Every day thousands of people come to Mumbai, some for work, some for leisure. Unlike other metropolitan cities in India, Mumbai is vast. For anyone visiting Mumbai for the first time, you can be taken for a ride if you’re not aware of the geography. For a city of that scale, the commute is not only time consuming but expensive also.
The city offers multiple modes of commute right from autos, buses, kaali-peeli (local taxis), app-based taxis, local trains and metro trains. Mumbai local train is the cheapest of all, while the app-based taxis can be quite expensive. The Metro train is pocket friendly but it doesn’t cover all the places. In short, there’s everything for everyone.
In the two weeks that I stayed in Mumbai, I spent a lot of time commuting by local train. I’ve heard stories of you may be thrown out of the metro by the crowd if you’re not vigilant. Hence, I was more inclined to experience Mumbai local train and get the hang of it.
I’ve taken quite a few trips on the Mumbai local train and I feel that for a non-Mumbaiker, I’ve understood the Mumbai local well. And hence, I decided to pen down this post on Mumbai Local Train Guide For Non Mumbaikers.
Understanding Mumbai Local Train – Lines
The first and foremost thing that you should know about the Mumbai Local Train is the routes. Once you have this sorted, you’re good to go. You don’t need to know about all the lines and all the stations, but at least the route that you’ll use often. For instance, I mostly travelled from Khar Road to Andheri or Churchgate. So I was aware of the western line, the first and last station etc.
There are three different Mumbai local lines: Western, Central and Harbour.
- Western: This line starts from Dahanu Road and ends at Churchgate. Important places like Virar, Bhayander, Mira Road, Borivali, Goregaon, Andheri, Ville Parle, Santa Cruz, Bandra, Mahim, Dadar, Lower Parel, Mumbai Central and Marine Lines to name a few are part of this line.
- Central: The central line starts from Khopoli & Kasara and ends at Mumbai CST. Important places like Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Dombivili, Thane, Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Sion, Dadar (Central) and Byculla to name a few are part of this line.
- Harbour: The third line is the harbour line that starts from Roha and ends at Mumbai CST. Important places like Panvel, Belapur, Vashi, Chembur, Wadala, and Dockyard come on this route.
These are the major lines that you must be aware of Mumbai’s local train network. Based on where you’re staying, choose the station closest to you and experience the Mumbai local train.
Type Of Mumbai Local Trains
Now that the stations are clear, let me talk about the various types of local trains in Mumbai. The recently introduced AC Local and the slow and fast locals. Except for the AC local, slow and fast local trains are not different engineering wise but operation wise.
- Slow Local: As the name suggests, this Mumbai slow local is a slow local. It stops at all the stations on the way before reaching the destination. If you’re visiting Mumbai for the first time and want to experience the Mumbai local train, I suggest you try the slow local first. The frequency of this is every couple of minutes.
- Fast Local: The fast local on the other had halts only at major stations and hence takes less time to reach a particular destination. This is most commonly used by Mumbaikers, especially office goers. The frequency of this is every couple of minutes. For instance, if I want to go to Churchgate on the western line, I can take a slow local from Khar road. However, the fast local stops only at Bandra, Dadar and Mumbai Central before reaching Churchgate. So from 11 stations on the slow local to 3 stations on the fast local, I hope this gives a better idea.
- AC local: The air-conditioned local is recently introduced. It’s an air-conditioned local train, similar to that of a Metro train but with a different configuration. I took this from Churchgate to Dadar. The fare is obviously 10 times that of a slow local. Also, the frequency of the AC local is 1 1.5 hrs. Lastly, this is a fast local, so it stops only at major stations and not all.
Booking Mumbai Local Train Tickets
Having understood the route and the type of the train, you might wonder how booking Mumbai local train tickets works. Well, it’s pretty similar to that of a regular train/local train booking but there are quite a few ways to do it.
- Ticket Counter: You can always get in a queue and purchase a train ticket. Based on my experience this is quite crowded and hence you’ll spend some time waiting. If possible, ignore this.
- Automated Ticket Vending Machine: There are automated ticket vending machines set up at almost all railway stations. The stations are pre-fed and you simply need to choose a station where you want to travel to. The payment can be done using UPI. This is the second best option to buy Mumbai local train tickets.
- UTS App: The best way to book Mumbai local train tickets is using the UTS app. The UTS app by IRCTC is the fastest way to book a ticket. There’s a paperless ticket and online payment thus making it easier. Also, you can book the ticket from wherever you are! Read more about booking Mumbai local tickets online.
Understanding Train Indicators at Platforms
So you’ve bought a ticket, but how do you identify which train you’re supposed to board? Also on which platform is your train arriving? With trains coming in and going out at short intervals, this can be extremely overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide on how you can figure that out.
- 12 – indicates the number of coaches in the local train
- C – indicates the destination, Churchgate in this case
- 09:44 – indicates the arrival time
- S – indicates Slow or Fast (F)
Based on this and the route information, see the destination and get on the upcoming train. There are announcements on the train about the next station so you can prepare yourself before your station arrives. As for the directions, most of the platforms are on the same side as you start your journey from, except for the final destination.
I had trouble understanding these train indicators on platforms initially, but eventually, I got a hang of it. Coupled with the information regarding the routes, you’ll find it easy to travel on the Mumbai local train.
FAQs for Mumbai Local Trains
Are Mumbai Local Trains Open For the Public?
The Mumbai local train was stopped for a few weeks during the lockdown. However, Mumbai local trains are running now and are open to the public.
Is Universal Pass Required for Mumbai local trains?
During the lockdown, the government along with Indian Railways had come up with a universal pass for all vaccinated passengers. However, it is not required as of May 2022.
What time does Mumbai local start?
The first train starts at 04:15 hrs. There’s a gap of a couple of hours from 02:00 until 04:15 when the trains don’t run.
Is UTS ticket valid for Mumbai local train?
Yes, UTS tickets are valid for Mumbai local trains. You can book tickets using the UTS app and travel in Mumbai local.
What is the peak time of the Mumbai local train?
Based on my experience, the peak time of the Mumbai local train is during office hours. Around 9-10 am in the morning and 6-8 in the evening.
Must Experience Mumbai Local Train
If you’re also visiting Mumbai for the very first time, I suggest you experience the Mumbai local train at least once. My first Mumbai local train experience was from Bandra to Andheri. Post that experience, I travelled only by Mumbai local. The route that I used was Khar Road to Churchgate and I even know the stations by heart now! I’ve travelled both at peak and non-peak hours and seen different views of the Mumbai local train.
So if you’re in Mumbai, you should take this ride and experience the Mumbai local train. Let me know if you have any questions related to Mumbai local and I’ll try to answer them. Mention them in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.