The world’s first ladies special local train turned 25 on Friday. On May 5, 1992, the first ladies special ran between Churchgate and Borivali stations on the Western Railway.
The railway dedicated an entire train to women commuters and paved the way for other railways to follow suit. In 1993, the service was extended to Virar and has been running ever since. The Western Railway operates eight ladies special services a day.
The Western Railway’s public relations officer, Ravinder Bhakar, said in a press statement, “The 1990s witnessed huge industrial and commercial boom towards south Mumbai with an increase in the number of working women, especially commuting from their residences in the suburbs. The ladies special helped them commute more comfortably and safely.”
The Western Railway officials are also taking measures to boost security for women. CCTV cameras have been installed in 60 ladies coaches and a Talkback system was implemented in the ladies coaches of two local trains on the last Women’s Day. The system allows women to contact the guards on the train in case of an emergency.
The Talkback system will be extended to all other Ladies Special trains, said Bhakar. The 25th anniversary of the ladies special was celebrated in a big way. The Railways offered women commuters roses, chocolates and lapel pins to acknowledge their role in making the Ladies special a popular service.