Indian Railways Travel
See India By Rail
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
Section along the Konkan Railways.
Mumbai Suburban Railway train.
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: www.indianrail.gov.in
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 have
kept this section on our website as it shows the classes of travel and the prices
of the passes. 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 either similar to the cost of the passes for their itineraries.
CLASS OF TRAVEL
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
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.
- Work out your railway itinerary (if you need help complete the enquiry form.
You can also look up the times on the Indian Railways website). You may need
to arrange your itinerary in a particular order to get this class. However
AC 2 Tier gives you a greater range of trains for your journeys.
- AC Class sectors exist in major routes. If you are travelling by Rajdhani
expresses or Duronto expresses, then this is one of the most enjoyable experiences
for AC Class travel. If you are purchasing this type of ticket it is well
worth adding the sectors which have Shatabdi expresses, Gatimaan express (from
Delhi - Agra and back) and Rajdhani expresses.
(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
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
Air conditioned carriage with reclining seats. A photo of the same is shown below:-
(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
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).
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.
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.