Freedom to Travel: 25 years of Dombivli-CSMT local train

After 25 years, as the Dombivlikars have enjoyed the freedom to travel with ease, it seems that they are yet to realise the responsibility that comes with it

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If you are a Central Railway (CR) passenger like me, you understand how crucial a Dombivli-CSMT local is for us. From the first Dombivli-CSMT local at 5:57 am in the morning to the last 10:48 pm Dombivli-Dadar local, the trains are means of transport for lakhs of travellers on a daily basis. And more importantly, the significance of these trains is understood in a better sense by passengers from Kalwa, Mumbra, and Diva, who stand no chance in alighting a local train from Badlapur, Ambernath, Karjat, or Titwala. 

While the local train has been nothing short of a blessing for lakhs of passengers like me, the situation was not the same for people who lived in Dombivli 25 years ago. The railway station was built in 1886 but till the next 98 years, Dombivli was devoid of a local train that would start from there.

Talking to a fellow passenger from Dombivli, I learned that prior to the introduction of the much-welcomed Dombivli-CSMT local train service, people had to alight on trains arriving from Kalyan, which has always been a junction with both local as well as express trains making stops.

Let me tell you, Kalyan is one of the contenders to be the busiest railway stations of Mumbai and is currently, the fourth busiest junction in India. And therefore, it was a next-to-impossible task for Dombivlikars to alight on these trains.

While the passengers kept travelling on the Kalyan-bound local trains with the never-dying spirit at their heart, the overcrowded trains, and dangers that followed it forced the passengers to protest for the inception of local train service.

After which, the Dombivli Passengers Association took up the initiative and went on taking signatures from every Dombivlikar to submit the list to the then Member of Parliament (MPs), Ram Kapse and Rambhau Mhalgi, who eventually involved the Central Ministry to start the service.

Accordingly, on July 1, 1994, the first-ever local train began its journey from Dombivli railway station which came as a ray of hope for the passengers travelling in the trains every day. I would like to propose that this day, July 1, 1994, was like a second independence day to the travellers from Dombivli.

But with freedom, arises the hour to take up responsibilities. After 25 years, as the Dombivlikars have enjoyed the freedom to travel with ease, it seems that they are yet to realise the responsibility that comes with it. With responsibility, I mean that the passengers must thrive to make the journey for the fellow passengers easier. For instance, on numerous occasions, the people who commute daily, tend to form the 'train groups' and these groups have been infamous for their rude behaviour along with a goon-like attitude. Therefore, it's probably a simple suggestion that they develop some civil sense and show some sensitivity towards the other passengers.

And therefore, as we move to appreciate introduction of the train service, it is vital that people tend to criticise the shortcomings and improve, as the true development thrives on criticism.


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