Mumbai Life Line - Local Train
Friday, June 25, 2010 7:55:25 AM
The Mumbai Suburban Railway system, part of the public transport system of Mumbai, is provided for by the state-run Indian Railways' two zonal Western Railways and Central Railways. The system carries more than 6.9 million commuters on a daily basis and constitutes more than half of the total daily passenger capacity of the Indian Railways itself. It has one of the highest passenger densities of any urban railway system in the world. The trains plying on its routes are commonly referred to as local trains or simply as locals by the general populace.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway, as well as Indian Railways, are an offshoot of the first railway to be built by the British in India in April 1853, and was also the oldest railway system in Asia. The first train ran between Mumbai and Thane, a distance of 34 km. The Bombay Railway History Group has been striving to document railway heritage along this line.
Spread over 464 route kilometres, The Suburban Railway system operates on 1500 V DC / 25000 V AC (Virar-Borivali & Kasara - Titwala) power supply from overhead catenary lines. The suburban services are run by electric multiple units (EMUs). 171 rakes (train sets) of 9-car & 12-car composition are utilised to run 2342 train services, carrying 6.94 million passengers per day.
Due to its extensive reach across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and its intensive use by the local urban population, overcrowding has grown to be a compelling problem (5,000 + passengers are packed into a 9-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of 1,700). This has resulted in what is known as Super-Dense Crush Load of 14 to 16 standing passengers per square meter of floor space. Trains on the suburban line are on average more than 4 minutes apart, contributing to the problem of overcrowding. The impending introduction of new higher speed rakes may help address the issue.
More than 3,500 people die on the Mumbai suburban railway tracks annually due to unsafe riding on trains or trespassing on railway tracks or as a result of suicide attempts. This is believed to be the highest number of fatalities per year on any urban or suburban railway system. Most of the deaths are of passengers crossing the tracks on foot, instead of using the footbridges provided for going from one platform to another, and are hit by passing trains. Some passengers die when they sit on train roofs to avoid the crowds and are electrocuted by the overhead electric wires, or hang from doors and window bars. To reduce the risk of such fatalities, automatic doors will be installed on all rakes by 2016 along with longer platforms and more frequent trains.
Central and Western Railway was forced to release under the Right to Information Act that at least 20,706 people have died in the last five years; an average of 10 each day. The request was filed by Mumbai activist Chetan Kothari.
According to The Times of UK, Mumbai's local railway network was one of the deadliest in the world: a record 17 people died every weekday on the city's suburban railway network in 2008. Most deaths were people being run over while trespassing on the tracks. The next biggest cause of death was of passengers who fell (or were pushed) from carriages and are often dangerously full. Another 41 people perished after being bludgeoned by trackside poles while hanging out of overcrowded trains. Twenty-one were electrocuted by power cables when they sat on the roof.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway has suffered 8 blasts and around 318 people are believed to have died as a result.
14 March 2003 - A bomb went off in a train in Mulund killing 10
11 July 2006 - A series of seven bombs went off in trains killing 207
26 November 2008 - Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was also attacked during the The 2008 Mumbai Attacks killing at least 10 people.
Image of Terrorist attack on C.S.T Station
Photograph of Ajmal Kasab, one of the ten terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks at the Victoria Terminus station.