What is Virar Local ?

I wanted to name my personal blog after some entity which had a huge impact on my daily life. After a lot of brain tickling and head scratching I thought of this name for my blog.

'Virar' is the last railway station on the Mumbai City's Western Railway Line towards its suburbs in North. All Mumbai 'suburban' trains are called 'Locals' to distinguish them from long distance passenger trains.The term 'Virar Local' refers to all down-town north-bounded suburban trains.

These trains carry a record number of commuters who travel daily from their home in suburbs to their offices in the city and back. These trains are so famous for their jam-packed crowds that they are used in metaphors like 'The theatre was crowded like a Virar Local'.Its a common sight to see the entire trains packed with people hanging from from gates, windows, roof-tops and every other square inch of real-estate you can keep your foot on.

Virar Local

For first-timers the experience is nightmarish and hell-like, however the daily travellers get used to the mad suffocating rush and spine breaking pushs and swirls. But still these trains are are the pulse of the city and the very wheels on which the city runs.

Mad Rush

I have been traveling in these trains for more than eight years and like every other Mumbai-ite I have a odd love-hate relationship with these 'Virar Locals'...

You can read a humurous description of 'Local Trains' by Amit Sehgal at Adventure aboard a Mumbai Local

Below is a poem on 'Local Trains' by Thara Madhavan
Getting into a fast local train
from Virar station is not a strain.
But once you are on the inside
You find no seat on that side,
As passengers coming down
Leaves not a single one.

The train reaches Nallaspora
And you find the train is ‘Bhara’
It moves and reaches Vasai Road
And you will find no place to board.
Passengers however know how to go on,
As they know, not many get in at Naigaon.

Across the Bassein Bridge and comes Bhayandar
And now people are pushing each other.
At Mira Road the condition gets worse,
With people hanging out, standing on their toes.
At Dahisar the plight of the train is the worst,
It is like a human balloon about to burst.

People keep getting in with the belief
That Borivali will bring some relief,
As quite a few passengers would alight.
But others get in, all ready to have a fight.
Comes Andheri, and half the crowd is gone
Making space to move up and down.

Bandra does not make much of a difference,
But at Dadar it is a different circumstance,
As people coming by the Central and Harbour train,
Who want to go to Churchgate, make it crowded again.
Thereafter the Churchgate fast halts at stations,
Only to drop people at their respective destinations.

You find more people alight and a few board
At Bombay Central, Grant Road and Charni Road.
So it is at Marine Lines, and finally comes Churchgate.
But alas, after all the struggle, the train is late!
Finally comes the day’s biggest disaster -
You are a few minutes late for the muster.

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