For the millions of people living in Mumbai, its local train services are a lifeline. You may complain and crib about it and curse the massive crowds you see every morning, but every Mumbaikar knows that their lives would be impossible without it.
For the past 11 months, Mumbai's local train services had been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in decades, the stations remained empty - with no indication of when services might resume again. What makes the local trains the city's lifelines is the fact that it is accessible to all - from working professionals travelling miles to reach their offices on time to fruit vendors hoping to make a few bucks by selling freshly cut fruits during peak office hours.
In a big relief to the residents of Mumbai, the Maharashtra government announced that the local trains will be resuming their services from February 1st, 2021.
The local train services were suspended in March-end last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak and gradually resumed services later in the year. However, it was made accessible to only women or those providing essential services after obtaining a special pass. However, from Monday onwards it has been opened to all categories of the public.
As the city rejoices, one particular photo has been going viral on the internet which shows exactly how much the local trains mean to its commuters.
Even Mahindra group chairman, Anand Mahindra, shared the photo and called it the "soul of india."
The photo, the source of which is unknown, has been shared widely on social media. It shows a man kneeling and offering a little prayer before boarding the local train - 11 months since its closure. The photo has struck a chord with Mumbaikars, many of whom responded saying that local trains are not a mode of transport, but an emotion.
Only a Mumbaikar can relate to this feeling !!! Local train is not just a mode of transport but an emotion , a lifeline! #MumbaiLocal https://t.co/SfrTMjujLZ— Purva Chitnis (@ChitnisPurva) February 3, 2021
Western Railway has said that it will operate 1,300 trains instead of 1,201 from February 1. An additional 204 suburban services will be added to the existing 2781 services making it 2985 services on Mumbai suburban network. Besides, Central Railway will also increase the frequency of trains and operate 1685 trains instead of 1580 from Monday onwards.
Passengers can travel on the trains till 7 am from the start of the first local train. Later, they can avail of the service from 12 noon till 4 pm, and then post 9 pm will the end of the service. The local train services will be restricted to the essential services staff during the peak hours from 7 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm.