The EMU and ME!
EMUs or Electrical Multiple Unit are used by Central Railway and Western Railway to operate Suburban train services in the Metro City of Mumbai and its surroundings. The EMUs go as far as 121 Kms (to Kasara, NE of Mumbai, Central Railway) from its origin (Mumbai CST, CR). The EMUs basically have 9-Coaches, while many on WR, and CR (Main Line) have 12-Coaches. Each EMU Rake is made from sets of 3-Coaches each. Each set has a coach with the Driving Cab, A motor car - the one which also houses the "motor", and a Trailer car (the one which has only seating facility i.e., has niether a driving cab nor a motor!. 3 such sets join to form a 9-Car train while 4 forms a 12-Car rake.
I had my first EMU journey in 1999. (Explained in the previous post). Since 1999, I had countless journeys on EMUs. My first experience of an EMU was on a relatively less crowded Harbour line of Central Railway. Central Railway EMUs are not very crowded as compared to their counterparts in WR. WR is notorious for over crowding, groupism and what not! WR locals have their longest journey to Virar, 60 kms away from Churchgate (the point of origin of WR EMUs, in south mumbai). Passengers travelling on Virar locals are reluctant to permit passengers short of Dahisar i.e., A Virar local (VR) leaving Churchgate (CCG) should have passengers travelling to Dahisar or beyond ONLY! Just in case you manage to sneak in, they simply wouldn't permit you to get down! Similarly on trains in the opposite direction i.e, VR to CCG, they wouldn't permit passengers to board at or after Borivali! Just in case you brave them and board the local - you would have it! There are peculiar cases wherein passengers boarding against the diktak being pushed off a running train!
My first taste of a WR EMU was in 2000. Myself, and my dad had an outing to Churchgate and we decided to return by the WR system to Dadar instead of coming back to CST. We boarded a local (which was probably a Borivali Slow - since we were permitted to get down at Dadar!!!) at Churchgate. The local got crowded from the very next station. Getting down at Dadar was a herculean task - All you have to do is, manage to get to the doorway, loosen yourself and hold all your belongings tightly and the crowd will push you out of the train. Just ensure that you do not trip while getting down, else you would be stamped!. The journey was horrific. I had just 2 experiences in WR EMUs in Second Class - Both in 2000. My next experience of a WR EMU was in 2005 - In First class. The local was working the Harbour line Andheri-Mumbai CST slow leaving Andheri in the noon! The crowd was thin and manageable!
I love CR EMUs for the lesser crowd! A friend of my brother differentiated between WR and CR locals in one single sentence - "In a CR EMU your legs would be stamped by foots wearing chappals, while on WR you get boots!" Back in 2000, WR EMUs had metal seats while CR has hot-pressed wood seats! CR was and is comfortable!
CR is notorious for its un-punctuality! CR EMUs are many-a-times late! But that wouldn't matter - the one which has to run ahead would also be late! So in effect you get an EMU on time. EMU is now a part of my life! I love the "racing" sounds of DC EMUs! Their pickup, speed, and shorter braking distance always surprises me! The sound of the compressor is just a part of the travel! The AC/DC EMUs are more interesting! They make F1 like sounds and fly at good speeds! Surely a Travel of Good times! Long live - Mumbai EMUs!