The first ‘ladies special’ train in the world, started between Churchgate and Borivali stations on the Western Railway (WR), will complete 26 years today, an official said. It was on May 5, 1992 that the WR had introduced a suburban train service to ferry only women passengers between the two stations. Initially, there were only two daily services, but the number has now gone up to eight services a day- four each in the morning and evening peak hours.
“Dedicating an entire train to women commuters has gone down in the annals of history and the WR has become the torch-bearer for other Railways,” WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said. “It is nothing less than a milestone that dedicating an entire train exclusively for women commuters for so many years has undoubtedly helped over one million-plus Mumbai women commuters to travel safety to and from their homes and workplaces,” he added. The ladies special train service that first ran between Churchgate and Borivali station was later extended up to Virar in 1993, a statement issued by the WR said.
“Since then, the train has been serving lakhs of women commuters daily, which is now considered a milestone for any suburban transport system in the world. Running successfully for 26 years on one of the busiest suburban lines is considered a blessing by all female travellers,” it added. Currently, WR runs four services in the morning peak hours originating from Borivali, Bhayandar, Vasai Road and Virar stations that terminate at Churchgate and another four in the evening peak hours from Churchgate to Borivali, Bhayandar and Virar (two services) stations.
Following in the footsteps of WR, the Central Railway (CR) also introduced suburban services exclusively for the women commuters on July 1, 1992 between Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kalyan. The CR runs four full and 24 partial ladies special services between CSMT and Kalyan corridor, CSMT-Panvel corridor on the Harbour line. Talking about the celebrations planned on the occasion, Bhakar said, “Women commuters in the special trains will be greeted and feedback will be taken from them to further improve the train services.” In a statement, he said that over the years the WR had taken several initiative to “instill a sense of safety and security” amongst the women passengers by installing CCTV cameras in many ladies coaches and by introducing talk-back system.