If one says that Mumbai locals are the lifeline of Mumbai, it is no exaggeration. Mumbaikars, as the locals of Mumbai are referred to, believe that if the local trains in Mumbai come to a halt then the city actually comes to a halt. Probably, this train network has the world’s highest passenger density with around millions of commuters using its services on a daily basis. Mumbaikars who travel through local trains, reading this, might nod their heads in a ‘yes’. A train ride in a local can be ‘once-in-a-lifetime and exhilarating experience for a tourist. Your encounter with the sight, the touch and the smell of a local can be a thing to remember.
Fast facts about Mumbai Suburban Railways- World’s second busiest rapid transit system
Area- 465 km
Train services- 2342 train services
Daily commuters- Over 7.20 million
Annual ridership- Over 2.60 million
Number of stations-136
Headquarters- Churchgate (WR), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CR)
If this is your first visit to Mumbai and you are planning a ride in a Mumbai Local, then the following information might be of help to you:
Mumbai Local Train Route
The local train of Mumbai has 3 lines - Western, Central and Harbour. Each line spreads in around 100 km of an area:
- The Western Line - Famed as the superior line, it ends at Churchgate in South Mumbai. The most reliable train line, it traverses through the better areas and has frequent service as well. But, it stops at many stations, taking a lot of time for you to reach at your destination.
- The Central line – This line starts from the Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus, earlier known as Victoria Terminus (South Mumbai). Although this line is more crowded but it stops at less stations.
- The Harbour Line – Along with Navi Mumbai, this train line covers the eastern part of this metropolitan. This line also begins from the Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus.
Avoid rush hours- In case you do not want to get troubled from the regular chaos in the locals, then it is best that you travel between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. since the mornings and evenings are peak times of rush. Nevertheless, if you are not worried about the rush of the locals of the ‘Maximum City’ and really want to witness all the craziness, then you can travel during the rush hours.
Weather- It is better that you avoid travelling in a local train of Mumbai in the summer and the rainy season as the weather becomes unpleasant, during these 2 seasons.
Important destinations- For tourists, Bandra and Mahalaxmi on the Western Lines are 2 of the best destinations. Bandra is one of the most amazing Mumbai suburbs that is known for it nightlife in Mumbai and shopping options and Mahalaxmi is the station if you want to visit the world-renowned Dhobi Ghats and Haji Ali Dargah. If you are going towards Mumbai airport, you can get down at the Andheri station.
Cheaper Travel option
It is a known fact that travelling around Mumbai through the roadways can be an expensive affair. On the contrary, the Mumbai local train fare is quite cheaper and varies as per distance between the two stations.
5 important tips
- Select a Hotel in Mumbai beforehand and it is important that you should be well aware that your destination falls on which of the above mentioned 3 lines.
- The Mumbai Suburban railway station has ‘fast locals’ and ‘slow locals’. The former kind of local train stops at certain stations. Board a fast local, only if it halts at your station. Do not link the word ‘fast’ with the speed.
- If you will be staying in the city for a good number of days and want to avoid long queues, then opt for Smart cards/coupons or you can even get one day tourist pass for mumbai local.
- Finding an empty coach in a local train is like a dream, however, if you find one, please make sure that it is not a reserved compartment for the physically challenged. You might face problem when the ticket checker comes.
- As told earlier, avoid morning and evening rush hours but if you cannot do so, just smile and enjoy being a part of the Mumbai crowd.
Get on-board a Mumbai local, to absorb the vivacious chit chat of daily passengers, their fight for a seat, other sights and the whole experience, which is the way of a life of a commoner in Mumbai.