Indian Railways Travel

See India By Rail

Section along the Konkan Railways.
Mumbai Suburban Railway train.
The Indian Railways and the railway stations are best described by a book called "India, No Problem Sahib": a book with 268 photos and very few words mainly because of changing images of India that leave an impression.

The Indian Railway station is like a mini-city with a hubbub of activity made up of a community & culture of its own. Very different to the railway stations in the west with: frequent announcements of the arriving & departing trains with the platform numbers ; coolies (red coated luggage porters); tea stalls; freshly cooked a-la-carte and full Thali meals at railway canteens and special food stalls;.book shops; platform charts with railway reservations with names, ages, PNR No. and ticket numbers for every travelling passenger; railway left luggage offices for travellers to leave their locked luggage; Ist Class and 2nd Class waiting halls; retiring rooms for those wanting an overnight stay; plenty of people with their families running around the stations near the trains they are about to board. Indian Railway is a vast network. It involves:-

The Indian railway system is a vast network. It involves:-
  • around 60,700 km of rail tracks.
  • over 7000 railway stations.
  • over 12,000 trains.
  • over 20 million passenger traffic daily.
  • Special narrow gauge railway trains such as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Shimla & Ootacamund railways. Also general broad gauge railways such as The Konkan
    Railway from Mumbai all the way to Mangalore. (See section on scenic rides).
  • Classes of travel like Ac class, Ac executive class, Ac 2 Tier class, Ac 3 Tier class, Ac chaircar, standard sleeper class. (See section on the classes of travel).

The complete timetable of the trains in India can be seen on the Indian Railways website. Adderss is:

Why not view the Indian Railway Map (photocopied from 'Train At a Glance Timetable' to aid you in your preliminary planning process. We can pre-book rail sectors in advance through our agents. Bookings can be made for most journeys up to 4 months in advance but at least 30 days in advance and in some cases longer in advance as Indian Railways tend to run full. We do try & help with reservations for 2- 3 weeks notice. To continue, please complete the form below and send onto us. We can then get back to you with times, prices and booking procedure. Please do not send us attachments to emails but send as part of the main email.

SD Enterprises were formerly the GSA for Indrail passes from 1986 - 2017. In October 2017 the sale of Indrail passes were discontinued by the Indian Railways. We are still able to make bookings for passengers on Indian Railways through our agents who charge a markup. In majority of the cases, the costing of the tickets booked are similar to the cost of the passes for their itineraries.


This is a constant area of confusion, largely, because of the terminology. For example, Ist class is the third highest category in Indian Railways. The highest category of Indian Railway travel is called AC Class. This is then followed by a class called Ist class which includes AC 2 Tier, Standard Ist class and AC chaircar. The bottom category of Indian Railways is referred to as 2nd class. Choose from three different indrail pass plans.
(1) AC Class:
Offers air conditioned accommodation for two berth (one up & one down) or four berth (2 up & 2 down) locakable compartments for overnight journeys and air conditioned executive class seating for short journeys such as the Shatabadi express trains to Agra from Delhi ; linen/blankets; facility of shower/toilet at either end of the carriage & attendant services. Listed below is a plan view of this type of accommodation.

A photo of the AC Class 4 berth compartment is shown below:-

AC Class 4 berth compartment

AC executive Class
If you travel by daytime short journeys such as Shatabdi expresses AC executive class is the highest available class. This is similar to aircraft type seats. Diagram of AC executive class is given below:

General Advise on AC Class.
This is the most comfortable method of travel on Indian Railways. There are 1 or 2 points to look out for before purchasing this type of ticket.

(2) Ist Class permits travel in AC II Tier, AC III Tier, Standard Ist Class or AC Chaircar.

There are basin/toilet facilities at either end of the carriage. Bedding is provided in AC II Tier and AC III Tier but not provided in Standard Ist class but can be ordered against payment in advance at certain stations. AC II Tier: Air conditioned corridor carriage that sleeps 46 people split up into 2 & 4 berth cubicles facing each other separated by curtains. A diagram of the layout is shown below:-

AC II Tier A photo of AC II Tier is shown below:-

AC III Tier AC III Tier is exactly the same as AC II Tier in layout except that it is based on 6 berth cubicles instead of 4 berth cubicles. Hence, it is split up into 2 & 6 berth cubicles facing each other separated by curtains.
Standard Ist Class: Offers non air conditioned accommodation for two berth (one up & one down) or four berth (2 up & 2 down). Note: The policy of the Indian Railways is to phase out Standard Ist Class). This layout is similar to the plan view diagram of the Air Conditioned Class carriage but without: air conditioning; bedding; in many cases attendant services. A photo of the same is shown below:- Standard First Class

AC Chaircar: Air conditioned carriage with reclining seats. A photo of the same is shown below:- AC Chaircar

(3) Second class: Seats/berths (in some cases wooden and in some cushioned) and toilets (Indian style). We do not recommend second class travel for travellers.

Scenic Train Rides in India

There are many scenic train rides in India. It is not possible to list them all. Hence, we have listed a few as below:-
Konkan Railway Mumbai - Goa - Mangalore. Scenic run through the western ghats. Most noticeable feature are the long tunnels. There is one tunnel which is approx. 6 kms long taking 7 minutes to get through. There are day time trains from Bombay - Goa. Times are:
Dep Mumbai 0710 Arr Madgaon (Goa) 1910. Shatabdi express (daily): Dep Mumbai 0510 Arr Madgaon 1430. You also have new trains like the Vande Bharat Express: Dep Mumbai 0525 Arr Madgaon 1310 running 6 days a week.
Dep Madgaon (Goa) 0915 Arr Mumbai 2145. Shatabdi express (daily): Dep Madgaon 1440 Arr Mumbai 2355 and the new Vande Bharat Express: Dep Madgaon 1440 Arr Mumbai 2225 running 6 days a week.. You can also travel on the southern section (i.e. Goa - Cochin) by day using the Duronto express. Approx. times are listed below:-
Dep Madgaon (Goa) 0550 Arr Cochin 1810 (Wed & Sun)
Dep Cochin 1030 Arr Madgaon (Goa) 0110*. (daily)
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Newjalpaiguri - Darjeeling. Arguably, the greatest ride in the world. Special 2 foot narrow gauge railway referred to toy train: that goes through towns where school children walk and run side by side; has reversing sections; excellent loops such as Chunbati and Batasia (at Ghoom); beautiful scenery. It climbs from just 500 feet above sea level to 7,407 feet above sealevel at Ghoom.
This has recently been classified as a world heritage site. Did you also know that there is a society called the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society. For details click here. Approx. Times:
Dep Newjalpaiguri 1000 - Arr Darjeeling 1730.
Dep Darjeeling 0900 - Arr Newjalpaiguri 1630.
Note: This train runs subject to local weather and weather related track conditions.
Ootacamund Rack Railway: Mettupalayam - Ootacamund. Narrow gauge steam run till Coonoor. This railway runs with a central track that engages to prevent downward slides. This railway has tunnels, bridges and excellent tea plantation scenery. Approx. times:
Dep Mettupalayam 0710 Arr Ootacamund 1200. (Daily)
Dep Ootacamund 1400 Arr Mettupalayam 1730. (Daily)
Note: This train runs subject to local weather and weather related track conditions.
Shimla Toy Train: From Kalka - Shimla. Excellent run on the Shiwalik express early morning with breakfast in Barog. Beautiful scenery along the route and the existence of many tunnels en-route (around 100 tunnels on this trip).
Approx. Times:
Dep Kalka 0545 Arr Shimla 1050. (Daily).
Dep Kalka 1210 Arr Shimla 1720. (Daily).
Dep Shimla 1055 Arr Kalka 1635. (Daily).
Dep Shimla 1740 Arr Kalka 2220. (Daily).

Goa - Londa: From Goa - Londa - Goa. Excellent run covering Castle Rock and the Dhudhsagar waterfalls.
Approx. Times:
Dep Goa 0630 Arr Londa 0955. (Tue, Thu, Fri & Sun).
Dep Londa 1050 Arr Goa: 1545. (Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat).

Mumbai - Pune & back: Several trains throughout the day follow this short 4 hours route from Mumbai - Pune through the western ghats. the most secenic section of which is from Karjat - Lonavla.

Rajasthan & North India      Rail Itineraries in India       Tailor-Made Travel      Kerala & South India

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