Mumbai Suburban Railway

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Mumbai Suburban Railways
Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg
Mumbai Train.JPG
White and purple coloured MRVC Siemens rakes on the Western Line
LocaleMumbai Metropolitan Region, Maharashtra, India
Transit typeSuburban Rail
Number of lines6
Number of stations
Daily ridership7.593 million (2016–17)[1]
Annual ridership2.64 billion
HeadquartersChurchgate (WR)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CR)
WebsiteWestern Railway
Central Railway
Began operation16 April 1853
Train length12 or 15 coaches
System length427.5 kilometres (265.6 mi)
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Electrification25,000 V AC overhead catenary
Average speed50 km/h (31 mph)
Top speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Heatmap of Mumbai Local Train & Station Density taking into account the proximity of stations and the frequency of trains. Density Scale: Dark Red (highest) to Light Yellow (lowest).
South Mumbai has the highest density (dark red) as it is serviced by 3 railway lines (Western, Central & Harbour) in a narrow land area. Away from the South Mumbai, one can see densities decreasing to yellow-orange – the neighbourhoods within the city limits and those beyond it are serviced by only one railway line. Frequency reduces drastically in remote suburbs beyond Kalyan (light yellow zone).

Mumbai Suburban Railway consists of exclusive inner suburban railway lines augmented by commuter rail on main lines serving outlying suburbs to serve the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Spread over 465 kilometres (289 mi), the suburban railway operates 2,342 train services and carries more than 7.5 million commuters daily. By annual ridership (2.64 billion), the Mumbai Suburban Railway is one of the busiest commuter rail systems in the world[2] and it has the most severe overcrowding in the world. Trains run from 04:00 until 01:00, and some trains also run up to 02:30.


The Mumbai Suburban Railway is an offshoot of the first passenger railway to be built by the British in India, and is also the oldest railway system in Asia. The first train ran between Bori Bunder (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) and Thane, a distance of 34 km, on 16 April 1853 at 15:35. The 14-coach train took 1.25 h to complete the 34 km journey, with a halt at Sion to refill the train's water tanks.[3] Since 1991, it has been expanded rapidly. The Bombay Railway & History Group has been striving to document railway heritage along this line.[4]

The Map is designed to give a complete overview of the Mumbai Suburban Rail network. It includes most of the required information about Mumbai local (Western Line, Central Line, Harbour Line, Trans Harbour Line, Mumbai Metro, Mono Rail) such as – Fast/Slow Lines, Approx travel time between stations, List of all stations with grid index, Station Codes etc.
Complete map with index for Mumbai suburban rail network (Western Line, Central Line, Harbour Line, Trans Harbour Line, Mumbai Metro, Mono Rail)

On 3rd Feb 1925, The First EMU Service was started from Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) to Kurla Harbour on the Central line which was runs on 1500 V DC Traction and also started on the Western line from Churchgate to Borivali on 5th Jan 1928.[5]


The Mumbai Suburban Railway system is operated by Indian Railways' two zonal divisions Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR). The fast commuter rail corridors on Central Railway as well as Western Railway are shared with long distance and freight trains, while inner suburban services operate on exclusive parallel tracks. WR operates the Western Line and CR operates the Central Line, Harbour Line, Trans-Harbour Line as well as the Vasai Road-Diva-Panvel line.

Central Line[edit]

The Central Line in Mumbai consists of 3 major corridors, which bifurcate as they run into suburban satellite towns. Two corridors (one local and other through) follow the Central Railway run from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Kalyan (54 km), from where it bifurcates into two lines – one to Kasara (67 km) in the north-east and the other to Khopoli (61 km) in the south-east. These two corridors constitute the 'main' Central Line. There is also an 18-km corridor between Kurla and Thane stations for use of outstation and cargo trains. The outstation corridor is being extended further from Thane to Kalyan now as a part of the main line, but is halted because of the costs of tunneling the parsik hills.

The Central Line has two interchange stations with the Western Line at Parel and Dadar. Rolling stock consists of a fleet of AC and Alternate Current new Bombardier and Siemens EMUs. The major car sheds on this line are at Kurla and Kalwa. There are fast and slow locals here for suburban service. Slow locals halt at every station, while fast locals halts vary between Byculla, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Diva, Dombivali and Kalyan. All services plying beyond Kalyan run as slow service (halting at every station).

The Central Line also includes a line connecting Vasai Road-Bhiwandi Road-Diva and Panvel. A line from Nerul/CBD Belapur to Uran is currently under construction and is expected to be operational in 2018.

Western Line[edit]

The Western Line follows the Western Railway northwards from Churchgate parallel to the west coast. Local services by electric multiple units (EMUs) ply between Churchgate and Dahanu Road (124 km) on exclusive parallel tracks up to Virar (60 km) while Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) service the section beyond Virar to Dahanu Road (64 km). On 16 April 2013 EMU has extended up to Dahanu Road. MEMUs also operate between Dahanu Road and Panvel via a branch line from Bhiwandi road-Vasai Road. There are EMU carsheds at Mumbai Central, Kandivali and Virar. The largest EMU car shed in Asia is located at Virar. A repair shop for EMUs is situated at Mahalaxmi.

Western Railway's EMU fleet consists of EMUs completely powered by alternating current (25 kV) power. EMUs are 12 car or 15 car formations and 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.

Harbour Line[edit]

The Harbour Line is part of the Central Railway, and runs from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Goregaon and Panvel. All Harbour Line services operate as slow services. The line operates from two separate platforms at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), and the tracks cross over the main line at Sandhurst Road, to head towards stations along Mumbai's eastern dock area. A branch line from Wadala Road joins the Western Line at Mahim and continues towards Goregaon.

The Harbour Line has an interchange station with the main line at Kurla, where it turns east towards Navi Mumbai. The Harbour Line further bifurcates at Vashi into two lines – one rejoins the main lines at Thane, while the other continues to Panvel. The shed for these trains is in Sanpada. A partial section of the Harbour Line is elevated.

Trans-Harbour Line[edit]

The Trans-Harbour Line connects Navi Mumbai to Thane. It runs from Thane to Vashi, Nerul and Panvel.

Nerul-Uran Line[edit]

The Trans-Harbour Line connects Navi Mumbai to Uran. It runs from Nerul and Seawoods Darave to Uran.


Mumbai Suburban Railway services have various such designations in wide use by Mumbaikars as well as official use:

  • slow local stops at every station
  • fast local runs express (skipping stops) until a certain station, and from that station onward runs like a local
  • fast, superfast, double-fast run express for various lengths of route

There are also women-only cars (termed ladies),[6] and since 1992, Ladies Special trains with the entire trainset reserved for women passengers. A semi ladies special is a train with a few (e.g., 3) coaches reserved for women. These designations can be combined with fast, slow, etc., so you have terms such as Slow Ladies Special.

On-board accommodation[edit]

The interior of MRVC Siemens Rakes
MRVC Siemens Rakes replaced the ageing fleet of suburban trains

The suburban fleet consists of 12 and 15-coach rakes. There are two classes of travel, including first class. The first class fare is approximately 12 times more expensive than second class, and therefore tends to be less crowded during the non rush hours, though at times it is equally or even more crowded than the general compartments during the rush Hour. First class compartments also have slightly better seats than second class. Because women can travel separately, there are four types of accommodation, termed 'compartments':

  • general compartment also called gent's second class or simply second class as the majority of passengers in these compartments are men. The compartment is open to women and children as well.
  • general first class Again commonly known as gent's first class or simply first class, since majority population is men. Women and children can also board this compartment. The coach is designated by red and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by colouring the platform walls with similar stripes.
  • ladies' compartment commonly known as ladies' second class. This compartment is reserved solely for females, however male children up to the age of 13 can travel in this compartment. Men are not allowed to travel, and may face a penalty. Some of the coaches of ladies compartments are open to general public between 23:15 and 06:30. These are indicated by a note near the doors of the compartments. The coach is designated by green and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by colouring the platform walls with similar stripes.
  • ladies first class is reserved solely for females, however male children up to the age of 13 can travel in this compartment. Men are not allowed to travel, and may face a penalty. Some of the coaches of ladies compartments are open to general public between 23:15 and 06:30. These are indicated by a note near the doors of the compartments. The coach is designated by red and yellow slant stripes. The location of the same is designated by colouring the platform walls with similar stripes. This compartment is often adjacent to the ladies compartment.
  • handicap and cancer patients' compartment for people with disabilities or cancer. On a platform, one can locate these by signs or by following a 'Beep-Beep-Beep' sound indicator for the visually impaired. These coaches are open to all the genders. One needs a valid certificate of disability to board the compartment. Failure to do so may result in a penalty.
  • senior citizens special coach is reserved for passengers above the age of 60. These coaches are open to all the genders.
  • luggage compartment – heavy goods and luggage can be transported using the compartments specially designed and reserved for this purpose. In 2016, the Indian Railways manufactured an AC local train for the smooth and comfortable journey of the commuters.(particularly for hot and humid summer season.).This AC local train is manufactured at Kapurthala Coach factory, Chennai. It is fully with new added facilities.
  • Ac trains - runs from Virar to Andheri, Ac trains are fast locals and started their run at 1 January 2018.


Automatic Ticket Vending Machine

The Mumbai Suburban Railway uses a proof-of-payment fare collection system. Tickets can be purchased at every train station. Travelling without a valid ticket is an offence and if caught can result in a penalty. The penalty is steeper for passengers travelling in first class without a valid ticket.

Tickets can be bought for a single journey (one way) or a return journey. A return ticket is valid till the next day on weekdays and till Monday if purchased on a Friday. The ticket counters usually have long queues.

The 'tourist ticket' is a pass valid for one, three, or five days that can be purchased up to three days in advance.

Platform Tickets are required to be purchased by those members of the public not boarding trains, but who wish to access the platforms at certain long distance termini, perhaps for the purpose of receiving or seeing off a passenger. These generally cost 5 (7.0¢ US), but this price may vary by location. Not all stations issue platform tickets. In their absence, access to the platform is free. A person can be penalised for non-possession of this ticket.[7]

CVMs and ATVMs

To save time, a Coupon Booklet can be purchased and the coupons can be punched for the designated fare at the Coupon Validating Machines(CVMs) at every station. The ticket fares matrix is pasted above the CVM. As of October 2012, there are approximately 575 CVMs on Mumbai Suburban Railway stations. The Central Railway network has 350 and the Western Line has 225.[8]

In early 2015, the authorities decided to discontinue CVMs w.e.f 1 April 2015. This decision was taken due to extensive duplication of the coupons, and the lack of transparency. The coupons were also lacking a way to trace them.

There are also Smart Cards available that can be topped up (recharged with some amount) and one can use it to print tickets for themselves from an Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVMs). A Season Ticket can be purchased if one is commuting regularly. One can choose the validity of these tickets from 1-month, 3 months to a year. Season Tickets are the most cost effective and time efficient option for regular commuters.

Mobile app

The ticket counters usually have long queues. In order to bring a solution to this problem, the UTSOnMobile app was launched by railways minister Suresh Prabhu at Dadar railway station in December 2014. This app was launched initially for Android and Windows Phone, with the iOS version still under development.

To use this app, the user has to sign up with his/her mobile number. After signing up, the user has to load the prepaid RWallet built in the app, using credit/debit cards, net banking, IMPS or private mobile based apps. After the RWallet is loaded, the app can be used to book tickets on the entire network.

Initially, the ticket booked on the app had to be printed from the ATVMs. This step was found tedious by the commuters, and was criticised. Later, in July 2015, an update for the app was launched, which made e-tickets acceptable. The update also brought technical changes, like, the tickets could be booked only within a radius of 30m to 5 km of the origin station, and not from the platform. This move was well received by commuters, which resulted in over 50,000 downloads on the launch day.

Rolling stock[edit]

A prototype Bombardier rake, each coach has a capacity of 400 passengers, including standees.

The suburban services are run by electric multiple units (EMUs) in 191 rakes (train sets) of 12-car and 15-car composition. To alleviate the problems of overcrowding, the nine car trains have been phased out and replaced with 12-car ones. 15-coach trains were introduced on 21 November 2009. However, these are few in number.

The bulk of the current fleet of both the Western and Central railways features old rakes built by Jessop (Kolkata), ICF (Perambur) which are capable of a maximum speed of 85 km/h and MRVC Siemens Rakes which are capable of and 100 km/h and ICF built Bombardier rakes capable of running at speeds of 120 km/hr[9] under light traffic conditions. The actual average speed of the rakes on the slow lines is about 35 km/h, while rakes on fast lines average about 45–50 km/h on a typical run.

On 12 November 2007, the first of 129 new 12-coach rakes with upgraded facilities was inducted into the fleet of the Western Railways under the MUTP project. The coaches are built of stainless steel, and have non-cushioned seats, emergency fluorescent lights, bigger windows with polycarbonate panes, better suspension systems, roof mounted forced ventilation to reduce carbon dioxide levels in packed trains,[10] and GPS based passenger information systems in all coaches. The new rakes are much more cool and airy than the old EMUs. The motors of the new rakes also make less noise than the older ones. Since 2010 the front of the EMUs are painted yellow, so that the maintenance workers on the tracks can see the train easily. These rakes have been procured under the project at a total cost of 19 billion (USD 431.0 million). Five Siemens rakes which had to be delivered as part of the first phase will be sent to the city starting early January 2014

New EMUs with Bombardier Electricals procured under the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project-2 built at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai started arriving into Mumbai by April 2014. The first of these trains, to be run on Western Railway, was, however, flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kurla on Central Railway on Sunday, 27 October, 2013. However a delay of two years is anticipated due to a demand of automatic sliding door on the trains.

Nine-car trains have a capacity of 2,628 (876 seated and 1,752 standing). Twelve-car trains have a capacity of 3,504 (1,168 seated and 2,336 standing).[11]

In fall 2013, brand new 12-car rakes were introduced on the railway.[12]

Air-conditioned rakes[edit]

Air conditioned rakes in Mumbai

Discussion on AC Coaches first began in 2002 and was planned to be introduced in 2013. However, major delays in finalising the rakes' design and procurement of material deferred the project.[13][14]

The first air-conditioned rake for use on the suburban system was built by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai at a cost of over 50 crore (US$7.0 million), and arrived in Mumbai on 5 April 2016. The rake has a seating capacity of 1,028 passengers, and standing room for up to 6,000 passengers. The 12 coach rake is configured as two sets of six interconnected bogies, meaning passengers can walk between coaches but only up to a maximum of 6 coaches. The train is also equipped with a new electrical system and software, automatic doors with emergency opening features, and GPS-based destination display on LED indicators. The old system of pulling a chain to halt the train was replaced by four intercoms per coach that enable commuters to communicate with the driver.[15]

Both CR and WR competed to acquire the rake, with WR even announcing a time table for operating the air-conditioned rake. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the rake would be transferred to CR on 16 March 2016.[15] However, at a height of 4.335 metres the rake exceeds the maximum clearance height of 4.270 metres for EMU coaches on the Central Line. In particular, the rake cannot clear the some low height British-era bridges between CST and Kurla.[16] Then Central Railway general manager Sunil Kumar Sood insisted that CR was conduct trials and operate the rake on the Harbour Line. After acquiring the rake, CR conducted tests, safety and mobility checks, and trial runs under the supervision of the RDSO. However, following Sood's retirement, CR abandoned plans to operate the rake in December 2016. CR informed the Railway Board that it could not operate the rake due to the clearance issue, and the Railway Board directed them to transfer the rake to WR. The rake was transferred to WR on 12 May 2017. WR General Manager Anil Kumar Gupta stated that rake would begin commercial operations on the Western Line after WR conducted its own tests and trial runs and receiving regulatory approvals. Although there are some clearance issues on the Western Line as well, Gupta stated that these could rectified. The First AC EMU was Flagged off on 25 December 2017[15]

Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC)[edit]

To enable the Mumbai Suburban Railway to meet the demands of the ever-growing passenger traffic, the federal Government of India's Ministry of Railways and the state Government of Maharashtra have jointly envisioned the constitution of a separate corporate entity to operate the system.

The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC), a public sector unit of the Government of India under the Ministry of Railways, was incorporated under the (Indian) Companies Act, 1956 on 12 July 1999, with an equity capital of 250 million (US$3.5 million) to implement the rail component of an integrated rail-cum-road urban transport project, called Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). The cost of the rail component of the project is to be shared equally by Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra.


All routes are electrified using 25 kV 50 Hz AC power supply from overhead lines.

The Indian Railways plans to build a 700 MW gas-based plant in Thakurli to generate electricity to run the Mumbai trains.[17]

Safety Issues[edit]


Due to its extensive reach across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and its intensive use by the local urban population, the Mumbai Suburban Railway suffers from the most severe overcrowding in the world.[18] Over 4,500 passengers are packed into a 12-car or 15-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of around 2,000.[18] This has resulted in what is known as Super-Dense Crush Load of 14 to 16 standing passengers per square metre of floor space.


It is advisable for tourists not to travel in Mumbai local trains from 07:00 to 11:00 and 17:00 to 22:00 during weekdays because of overcrowding.[6]


On average, about 2,000 people die annually on the Mumbai Suburban Rail network; between 2002 and 2012, more than 36,152 people died and 36,688 people were injured.[19] A record 17 people died every weekday on the city's suburban railway network in 2008.[20] One of the reason for accidents and deaths is overcrowding (see above). Another cause of death is passengers crossing the tracks on foot to avoid footbridges. Some passengers die when they sit on train roofs to avoid the crowds and are electrocuted by the overhead electric wires, or fall while hanging from doors and window bars. However, the fatality rates have declined recently.[when?] To reduce the risk of such fatalities, longer platforms and more frequent trains are being implemented.[citation needed]

Central Railways in association with a behaviour architecture firm deployed neuroscience based interventions at the Wadala station, reducing fatalities by about 75%.[21] Times of India carried a news item regarding the success of this experiment[22]

In 2010, Western Railway has pledged that its trains will stop running if "even a single person" is seen travelling on the roof.[23]

In mid-2011 a viral video depicted a youth performing stunts while dangling from the compartment of a Harbour Line train.[24] Following this, a boy was killed while imitating the actions performed in the video.[25]

The Western and Central Railways have been using the Auxiliary Warning System (AWS), a type of Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), since 1996.[26]

Terrorist attacks[edit]

The Mumbai Suburban Railway has suffered 8 blasts and around 368 people are believed to have died as a result.


Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-II is extending the Harbour Line up to Goregaon. Service began as of March 29, 2018. Further extension of this line has been accepted under MUTP III till Borivali.

CR has proposed constructing a 22.5 km line linking Seawoods with Uran. The proposed line would have 10 stations.[27]

In popular culture[edit]


The Mumbai Suburban Railway has regularly been used for film shoots. Some movies that have used the Mumbai Suburban Railway for filming are


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "It's not getting any better! Despite metro and monorail, Mumbai local trains getting more overcrowded". mid-day. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  2. ^ "All you need to know about Mumbai's newly launched metro – Firstpost". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ Satardekar, Anvaya (2012-10-17). "Central Railway puts 15-car locals on track". DNA India. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ and Bombay Railway History Group Archived 26 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ [1],, 28 November 2018
  6. ^ a b Lonely Planet: Goa & Mumbai 6 ed, 2012, published by Lonely Planet, p68
  7. ^ "ADMISSION TO PLATFORMS AND CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS". Indian Railways. 3 October 2012. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Coupons with bar codes for train travel". Hindustan Times. 2012-10-03. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  9. ^ Saurabh Raut (17 October 2014). "First Time On Youtube: New Sensation High Speed Bombardier EMU Local Skips Umroli In Its Full Speed". Retrieved 23 July 2018 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Aklekar, Rajendra (2011-12-29). "Fresh blueprint for AC locals on anvil". DNA India. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  11. ^ Aklekar, Rajendra (2011-12-07). "Railway think tank rules out Metro-like seats in locals". DNA India. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  12. ^ Economic Times "Mumbai set to get new local trains" Archived 22 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "You can travel in AC locals in Mumbai by Oct: Rail min Suresh Prabhu". Hindustan Times. Mumbai. 18 April 2015. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  14. ^ Shashank Rao (19 April 2015). "Mumbai: AC-coach trials to begin in September". MiD DAY. Mumbai. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "WR local passengers, get ready for a cool commute – Mumbai Mirror -". Mumbai Mirror. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Western Railway handed over first AC local for trials, Diwali launch likely – Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  17. ^ Aklekar, Rajendra (2012-03-26). "Power plant for Mumbai railways gets a fillip". DNA India. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  18. ^ a b "Loan to relieve world's most overcrowded trains". Railway Gazette. Archived from the original on 9 September 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Mumbai's lifeline has claimed 36,000 lives in 10 years". The Times of India. 20 April 2012.
  20. ^ Rhys Blakely (18 February 2010). "India's rail authorities crack down on rooftop travel to stop deaths". London: The Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  21. ^ Subramanian, Samanth (8 May 2011). "Train!". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Rs 50 cr to curb deaths on tracks". The Times of India. 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  23. ^ 'Passengers banned from Indian train roofs' on The Australian website, viewed 2013-07-27
  24. ^ "Xtreme Train Stunt – Mumbai Boys". YouTube. 29 August 2011. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  25. ^ Mumbai: Performing stunt on train kills 14-year-boy – IBNLive Archived 7 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Railways move to ensure zero mishaps". DNA India. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Seawoods-Uran project: CR wants carshed plot near station on route, CIDCO says difficult". The Indian Express. 14 February 2017. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  28. ^ Dube,,., Bharati, and also Holiday . (2013-03-17). "Bollywood shoots boost Western Railways' coffers by Rs 1.5 crore". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2013-07-16.

External links[edit]