Super Dense Crush Load

Mumbai’s commuter trains are said to be the most overcrowded ones in the world. There even is a term for it: “Super Dense Crush Load”. A lot of figures float around to describe how crowded it is. According to the Wall Street Journal it means 550 people are crammed into a car built for 200 – that translates to 16 people per square meter. It definitely is so crowded that commuters cling limpet-like to the sides and hang out on the openings where doors once might have been.

When I travelled during peak time I was lucky to go into the right direction. So I got a seat before most of the other women came in. Yes, women only, because every train has a women’s compartment. So for me the number of people wasn’t such a challenge. But the fish was. Every train also has a compartment for carrying luggage – and going from Churchgate up north in the morning means huge baskets full of stinking fish. But with the wind coming in through the doors and windows plus the constantly running fans below the ceiling, I managed.

People that fear the crowd always can choose the first class option, with again men and women in separate compartments. Tickets are nearly ten times the price of the cheap normal ones, but still very affordable for tourists. Together with space also come cushions. But still no doors.

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