MUMBAI: Indian Railways has a special reason to cheer and celebrate on Saturday. It was May 5 in 1992 that the Western railways had introduced the first 'ladies special' train in the world to ferry only women passengers between Churchgate and Borivali stations. first 'ladies special' train in the world, started between Churchgate and Borivali stations on the Western Railway (WR). Saturday is the 26th anniversary of the introduction of this milestone of Indian Railways.
"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. 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," WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said.
The First Ladies special train, flagged off on Western Railways, was initially run between Churchgate and Borivali and further extended upto Virar in the year 1993. The ladies special has been a boon for the working women who had to earlier struggle to board the ladies compartment in the regular trains. Dedicating an entire train to women meant they could travel more comfortably, which was the primary aim of the services. Running successfully for 26 years on one of the busiest suburban lines it is considered a blessing by all women commuters.
"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," a statement issued by the WR said.
To instill a sense of safety and security amongst the women passengers, Indian Railways has come up with various other novel initiatives and measures since then. CCTV cameras have been installed in many of the ladies coaches. Talk-back System is a new security measure introduced by Western Railway last year, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
In this system, a two-way communication is established between a commuter in any of the ladies coach and the guard of the train in the event of any emergency by pressing a button on the unit. This benefits lady passengers, especially, during any exigencies such as security or medical issues.
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.