Any frequent Harbour line commuter on the Central Railway (CR) is likely to be puzzled by the 8:45 pm Borivali local from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). While CR runs frequent services till Andheri, few are aware of its extension to Borivali. What makes this local service different is that it is the only service in the down direction to ply till Borivali station from CSMT. Started 24 years back on July 1, 1993, the train (number 94701) departs from CSMT at around 8.45 pm and reaches Borivali station at 9.53 pm.
Senior officials recall that they received requests from a segment of traders working in Masjid for initiating this service. Finding the commute till Marine Lines or Churchgate difficult after work hours, they asked railways to schedule a direct local on the CR till the farthest western suburb.”
“They would shut their shops at around 8 or 8.30 pm. Most of them are residents of Goregaon and Kandivali areas and thus desired taking a direct local from Masjid station. Due to the same reason, while eight local services till Andheri were already planned, one was included to ply till Borivali station,” a senior CR official said.
The Western Railway (WR) provides the rake and staff- motorman and guard- for running the CSMT-Borivali local. In fact, motormen scheduled to run the service on a particular day have a specific work timetable”
“The required motorman gets an evening duty if he is scheduled to drive that rake. In his third trip for the day, he would drive the Andheri local till CSMT followed by the 8.45 pm Borivali service. After the journey, the rake is stabled at Andheri ya”d,” a senior motorman associated with WR said.
Inside the local, commuters check the indicator twice before entering the train. “Ye Borivali hai ya Panvel?” (Does this train go to Borivali or Panvel?) remains a frequent question asked before a commuter steps inside the local”
“I do not trust the indicators. I confirm twice before entering the train at this time of the hour as I would not want to end up at any of the WR stations and coming back would become difficult,” Shanti Gosh, a regular commuter said”
“We announce twice before starting this local service to ensure commuters are well informed that it is a Borivali train. At major junctions like Vadala, Bandra, Andheri we continue with the announcements to assist them,” Sandeep Shirsat, motorman with the WR said.
The local finds dedicated commuters. “I have been a regular user of this service for the past three years. When I took this train earlier, I was not aware that it would ply till Borivali but on finding it, I have taken it often,” Nimisha Rathod, a regular commuter of the train said.
“I come to CSMT to visit my mother. I wait for this local and take it till Borivali. I find waiting for a cab or bus to travel till Churchgate cumbersome,” Lata Jhundre, another commuter, said. The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation plans to extend the Andheri-Goregaon line from CSMT till Borivali. Until then, it is the 8.45 pm local on platform number 1 for CR commuters.