A sign carrying the words ‘end of an era’ hung at the front of the last Direct Current (DC) train, that plied in Mumbai on Saturday April 9 for the last time. The iconic yellow and maroon DC local rake pulled out of Kurla station at 11:30 pm and rolled through the harbour line tracks, pulling into Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) at 12:20 am.
Flowers decorated the nine-car rake, and old photographs of DC trains through the years were fitted inside a few compartments. Hundreds thronged to the platform at CST to watch history unfold before their eyes, as the local breathed its last breath. Nostalgia and a sense of occasion filled the air, and the DC train halted for the last time. The first DC local rake journeyed for the first time on February 3, 1925, on the same line 91 years ago. Through the years, these iconic coaches became a part of local travellers’ lives, and the memories attached to the train were cherished and celebrated by reminiscent passengers and ticket collectors present.
An elaborate cultural event was organised by the Central Railway to commemorate the historic moment, with dhols and bands playing music, and dance performances entertaining those gathered. The Mumbai chapter of The Indian Railways Fan Club Association (IRFCA), a 5,000-member group of rail enthusiasts, stood with the crowd. 35-year-old Nikhil Karunakaran, a member of IRFCA at the event, told
Indian Express, “I noticed DC local trains for the first time when I was a child and was intrigued by the way they functioned. Since then, I have been travelling by these trains and have a passion for them. The one thing that I will miss the most about this local train is the jerky ride that it assured, unlike the new and smooth running AC rakes, which added to its appeal for me.”
This final ride was followed by the sprucing up of the last DC rake, converting it to Alternating Current (AC). Sunil Kumar Sood, Central Railway General Manager who also rode the last journey, stated, “It is an emotional and historic occasion. The coaches of these rake will be preserved in various divisions, including National Railway Museum in New Delhi.”