large gaps between platforms and trains, along with slippery edges. To fix the problem, WR has decided to increase the height of platforms from 84 cm to 95 cm. In the first phase, the 30 most critical platforms will be fixed June 2013.[31]

WR pays approximately INR15-16 crore in compensation to accident victims annually including sums given to the next of kin of deceased individuals and victims who receive injuries.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Western Railway to upgrade suburban capacity by almost 38,000 passengers". Rail.co. 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  2. ^ a b c WR brings Dahanu closer to city today - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-04-16). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  3. ^ a b Churchgate-Dahanu local all set to roll from Tuesday - Mumbai - DNA. Dnaindia.com (2013-04-15). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ Churchgate-Dahanu train by month-end - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-03-19). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  5. ^ Churchgate-Dahanu trial run a success: WR - Mumbai - DNA. Dnaindia.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  6. ^ Bansal launches train services on Dahanu-Churchgat. Zeenews.india.com (2013-04-16). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  7. ^ Western Railway. Wr.indianrailways.gov.in. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  8. ^ Dahanu-Churchgate local flagged off, enjoy seamless travel - Mumbai - DNA. Dnaindia.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  9. ^ "HC raps Western Railway for delay in service to Dahanu - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  10. ^ Timetable of the Western line between 5PM and 8PM
  11. ^ a b Direct current local to chug into sunset on Feb 4 - Mumbai - DNA
  12. ^ "Citizens inconvenienced by Western Railway mega block - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  13. ^ "Final WR stretch to see DC-AC switch on Feb 5 - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  14. ^ Mumbai: 25,000 volts to 'shock' rooftop travellers - India - IBNLive
  15. ^ "Western Railway sets stage for AC system - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  16. ^ "Post-DC/AC switch, Western Railway saves Rs 19crore - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  17. ^ "Western Railway claims overcrowding has reduced - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  18. ^ "Western Railway plans 36 more services from Tuesday - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  19. ^ WR commuters complain of poor ventilation - Hindustan Times
  20. ^ Western Railway. Wr.indianrailways.gov.in (2013-03-29). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  21. ^ "From today, no 9-car trains in Western Railway suburban section". The Indian Express. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  22. ^ "By January 2013, Western Railway to roll out 55 new services". The Times of India. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  23. ^ WR to replace sixteen services with 15-car rakes by year-end - Hindustan Times
  24. ^ city anchor: Central Railway starts 16 new services on main line - Indian Express
  25. ^ "CR still in two minds over 15car trains". Mumbai Mirror. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  26. ^ "Services". 
  27. ^ a b ​By June, escalators on 3 Western Railway stations - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-04-29). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  28. ^ WR opens two FOBs at Charni Road, Andheri - Hindustan Times
  29. ^ "Real-time tracking till Kalyan - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  30. ^ "Minor drop in deaths on tracks of Western Railways - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  31. ^ Western Railway wants to raise height of 30 platforms - Hindustan Times
  32. ^ "WR to deploy private guards to secure tracks - The Times of India". The Times Of India.