There is a saying about Mumbai, which all Mumbaikars consider true and that is if the local trains in Mumbai stop then the city stop. People travel from the neighboring districts of Thane, Raigad, and New Bombay to come all the way to Mumbai for their work and if one day it stops working, all these people do not have such cheap mode of transport.
The roadways in this case can be really an expensive affair. But if you are visiting Mumbai for the first time and planning to take the locals then beware there are chances that you will get confused with the abbreviations used. The best way to get around knowing the place is get a Mumbai Local Train Map.
A Mumbai local train map can really help a commoner in understanding the necessary details. Lets learn to decipher, before starting let us know that Mumbai Suburban railways has 3 railway networks the first being the western railways which caters all the way from Churchgate to Dahanu , the second being the Central railway this caters all the way from Mumbai CST to Kasara on the north Side and Karjat on the southern side. The third network is the harbor line and it connects Mumbai CST to Panvel; this covers the stations in New Bombay too.
If you look at the map you will see the western railways which start from Churchgate all the way up to Dahanu Road, from here the trains goes into the interiors of Gujarat and further north. It also gives the time taken to each station from Churchgate. The central railway map shows the details from Mumbai CST to Thane and it diverges at Thane. At Thane the fast trains skips the next two stations and reaches Diva, while a slow train touches Mumbra and Kalwa. Later at Kalyan it again splits and one side caters to the North from where the journeys to the northern side of the country can be taken and the other side caters to the South from where one can go to Pune and further Deep South.
The harbor line has the first two stations common with the central line namely the Masjid and Sandhurst road and again later, Kurla also being a station common to both Central and Harbour line. The Harbour line then extends up to Panvel; from here people travelling south can take up the Konkan railway.
A route for Harbour line also starts from Andheri in the western line; they take the same route till Mahim and splits later. From Mahim to KingsCircle to Wadala, and then it is the same journey as that of a normal harbor line train. The common stations for Western and central lines are Dadar, Parel and Matunga. Once you are clear with these details along with the abbreviations used in the local trains it becomes an easy task to travel in the Mumbai Suburban railways.
All you need to do is travel in this network for a couple of days and you are done with understanding the ways.