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Friday 9am - Empty Mumbai train carriages

My 13 days G Adventures “Northest India & Darjeeling by Rail” Kolkata to Delhi tour wasn’t due to start for a few days. Between the 2 G Adventures tours I had 4 days free and decided to see Mumbai and Kolkata by myself. I have always said I may never get back to a city / place so how to make the most of this opportunity? How can I pack as much in not knowing the layout of the city? Use one local company and let them show me the sights, especially how the locals live. So after researching decided for Mumbai on using Reality Tours for two full on days with effectively 6 back to back tours. By then on my last day there can fill in the gaps by myself before heading to Kolkata for 1 day.

Local Transport Tour

08:30 / 8.30am
Meeting Point
- Regal Cinema
Reality Tours guide – Chetan

This is what Reality Tours said …

Learn about the realities of working class life as you discover Mumbai through its local transport.

Ride the famous suburban train, hop on a classic red bus, cruise around town in a typical black and yellow taxi and look on as millions of Mumbai's working class head out in the morning. We will discover Mumbai beyond the typical tourist sites; we will see a number of different markets and the world famous Dabbawallahs (the workers of India’s intricate lunch delivery system). This view of the Maximum City will give you an idea of the struggles and challenges felt by the working class, as well as their unconquerable spirit.

At the end of the tour we’ll have a special tiffin (lunchbox) lunch delivered to us by a dabbawallah service and we’ll have a picnic at the nearby park.


Local Bus

First up was catching a local bus the short distance to CSMT Station (1874). It was the first railway station in Asia.


  • 400 buses covering 4,000 routes but one need to know the local language to read the destinations on the bus.
  • Few of the 124 double decker buses are left.




  • 130 km with 158 stations.
  • 7 million people use train daily. Mumbai has 20 million people.
  • 3 people die daily through train accidents like falling out of the carriage or off the roof. I didn’t see anyone travel on the roof.


  • 55,000 taxis in Mumbai.
  • Mainly black and yellow but Cool Car and Uber are muscling in.
  • Yellow licence plate - can carry tourist.
  • Black and white licence plate - for private use only.
  • Taxi driver wearing a white shirt - owner operator.
  • Taxi driver wearing a brown shirt - is an employee and has to pay the owner 500 rupees / NZ$10.60 / US$7.70 a day plus petrol. Rest is his to keep.

CSMT Station

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) formerly known as Victoria Terminus is a historic railway station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. The station has been designed by Frederick William Stevens according to the concept of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and meant to be a similar revival of Indian Goth (classical era) architecture. The station was built in 1887 in the Bori Bunder area of Mumbai to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

It is one of the busiest railway stations in India, serving as a terminal for both long-distance trains and commuter trains. The station's name was changed from Victoria Terminus (with code BB) to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in March 1996 in honour of Emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji, founder of the Maratha Empire. In 2017, the station was again renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Thanks Mr Wikipedia







City government offices opposite the station

City government offices opposite the station






Ladies only carriages

Ladies only carriages

To my surprise the station was not busy at all. In fact look at the empty carriages.

Where is everybody? It’s not the weekend but a Friday workday at 9am / 09:00.

(How wrong I was going to be. We were heading out of the station which is at the end of the line whereas the mass were heading into the station.)





Where is everyone?

Where is everyone?









Getting off at the busy Dadar railway station and the first stop was the local flower market under the flyover.



Posted by bruceontour 02:16 Archived in India Tagged railway_station indian_train

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