On 22nd March 2020, passenger services on Mumbai Locals, the lifeline of Mumbai, were stopped by the Railways to stop coronavirus spread. Though initially it was meant to be only till 31st March, the suspension continued because of nationwide lockdown. Now, the Western and Central Railway has decided to resume selective services of Mumbai Locals over the mainline and harbour line from Monday.
When the local trains were shut initially for nine days from 23 March, it was for the first time in history.
Services available only for essential staff
The Railway announced that the resumed services are not for the general passengers and only essential staff identified by the state government can use the Mumbai Locals to travel. The trains will run from 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM with an interval of 15 minutes.
As per the schedule released by Railway, Mumbai Locals will run over WR, between CCG and Borivali, as fast local trains and continue as slow local trains beyond Borivali. The Western Railways will run 60 pairs of trains between Churchgate and Dahanu road. with maximum trains running between Churchgate and Virar and a few up to Dahanu road.
On CR, 200 trains will resume services dividing them in 100 up and 100 down. 130 trains will run between CSMT and Kasara/Karjat/Kalyan/Thane. Also, 70 trains will run between CSMT and Panvel.
As per the statement issued by Central Railway, the arrival and departure timings of the trains will suit the duty shifts of the essential staff. The arrival time at CSMT will be 7 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 3 PM, 9 PM and 11 PM and the departure time will be 7 AM, 9 AM, 3 PM, 6 PM, 9 PM and 11 PM.
Generally, 80 lakh people use Mumbai locals every day and the Mumbai Suburban rail network has 3000 trains that run daily. Most of the residents of Mumbai use these services to commute to their workplace and back home.
Guidelines while using Mumbai Locals
- Only 700 people will be allowed to board the train with a capacity of 1200 to maintain social distancing.
- Multiple rounds of checking will ensure that only essential staff is using the services.
- No hawkers or parking zone will be allowed in a 150-meter radius around the railway station.
The trains will run as fast locals and will only halt at major stations. RPF, GRP and state police personnel have been deployed at various stations to maintain law and order. For now, entry will be given strictly on the basis of ID cards issued by the state government. The government is planning to issue QR code enabled E-passes for identified personnel to ensure swifter ticketing.
Mumbai has been the worst affected city in the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, the city’s total cases tally was sat 56,740. Maharashtra has over 105,000 cases so far with 3,830 deaths and 49,346 recoveries.