Mumbai railway set to shut the doors on quintessential Bollywood image


By Jason Burke

In a few decades’ time, when directors remake Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning 2009 film Slumdog Millionaire, they will have to find a new way to unite the hero and the heroine in the final scene.

Viewers of the original saw Jamal, the young call centre employee, glimpse secret lover Latika through the open doors of Mumbai’s local trains at the city’s most famous station. In future, those doors might be firmly shut.

Western Railway, which runs half the ferociously overcrowded but hugely popular suburban railway in India’s commercial capital, is trialling automatic doors in a bid to cut the number of casualties caused by falls from moving trains.

For decades doors have remained firmly open, allowing scores of people to travel while hanging precariously outside the carriages and – in another scene repeatedly portrayed on the silver screen – to leap on board with seconds to spare before departure.

But the first local train equipped with automatic steel sliding doors, which shut when it leaves a station, has completed eight successful trips earlier this week, officials said. More info