Historical Trivia

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Note: The latest trivia can be found here.


Q. What's the highest, longest, ... etc. etc.

Here's a collection of superlatives and other trivia related to IR. Most of them are thought to be accurate as of 2/02.

  • Shortest station name: Ib, near Jharsuguda on the Howrah-Nagpur main line (South Eastern Railway). Some station names with three letters are Ait (between Jhansi and Kanpur), Ara (between Mughalsarai and Patna), Bir (between Khandwa and Itarsi), Mau (between Varanasi and Gorakhpur), Ata, Kem, Pen, etc. -- there are many others. (Note: "Bad" is a misspelling of "Baad" in the CR timetables.)

  • Longest station name: Venkatanarasimharajuvariapeta (Halt). This is sometimes spelled with 'Sri' prefixed, making it even longer by 3 letters. on the Arakkonam-Renigunta section of the Southern Railway (the first station after Renigunta towards Arakkonam (just within the AP border). Station code VKZ. It is in the Chennai division of SR and not in the Guntakal division of SCR. Here is a picture of the station name board.

    Some other stations with long names are Indragarh Sumerganj Mandi (on the Kota - Sawai Madhopur line), Tiruchchirapalli Palakarai (near Tiruchchirapalli), Acharya Narendra Dev Nagar (near Faizabad), Baba Bakala Raiya (on the Jalandhar - Amritsar section, Anandatandavapuram (near Mayiladuturai), Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj (near Indore), Tondalagopavaram (near Vijayawada), Mullagunnathukavu (near Trichur), Giani Zail Singh Sandhwan (between Firozpur and Bathinda), Narayana Pakuriya Muraila (between Howrah and Kharagpur; however, the SER suburban timetable spells it [12/04] as 'Narain Pakuria Murai'), and Tondalagopavaram (near Vijayawada).

    A few stations have names that include acronyms or abbreviations; if these were expanded the names would be quite long. E.g., NPA Shivaramapalli (where NPA = National Police Academy), and BEML Nagar (where BEML = Bharat Earth Movers Limited).

  • Station code trivia: The shortest are the single-letter codes, G = Gondia Jn., D = Deula (on the Sealdah - Diamond Harbour section), J = Jalna, R = Raipur, S = Srirangapatna, and Y = Yeliyur. There are officially no 5-letter or longer codes, although GONDA is sometimes used for Gonda (there is a shorter code, GD, for this station). WARUD is used as a code for Warud station in CR (Nagpur Division) in the working timetables.

    There are many 4-letter codes. There are many stations whose codes are the same as their names (leaving out 'Junction', 'Town', etc.): AKOT, BEAS, DURG, ETAH, GHUM, HAPA, JHAR, KOTA, LEDO, MAL, MAU, MOR, NANA, ORAI, PATA, PUNE, RAU, RAY, ROHA, ROZA, RURA, SELU, SIHO, TAKU, TILO, TUNI, TUWA, UMRA, UMRI, VAPI, VELI, WADI, WAIR, and WENA and many more. In recent years the codes for some of these stations with 3- and 4-letter names have been changed so that they match the names.

    The earliest in alphabetic ordering are probably AAG = Angar, AAK = Ankai Kila, AAL = Amlai, AAM = Angadippuram, AAR = Adesar, AAY = Aralvaymozhi, and AB = Ambur. The last are probably ZPI = Zampini, ZPL = Zangalpalle, ZPR = Zorawarpura, ZRD = Jiradei, and ZW = Zawar. In some of IR's own lists and web sites, the code ZZZZ is given for 'Bhagalpur' on WR, which is supposed to be between Kim and Sayan on the line from Bharuch to Surat. However, other sources only show a station named Kudsad at this location, so it's not clear whether the ZZZZ code is a real one.

  • Longest run (time): [5/99] The Himsagar Express (between Jammu Tawi and Kanyakumari, No. 6318) has the longest run in terms of total time (also in terms of distance, see below). It covers its route of 3751km in 74 hours and 55 minutes.
    In second place is the Trivandrum-Guwahati express which covers its route of 3576km in 74 hours and 45 minutes.
    However, during British rule there used to be a Mangalore-Peshawar train (the earlier incarnation of the Grand Trunk Exp.) which took about 104 hours (in 1930). This is longer than the Orient Express which took about 60 hours between Paris and Istanbul), but it of course pales into insignificance before the Trans-Siberian Express which takes about 170 hours (even today) between Moscow and Vladivostok.

  • Longest run (distance) [5/99]

    • Broad Gauge: The Himsagar Express (between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi, train #6318) has the longest run in terms of distance (and time, see above) on IR -- it covers a distance of about 3745km in 74 hours and 55 minutes.

      The second longest run in distance is by the Navyug Express (between Jammu Tawi and Mangalore), at about 3640km. After this comes the Trivandrum-Guwahati Exp. with a run of 3580km.

      Among non-superfast / non-mail/express passenger trains, the longest run is that of the Jodhpur-Bhopal Passenger via Jaipur / Kota, covering 1073km (now 993km??). The Nagpur-Tatanagar Passenger (SER) is next, at 883km (with 99 stops). The Hubli-Guntur Pass. has a run of about 700km, and the Tirupati - Kakinada Port Passenger has a run of 602km. The Pune-Hyderabad Passenger (defunct) ran for about 600km (this train and the Pune-Wadi Passenger, another SCR passenger with a long run, stopped around 2003, although the latter has a descendant today in the Falaknuma - Solapur Passenger). The Mumbai-Viramgam Passenger runs for about 557km. Other long runs of ordinary passenger trains are Tatanagar - Nagpur, Pune-Raichur, Howrah-Puri (512km), Mumbai Central - Ahmedabad (492km), Guntur-Bangalore (?), Ajmer-Purna, Vishakhapatnam - Kirandul (1VK / 2VK) at 437km, and Howrah/Sealdah-Darbhanga (415km).

      The longest east-west runs are those of the 8401 Okha-Puri Exporess (2781km), the 5647 Dadar-Guwahati Exp. via Bhagalpur, and the 5645 Dadar-Guwahati Exp. (2657km).

      Note 1: The Himsagar express also runs between the northernmost and southernmost stations in the country, and passes through 4 zones (SR, SCR, CR, NR). It also possibly crosses the largest number of states (TN, Kerala, AP, Maharashtra, MP, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh (just a few km between Ghiala Halt and Chakki Bank), and Jammu & Kashmir).

      Note 2: The Kerala Mangala Express also ran through 11 states and union territories: Mangalore(Karnataka)- Mahe (Pondicherry) - Palghat (Kerala) - Erode (Tamil Nadu) - Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh) - Nagpur (Maharashtra) - Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) - Dholpur (Rajasthan) - Agra (Uttar Pradesh) - Faridabad (Haryana)- Delhi.

      Note 3: The Trivandrum-Guwahati Exp. crosses 5 railway zones, as does the Cochin-Gorakhpur Exp.

      Note 4: The Kolhapur-Gondia Maharashtra Exp. covers a very large distance entirely in one state (1347km). Trains between Howrah and Madras also cover a large distance in one state, between Palasa/Gudur (SER, SCR) and Gudur/Sulurpetta/Tada (SR).

    • [5/99] Meter Gauge: [1/01] The Meenakshi Express ran from Jaipur to Secunderabad until not so long ago, covering a distance of 1481km. Now the Meenakshi runs from Jaipur to Purna (since the Purna-Mudkhed section beyond is no longer MG), which is a distance of 1152km. The train is now simply the No. 9769 Jaipur-Purna Exp., but also sometimes listed as the Jaipur-Secunderabad Link Express, with connecting BG trains to complete the journey (see below, 'Trains run in multiple gauge sections').

      The Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Ahmedabad Exp. via Udaipur at 1036km is the next in this category. The Samastipur-Tezpur Exp. used to be in second place with a run of 1022km, but now this train's journey, too, has been curtailed and it now runs only between Katihar and Tezpur, a run of 837km. The Purna-Ajmer Fast Passenger has a run of 1016km. The Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Ahmedabad Exp. has a run of 975km. The Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Udaipur Chetak Exp. covers 728km, the Agra Fort - Gonda Gokul Exp. covers 666km, the Tambaram-Rameshwaram Exp. runs for 641km, and the Akola-Chittaurgarh Passenger runs for 621km. The Madras Egmore - Quilon Mail which used to cover 766km was recently discontinued.

      In the past, the Vaishali Express covered 1468km on MG from Agra Fort to Siliguri, and the Avadh-Tirhut Mail from Guwahati to Lucknow covered 1427km on the NFR (later shortened to stop at Siliguri). The Assam Mail from Barauni to Dibrugarh covered 1387km. When the Ahmedabad-Delhi main line was completely MG, there were several trains (Ashram Exp., Delhi Mail, Delhi Exp., Aravalli Exp.) which coverd more than 900km on MG. There also used to be a long MG route from Solapur to Bangalore via Hotgi Jn., Bijapur, and Gadag.

      Among non-superfast / non-express passenger trains, the Ajmer-Khandwa Fast Passenger (9671 / 9672) is a contender for the top spot with a run of 633km.

    • [5/99] Narrow Gauge: On the 2' gauge, the Gwalior -- Sheopur Kalan route is 198km. On the 2'6" gauge, the Nagpur-Gondia-Nainpur route was probably the longest in the past, but today the Jabalpur-Gondia route of the Satpura Express at 228km is the longest run. The Latur -- Pandharpur Passenger is a close second at 216km. It would have been possible to have a Latur-Miraj run in the past, but as services originated at Kuruduwadi, no one train covered that stretch in a run.

  • Longest run - MEMU/EMU: A rule for IR (from a court judgement) is that any train running for more than 4 hours or 160km must have toilet facilities provided in the train. EMU/MEMU rakes don't have toilet facilities. But IR still runs trains for more than 160km, by splitting the run into, say, three or four nominally separate services, even though it is the same rake that goes end to end.
    MEMU: Asansol-Patna (245km), Burdwan-Kiul (195km), Burdwan-Puruliya (163km), Hazrat Nizamuddin - Kurukshetra (162km) New Delhi - Kurukshetra (156km), and the record-holder, the New Delhi - Tundla - Etawah - Kanpur (435km).
    EMU: Ghaziabad-Mathura (176km) (NR), Howrah-Katwa (145km) (ER), Howrah-Haldia (142km) (SER), Howrah-Midnapore (126km) (SER).

  • Longest run for daily train The Kerala Express has daily service and covers 3054km in its run (in 42.5 hours). In second place is the Mangala Exp. covering 2750km in 52 hours. (The significance of long runs for daily trains is that multiple rakes need to be maintained for the trains, and/or shared with other trains.)

  • Longest non-stop run (distance): This refers to longest possible non-stop runs; of course a train may have to stop at a a signal, there may be track work, loco or rake failures, etc.
    [1/01] The Trivandrum Rajdhani does not have a technical halt at Ratlam and, therefore, travels non-stop between Vadodara and Kota (528km), covering the stretch in about about 6.5 hours, the longest continuous run on IR today. (Vadodara-Kota: 6h 20m, Kota-Vadodara: 6h 55m). The August Kranti Rajdhani until recently [7/01] had no halts here either, but now halts at Ratlam. (However, the Trivandrum Rajdhani is marginally slower than the August Kranti Rajdhani in this stretch - 7 minutes slower from Vadodara to Kota and 19 minutes slower in the other direction.)

    The Mumbai Rajdhani does the 469km stretch between New Delhi and Kota non-stop.

    The Tamilnadu Exp. and the Coromandel Exp. (Up direction), as well as some other express trains between Guwahati/Howrah/Patna and Bangalore/Ernakulam/Trivandrum share the longest non-stop run for non-Rajdhani trains: 431km between Chennai Central and Vijayawada. The Tamilnadu Exp. also has an impressive 270km average distance between passenger halts and a commercial speed above 65km/h. In the late 1970s it had a commercial speed of 73km/h and an average distance of 360km between passenger halts. It also used to have a 453km non-stop run between Balharshah and Vijayawada.

    [10/01] The Purushottam Exp., Jharkhand S.J. Exp., Swatantrata Sainani Exp., Gorakhdham Exp. and Lichhavi Exp. (Up) have a non-stop run of 435km between New Delhi and Kanpur. This non-stop run was also a feature of the North East, Gomti, Vikramshila Expresses and the and Delhi-Varanasi Superfast.

    The Coromandel Exp. had a 462km non-stop run between Howrah and Bhubaneshwar via Narajmarthipur.

    The Gitanjali used to have (1970s) a 453km non-stop run betweeen Raurkela and Durg. A possible 445km non-stop run between CSTM (Bombay VT) and Bhusaval for this same train was broken by a technical halt at Igatpuri to change locos; CR had no AC-DC locos, and WR's AC-DC locos could not be used on the Bhore Ghats.

    The Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala-Karnataka Expresses had non-stop runs of 414km between New Delhi and Jhansi.

    Before Independence the longest non-stop run was by the Punjab Mail: Khandwa to Itarsi.

    [2/02] The table below shows the current long (over 300km) non-stop runs on IR.
    (Compiled by Vijay Balasubramanian.)

    Distance (km) Section Trains
    528 Vadodara - Kota Trivandrum Rajdhani
    468 New Delhi - Kota Mumbai Rajdhani
    462 H. Nizamuddin - Kota Trivandrum Rajdhani
    453 Balharshah - Vijayawada Chennai Rajdhani
    435 New Delhi - Kanpur Central. Kolkata/Sealdah/Bhubhaneswar/Patna/Guwahati/Hatia Rajdhanis, Purshottam Exp., Jharkhand S.J. Exps., Swantrata Senani / Gorakhdham Exps., Lichchavi Exp. (5205), Sampoorna Kranti Exp.
    431 Chennai Central. - Vijayawada Chennai Rajdhani, Tamilnadu Exp., Coromandel Exp. (2841), Guwahati/Howrah/ Patna - Bangalore/Ernakulam/Trivandrum Exps. (6310, 6324, 5628, 5624, 5626)
    408 H. Nizamuddin - Jhansi Chennai/Bangalore/Bilaspur Rajdhanis
    402 Mughalsarai - Dhanbad Sealdah Rajdhani
    393 Bhusaval - Nagpur Howrah - Hapa Superfast Exp.
    392 Mumbai Central. - Vadodara Mumbai Rajdhani
    361 Chennai Central. - Bangalore City Mysore Shatabdi
    346 Kanpur Central - Mughalsarai Sampoorna Kranti Exp., Sealdah/Bhubhaneswar/Guwahati/Hatia Rajdhanis
    345 Vasai Rd. - Vadodara Trivandrum Rajdhani
    335 Bhusaval - Surat Howrah Hapa Superfast Exp.
    334 Chennai Central. - Salem Cheran Exp. (2673)
    317 New Delhi - Gwalior Tamilnadu Exp.
    313 New Delhi - Ambala Cantt Jammu Rajdhani
    311 Gwalior - H. Nizamuddin Tamilnadu Exp.
    308 Igatpuri - Bhusaval Jnanesvari / Samarasata Superdeluxe Exps., Pushpak Exp., L.T.T. - Patna Superfast Exp., Godaan Exp., L.T.T. - Bhubaneshwar Exp.
    305 Ajmer - Abu Road Ahmadabad Rajdhani
    302 Bhusaval - Itarsi L.T.T. - Varanasi Superfast Exp., L.T.T. - Patna Superfast Exp., Godaan Exp., Valsad-Patna Exp.

    [2/02] The table below shows the past long (over 300km) non-stop runs on IR.
    (Compiled by Vijay Balasubramanian.)

    Distance (km) Section Trains
    528 Vadodara - Kota August Kranti Rajdhani
    468 New Delhi - Kota Bombay - Jammu Tawi Superfast Exp.
    462 Howrah - Bhubhaneswar Coromandel Exp. (via Naraj)
    455 Raurkela - Durg Gitanjali Exp.
    453 Balharshah - Vijayawada Tamilnadu Exp., Kerala / Karnataka Exp.
    437 Ratlam - Gangapur City Bombay Rajdhani
    435 (New) Delhi - Kanpur Central Lucknow Shatabdi, North East Exp., Gomti Exp., Prayagraj Exp., Neelachal Exp., Vikramshila Exp., Saryu Yamuna Exp.
    431 Chennai Central - Vijayawada Ganga Kaveri Exp.
    423 Khurda Rd. - Visakhapatnam Coromandel Exp.
    414 New Delhi - Jhansi Tamilnadu Exp., Andhra Pradesh Exp., Kerala / Karnataka Exp.
    412 Howrah - Cuttack Bhubhaneswar Rajdhani
    402 Mughalsarai - Dhanbad Howrah/Bhubhaneswar Rajdhanis
    389 Nagpur - Bhopal Tamilnadu Exp., Andhra Pradesh Exp., Kerala / Karnataka Exp., Himsagar Exp.
    385 Balharshah - Secunderabad Bangalore Rajdhani
    373 Mughalsarai - Gomoh Howrah Rajdhani
    354 H. Nizamuddin - Sawai Madhopur August Kranti Rajdhani
    351 Visakhapatnam - Vijayawada Coromandel Exp.
    346 Kanpur Central - Mughalsarai Howrah Rajdhani
    346 Kharagpur - Bhubhaneswar Falaknuma Exp., Coromandel Exp., Guwahati - Trivandrum Exp.
    336 Chennai Egmore - Tiruchchirapalli Vaigai Exp. (MG)
    334 Mathura - Kota August Kranti Rajdhani
    334 Chennai Central - Salem Coimbatore Shatabdi, Trivandrum Rajdhani
    333 Asansol - Patna Himgiri Exp.
    325 Lucknow - Moradabad Himgiri Exp.
    317 New Delhi - Gwalior Himsagar Exp.
    314 Bhusaval - Wardha Azad Hind Exp.
    313 New Delhi - Ambala Cantt Amritsar / Swarna Shatabdis
    311 Gwalior - H. Nizamuddin Habibganj - Bhopal Exp., Chhatisgarh Exp.
    308 Igatpuri - Bhusaval Gitanjali Exp.
    307 Raurkela - Bilaspur Gitanjali Exp., Jnanesvari Superdeluxe Exp., Azad Hind Exp.
    305 Ajmer - Abu Road Ashram Exp. (MG)
    302 Bhusaval - Itarsi Pushpak Exp., Goa Exp.

  • Longest distance between consecutive passenger halts: (See table below.)
    The Sampoorna Kranti Exp. runs without commercial halts between its termini, New Delhi and Patna. It has technical halts at Kanpur Central and Mughalsarai. It is also the first and only [2/02] non-Rajdhani class train to skip Allahabad on this route.

    [11/99] The 2141/2142 Kurla-Patna Exp. covers 976km between the passenger halts at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla) and Jabalpur. This train also has the highest average distance between consecutive passenger halts, as its only other passenger stop is at Mughalsarai; the average works out to 549km.

    The Saptakranti Exp. has no passenger halts between Gorakhpur and New Delhi, a distance of 788km.

    Earlier, [7/99] the Chennai Rajdhani had the longest distance between consecutive passenger halts in its stretch between Nagpur and Vijayawada (664km), with a technical halt at Balharshah for a crew change. The Chennai Rajdhani now has the second-highest average distance between passenger halts.

    The Tamilnadu Express used to have do the stretch between Nagpur and Vijayawada with just one technical halt at Balharshah as well.

    Until July 1999, the Trivandrum Rajdhani had no intermediate passenger halts in its 986km run between Vadodara and Hazrat Nizamuddin, which it covers in about 12 hours. It had two intermediate technical halts at Ratlam and Kota; now the stop at Kota is a passenger halt. (HZN to Kota is 458km, Kota to Vadodara is 528km.)

    The Bombay - Jammu Tawi superfast used to do the 469km stretch between New Delhi and Kota with just one technical halt at Mathura. Mathura was probably not a halt at the time of introduction of this train, which would have made this the longest non-stop run at that time. This train was one of the few non-Rajdhani, non-Shatabdi trains to have a 70+ km/h commercial speed - it had [1976] a 220km average distance between passenger halts (and a commercial speed of 71km/h), covering its 1975km route in 27h 50m.

    The Coromandel Exp. had a 462km run between Howrah and Bhubaneshwar via Narajmarthipur, a 442km run between Bhubaneshwar and Waltair (technical halt at Khurda Rd.), and a 431km run between Vijayawada and Chennai Central.

    The Gitanjali Exp. used to have a 445km run between CSTM (Bombay VT) and Bhusaval, with a technical halt at Igatpuri.

    Before Independence, the Frontier Mail had the longest distance between passenger halts: Churchgate to Surat, with a technical halt in between to attach/detach a dining car.

    Considering all halts, the Mumbai Rajdhani has the highest average distance between halts (346km) as it covers its 1384km run with only 3 halts.

    (See further below for trains without commercial halts between their termini.)

    [2/02] The table below shows the current long (over 300km) runs between consecutive passenger halts.
    (Compiled by Vijay Balasubramanian.)

    Distance (km) Section Trains
    992 New Delhi - Patna Sampoorna Kranti Exp.
    976 L.T.T. - Jabalpur L.T.T. - Patna Superfast Exp.
    788 Gorakhpur - New Delhi Saptakranti Exp.
    668 Nagpur - Vijayawada Chennai Rajdhani
    546 Bhusaval - Jabalpur Valsad - Patna Exp.
    506 Jabalpur - Mughalsarai L.T.T. - Patna Superfast Exp., Valsad - Patna Exp.
    391 Bhusaval - Kalyan Pushpak Exp., Godaan Exp.
    389 Nagpur - Bhopal Chennai/Bangalore/Bilaspur Rajdhanis, Tamilnadu Exp., Andhra Pradesh Exp.
    385 Balharshah - Secunderabad Bangalore Rajdhani
    307 Raurkela - Bilaspur Jnanesvari Superdeluxe Exp.

  • Trains with no commercial halts en route: [4/02] The recently introduced Sampoorna Kranti Exp. between New Delhi and Patna has no commercial halts. Some other trains that had no commercial halts when introduced are - Howrah Rajdhani, Bombay Rajdhani, Pragati Exp. (Dn. only), Pune Shatabdi.

  • Longest non-stop run (time): [3/99] The 6310 Patna - Cochin express / 6324 Howrah - Tiruvananthapuram express take 7 hours to travel from Vijayawada to Chennai Central (431 km) with no intermediate halts.

  • Non-stop express trains: There were very few non-stop scheduled express trains (i.e., no technical or other halts, and not short-distance ordinary passenger trains). The Chandigarh Shatabdi used to travel non-stop from New Delhi to Chandigarh, but now has halts at Panipat, Kurukshetra, and Ambala Cant. The New Delhi - Kanpur Shatabdi used to travel non-stop but it has since been extended till Lucknow and halts at Aligarh. The Tipu Express ran non-stop between Bangalore and Mysore, but now has a commercial halt at Mandya and another technical halt as well. The MG version of this train, before gauge conversion of the route, also ran non-stop until the 1970s.
    Among ordinary passenger and local trains, there are a couple of Kurla - Dadar fast locals in the evening that leave Kurla car shed and run non-stop till Dadar; they usually have a few passengers in each coach. Short-distance shuttles such as Badnera-Amravati run non-stop between their end-points; there are several such examples.

  • Shortest runs: Nagpur - Ajni has scheduled services that are just 3km in distance. This is mainly a service for crew to travel from Nagpur station to the workshop at Ajni. Similar other services exist that are just 4km or 5km long.

    EMU/MEMU/Suburban trains: Liluah-Howrah (5km), Sealdah - Dum Dum Cantt. (10km); one EMU service between New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin (8km). The Howrah-Belurmath (HWH-BEQM) suburban service (ER) was started on 15 August 2003. The distance between Howrah and Belurmath is 7km.

    Express trains: The expresses with the shortest runs are NR's Sarai Rohilla - Rewari Exp. (83km), the expresses and mails between Kalka and Shimla (96km), the Amritsar - Pathankot Ravi Exp. (107km), and the Firozpur Cantt. - Ludhiana Exp. (124km); and ER's Shalimar - Haldia Azad Exp. (143km) and Howrah - Shantiniketan Exp. (147km). SR ran the Bangarpet-Bangalore Exp. (68km) until recently [2003] but it now runs until Jolarpettai, a total run of 141km. The 7665/7666 Parbhani-Purna Express would have qualified as the express with the shortest run as its total journey is only 44km, however, it is not an independent train by itself, but is in fact part of the Secunderabad Manmad Exp.; a portion of the latter train is detached at Parbhani and runs with its own name and number to Purna.

  • Shortest line: There are some very short spurs on IR's network; the shortest among them are Rajula to Rajula City (9km), Hathras to Hathras Quilah (10km), and Badnera to Amravati (10km).

  • Shortest distance between stations: The closest pair of stations on a line may be Safilguda and Dayanand Nagar stations on the Secunderabad - Bolarum section in Hyderabad division. The stations are about 170m apart. Lake Gardens and Tollygunge on the Sealdah South - Budge Budge section are about 200m apart. Other close pairs include Chintadripet and Chepauk Stadium, and Chepauk and Light House on the Chennai MRTS; Perambur and Perambur Carriage Works on the Chennai - Arakkonam line.

  • Fastest long-distance train: [8/01] The Bhopal Shatabdi Exp. is thought to be the fastest train in India today. It has a maximum speed of 140km/h on the Faridabad-Agra section (booked speed 130km/h), and 130km/h between Agra and Jhansi. It has the highest commercial speed for any train in IR - 90.84 km/h, and covers the 704 km New Delhi - Bhopal stretch in 7 hours 45 minutes. Between New Delhi and Jhansi its commercial speed is 94.1km/h (excluding the halts at Agra and Gwalior the running average speed works out to 98.6km/h). This train has been in the top slot for quite some time now. [2/02] Update It appears that the Bhopal Shatabdi now goes at 130km/h max. speed even between Faridabad and Agra. The run-time has been increased to 8 hours 10 minutes from New Delhi to Bhopal and 8 hours in the reverse direction.

    Another close contender for the title of the fastest train in India is the Howrah Rajdhani via Gaya that is allowed a max. speed of 130km/h (booked speed 120km/h) for almost all of its run between New Delhi and Howrah (excepting sections with speed restrictions including ghat sections such as Gujhandi-Gurpa). It has the highest commercial speed for any long-distance overnight train in IR, at 85.6 km/h. It takes 16 hours 50 minutes from Howrah to New Delhi (1441 km). This train has only recently (since 2001) been speeded up to its current schedule.

    The Mumbai Rajdhani matches the Howrah Rajdhani as far as the max. speed is concerned and has the second highest commercial speed for any long-distance overnight train in IR - 83.5km/h. It has a terrific run from New Delhi to Ratlam, covering 731km in just 7h 42m with an average speed of 94.9km/h - it has a max. speed of 130km/h (120km/h. booked) in this section. However, it is restricted to 100km/h max. speed (95km/h booked) between Ratlam and Godhra as it goes through difficult terrain.

    [4/01] The Lucknow Shatabdi has the potential to be one of the fastest trains in India with the new LHB coaches, which are rated for speeds up to 160km/h, although safety considerations may not allow such speeds until the track is completely fenced off or otherwise separated from road and foot traffic. It does on occasion touch 140km/h on sections such as Maripat-Tundla and Etawah-Panki. [2/02] Currently the LHB coaches have been withdrawn for use for with this train after initial trials last year, because of problems with the couplers and rake parting. The train is currently restricted to a top speed of 130km/h on the rest of its route, but that still makes it one of the fastest trains. It manages a commercial speed of 93km/h between New Delhi and Kanpur. Excluding the halt at Aligarh, its running average speed on that section is 94.6km/h.

    The fastest Rajdhanis today [8/01] are (in order): the Howrah Rajdhani via Gaya, the Mumbai Rajdhani, the Sealdah Rajdhani, the August Kranti Rajdhani, and the Patna Rajdhani.

    The fastest non-Rajdhani, non-Shatabdi train is perhaps the Bhopal Exp. (Habibganj - Hazrat Nizamuddin) which has a commercial speed of 69.5km/h. Others among the fastest non-Rajdhani, non-Shatabdi superfast trains today [8/01] are (in order): Prayagraj Exp. (68/66 km/h), Lalbagh Exp. (68/63 km/h), Tamilnadu Exp. (67/65 km/h, and the Satavahana Exp. (67km/h)

    [7/01] Average speeds (km/h) of some of the other fast trains are: Lucknow Shatabdi : 86/83.7, Mumbai Rajdhani : 83.5/81.4, Sealdah Rajdhani : 82.7, 81.6, Chandigarh Shatabdi 80.1, Amritsar Shatabdi : 81, August Kranti Rajdhani : 79.9/79.5, Swarna Shatabdi : 79.8/78.6, Patna Rajdhani : 79.2 / 77.2, Chennai Rajdhani : 76.4/75.1.

    Diesel locomotives today are generally limited to a maximum speed of about 110km/h to 120km/h, so the fastest train services are usually electric. In the past, however, the Howrah Rajdhani was regularly hauled at speeds up to 130km/h by a WDM-4 loco. The Bangalore Rajdhani runs at 120km/h on the Wadi-Guntakal-Bangalore stretch (WDM-2, short hood leading). Similarly, the Trivandrum Rajdhani, diesel hauled, runs at 120km/h; the Ajmer Shatabdi, also diesel hauled, runs at 110km/h. The Konkan Railway line is not electrified, and is rated for 160km/h, although no trains run that fast on it. The Dadar-Madgaon Jan Shatabdi touches 120km/h with a WDM-3A with its short hood leading, and 110km/h with its long hood leading. The WDP-1 and WDP-2 loco classes are restricted to about 105-110km/h; the WDP-4, although capable of 160km/h, is generally restricted to 110km/h as well.

    [5/02] The Kurla-Madgaon Jan Shatabdi is the first non-airconditiioned express that crosses the 110km/h bar -- it actually touches 120km/h on its run. It has a commercial speed of about 70km/h (73km/h down).

  • Fastest MG train: The Ashram Express regularly ran at speeds touching 105km/h and may have been the fastest MG train. (It is now a BG train.) Other fast MG trains that ran at comparable speeds were the Pink City Express (Delhi-Jaipur) (Gharib Nawaz Exp.), the Mandore Express, the Vaigai Express, and the Pallavan Express. These had booked speeds of 95-100km/h on sections such as Madurai - Madras Egmore as late as the mid-1980s (Vaigai Express observed in 1983). Many were run double-headed by YDM-4 locos. Reliable maximum speed figures are unfortunately not available. Some sources suggest that the Pink City Exp. may have been the fastest MG train touching speeds above 105km/h. The Pandian and Kudal Expresses touched speeds of around 75km/h. MG test runs have been conducted at up to 120km/h, and there was talk of running MG trains even faster, at 135km/h, but none of this materialized once the push to gauge conversion was in full swing and MG began to lose its importance. Now [9/03] the Bolarum-Nizamabad Exp. is the fastest MG express, covering 151km in 3h 35min for a commercial speed of 42km/h. The Cholan Express is another fast MG train, at about 38km/h. Other fast MG trains include the Tirupati-Tiruchirapalli and Madras-Rameswaram (formerly Boat Mail) trains.

  • Fastest NG train: The Satpura Express from Gondia to Jabalpur was the fastest NG train. Its overall average speed was 29.4km/h one way and 28.8km/h the other way. It used to be hauled by a ZE 2-8-2 earlier, and later by a ZDM-4 diesel. The Gondia to Balaghat section was regularly done at an average speed of 41km/h (top speeds probably touching 50km/h or more). The Shivalik Express (Kalka-Shimla) has an overall average speed of 20.2km/h in both directions. IR classifies it as a "superfast" train for the purposes of computing ticket fares. The Rupsa-Baripada NG section on SER also used to see top speeds above 50km/h. ZDM-5 diesels can quite easily reach 45km/h under normal conditions but the condition of the track on most NG routes prevents higher speeds. For comparison, note that the 2' gauge Apple Express in South Africa, hauled by a steam locomotive (NG15 2-8-2), is claimed to reach 80km/h on a good day!

  • Fastest train ever: The highest speed ever touched by a train in India is 184km/h in 2000, when the LHB Alstom passenger coaches were undergoing speed trials (on the Delhi-Ghaziabad route). The locomotive used was a WAP-5. The previous record was set in 1988, when a WAP-5 was tested at speeds around 160km/h.
    In late 2002, NR is said to have run some trials with a WDP-4 hauling a rake at 180km/h on the Ghaziabad-Tundla section [More details needed and confirmation of the top speed reached.]
    On Dec. 29, 2002, Konkan Railway ran a trial run of the Madgaon-Roha Express at a sustained speed of 150km/h; the train is said to have briefly touched 165km/h at times.
    In 1963, some experiments were carried out on the feasibility of running passenger trains at 140km/h and even 160km/h. Locos used were of 19t axle load, and the running was on 45kg/m rails on wooden or concrete sleepers. IR concluded that even 160km/h running was feasible on mixed-use track; however, such speeds never materialized in those days, and the speed limit remained then at 100km/h, not even being raised to 120km/h for many years afterwards. Details of the track conditions considered essential then for high-speed running: a modest 150mm cant (2 degrees) 100 mm cant deficiency, 55mm / second transitioning (or cant gradient of 1:720), and track irregularities less than 3mm on straights and 1mm on curves.
    The Calcutta Rajdhani was introduced in 1969 with a maximum allowed speed of 120km/h, which was then the new speed limit for trains in India.

  • Fastest steam speeds: The Taj Express hauled by a WP loco regularly attained speeds of 105km/h. The prototype WP/P locomotives were recorded at at a little over 118km/h (74mph) in trials. The inquiries into the Bihta accident (1937) led to some experiments with XB and XC locos where they were run at 128km/h (80mph). For a very long time the speed limit on BG track was fixed at 60mph / 100km/h. Despite this, there were many trains in British India that regularly achieved average speeds (start to stop) of 50mph and more. On MG, YP locos often attained 75km/h.

  • Slow services: There's no easy way to pick candidates for the slowest trains in India.
    There are passenger trains between Nagpur and Ajni that are scheduled to take 20 minutes to cover 3km, which is an average of 9km/h. (Note, however, that these and similar other trains between outlying loco sheds and main town stations, etc., are primarily crew transfer services, with built-in slack in the timetable to allow for variations in the arrival of various trains at Nagpur.) Sadly for the railfan, these superslow trains have disappeared from official mention in the CR timetables (as of [5/99].
    [6/00] The Agra Cantt. - New Delhi passenger (361 Dn.) covers the 200km distance in 11 hours, giving it an average speed of about 18km/h. (This includes a 3 hour halt at Mathura.) Update [8/01]: This train appears to have been speeded up to take 'only' 8 hours. The Howrah-Puri Passenger is also similarly slow.
    The Rishikesh-Hardwar passenger covers the 23km distance in 1 hour.
    MG: Darbhanga-Nirmali (71km - 4hrs), Jhanjharpur-Laukaha Bazar (43km - 3 hrs), Bihariganj-Banmakhi (28km - 2 hrs), Indara-Dohrighat(35km - 1.5hrs) on a railbus, and Vrindavan-Mathura (13km - 45 min).
    The Matheran train takes 2 hours to cover 21km.
    There are several trains that are scheduled to take more than an hour between Agra Cantt. and Agra City (6km). This is probably designed to allow them to make up lost time.
    In addition, many passenger trains and others have long scheduled times for short sections towards the ends of their runs to allow them to make up lost time. Numerous examples of this may be found in the regional timetables (e.g., SER #229 in 1982 (Durg Waltair Pass.) was allocated 1 hour 53 minutes to cover the final 8km from Simhachalam to Waltair).
    There are many other such examples!

    The slowest Rajdhani is probably the Lucknow one, reaching only 100-105km/h and achieving an average speed of a mere 62km/h.

    The slowest Shatabdis are the Pune, Rourkela, and Mysore Shatabdis that reach only 105km/h.

    The slowest "superfast" train is probably the Howrah-Kalka Mail which (at least until recently [8/01] did not even touch the 55km/h commercial speed required for a train to be classified as a superfast train.

  • Fastest non-stop run (between consecutive halts):
    Short run: [3/99] The 2020 Bokaro - Howrah Shatabdi express covers the 41km Asansol-Durgapur stretch in 21 minutes with an average speed of 117.1km/h.

    Long run: [3/99] The most impressive run on IR is by the 2954 August Kranti Rajdhani express from Mathura to Kota, a distance of 324 km. It takes 3 hours and 2 minutes to cover this stretch with an average speed of 106.8 km/h.

    Here are the runs of 100km/h or higher between consecutive halts:

    No. Train Section Distance (km) Average Speed (km/h)
    2020 Bokaro Shatabdi Asansol - Durgapur 41 117.1
    2954 A. K. Rajdhani Mathura - Kota 324 106.8
    2302 Calcutta Rajdhani Mughalsarai - Gaya 204 103.7
    2422 Bhubaneswar Raj. Mughalsarai - Gaya 204 103.7
    2954 A. K. Rajdhani Vadodara - Bharuch 70 102.4
    2001 Bhopal Shatabdi Gwalior - Agra Cantt 119 102.0
    2002 Bhopal Shatabdi N.Delhi - Agra Cantt 195 101.7

    • It is very easy to maintain 100+ km/h speeds for short sections especially if no make-up times have been allotted in that section. That's why the Bokaro Shatabdi is at the top.
    • The Bhopal Shatabdi's high-speed run is actually between Faridabad and Agra Cantt - it used to have a 130/140 km/h booked/max. speed between these stations but is now restricted to a 130km/h. max. speed. It covers this 167km stretch in 1.5 hours with an average speed of 111.3 km/h.
    • [4/01] The Lucknow Shatabdi is tipped to soon become the fastest train with a max. speed of 160km/h. It will have the new LHB coaches. It touches 140km/h.

  • Highest-speed sections of track: [7/99] There are several route sections that are allowed speeds of over 120km/h. Note: The speeds here are the max. permissible speeds. The potential speed permitted by the permanent way structures may be even higher. See the section on track classification for more details on the potential speeds.

    Section Max. perm. speed
    Faridabad - Agra Cantt 140 km/h.
    Maripat - Tundla 140 km/h.
    Etawah - Panki 140 km/h.
    Mathura - Ratlam 130 km/h.
    Agra Cantt. - Lalitpur 130 km/h.
    Ghaziabad - Maripat 130 km/h.
    Tundla - Etawah 130 km/h.
    Kanpur - Howrah 130 km/h.
    Virar - Godhra 120 km/h.
    Lalitpur - Bina 120 km/h.

    Both the New Delhi - Jhansi and New Delhi - Kanpur sections have undergone trial runs of 160km/h but at present [7/99] trains (Shatabdis) are restricted to 140 km/h.
    [4/01] The Lucknow Shatabdi will soon be the fastest train running at 160km/h on the Delhi-Kanpur route.

  • Longest diesel-hauled stretch: [11/03] Now the longest diesel-hauled stretch is that of the 6311/6312 Trivandrum-Jodhpur Exp. which uses a single WDM-2 of the Ernakulam shed to cover the 2740km run. The next longest (and from [9/99] or so the the former record-holder) is the run of the Lohit Exp. between Guwahati and Jammu Tawi, at about 2463km. [10/03] There is now another train between Guwahati and Jammu Tawi which is also diesel-hauled. Another long diesel run is of the Howrah - Jammu Tawi Himgiri Express. Other contenders for long diesel stretches are between Bangalore and Itarsi, for both the KK Express (through Shoranur, Manmad, Bhusaval) and the Bangalore Rajdhani (through Wadi and Nagpur), the Itarsi to Guwahati stretch by the Dadar-Guwahati Express. [confirmation??] The Kanyakumari Jayanti Janata when diesel hauled used to have a 1949km diesel stretch from Kanyakumari to Pune; it is now electric from Renigunta to Erode / Palghat / Ernakulam. Pune-Renigunta is one of the longest diesel trunk routes at present. The Konkan Railway is unelectrified, so all trains running on that stretch are diesel-hauled.

    The Lohit and Himgiri Expresses and the Trivandrum-Jodhpur Express are entirely diesel-hauled for their entire journeys. A few other trains belong to this group, including the Netravati (still??), the Howrah-Secunderabad Falaknuma Exp. (1700km), and the Howrah - Bhubaneshwar Dhauli Express (456km). Many of the other long diesel stretches are combined with electric runs.

  • Longest electric-hauled stretch: [1/01] New Delhi - Ernakulam for the Kerala Exp., hauled by a WAP-4 loco from Arakkonam or Erode (or sometimes a loco from the Jhansi shed). Also the Himsagar Exp. between the same points. The Tamil Nadu Exp. and Grand Trunk Exp. also usually run with the same electric loco (usually an Erode WAP-4) for their entire journeys between New Delhi and Chennai.

  • Most locomotive changes: [8/01] The Guwahati-Trivandrum Express is the train with the most loco changes, being hauled by 5 (6?) different locos on its run. It is hauled by a Malda or Bardhaman WDM-2 until Howrah, by a Tatanagar or Santragachhi WAM-4 or other electric loco until Kharagpur, by a Kazipet or Kharagpur WDM-2 to Vishakhapatnam, by a Chennai or Ernakulam WAM-4 or other electric until Chennai, and sometimes another WAM-4/WAP-4 until Ernakulam, with a diesel from Ernakulam to Trivandrum. (This may have changed now.)

    There are a couple of trains with 4 locos: The Mumbai-Chennai Mail which uses a Kalyan WCAM-3 until Pune, a Gooty WDM-2 to Gooty, another WDM-2 (although sometimes it may be the same one) until Renigunta, and a WAM-4 or other electric until Chennai. The Konark Express uses a Kalyan WCAM-3 from Mumbai until Pune, a Kazipet WDM-2 until Kazipet, a Lallaguda or Vijayawada WAM-4 or WAP-4 until Vijayawada, a Lallaguda or Vijayawada WAM-4 or WAP-4 again until Vishakhapatnam, and a Kazipet or other WDM-2 until Bhubaneshwar. Of course, these trains also use a pair of WCG-2 bankers when ascending the ghats after leaving Mumbai.
    On MG, in the past there were some trains with 4 locos. E.g., (Feb. 20, 1987) SR 102 Exp. Rameswaram-Manamadurai: YDM-4 6442 Manamadurai-Trichy by YP 2389, Tichy-Villupuram by YDM-4 6282 Villupuram-Egmore by YAM.

  • Highest number of halts: Mail and Express trains
    [3/99] The Howrah-Amritsar Exp. leads in this category with 115 halts. Here is a list of the top contenders:

    Train Number of Halts
    Howrah - Amritsar Exp. 115
    Delhi - Howrah Janata Exp. 109
    Jammu Tawi - Sealdah Exp. 107
    Udyan Abha Toofan Exp. 96
    Sabarmati Exp.
    (Ahmedabad - Muzaffarpur)
    Mumbai - Dehra Dun Exp. 93
    Mumbai - Firozpur Janata Exp. 87
    Howrah - Tirupati Exp. 85
    Bokaro - Alleppey Exp. 82
    Dadar - Amritsar Exp. 79
    Kurla - Howrah Exp. 77

    Considering just the trains that are classified as superfasts, the top contenders are the Mumbai-Ferozpur Punjab Mail with 53 halts between termini (over 1928km), the Ernakulam - Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Exp. with 49 halts (over 2980km), and the Howrah-Mumbai Superfast Mail via Allahabad with 46 halts (over 2173km). [4/03]

    Passenger trains can have large numbers of stops. The MG Ajmer-Purna Passenger currently has about a hundred stops, but earlier (1987?), when it was the Ajmer-Secunderabad Passenger it had 121 stops.

  • Busiest stations [4/00] Going by the number of mail, express, and passenger trains that halt or originate/terminate at a station (and ignoring suburban and freight traffic), the busiest stations are as shown below.
    (Compiled by Vijay Balasubramanian.)

    Station Trains / day
    Lucknow 64
    New Delhi 60
    Ahmedabad 59
    Delhi 58
    Dadar 57
    Howrah 57
    Asansol 52
    Vijayawada 51
    Mathura 50
    Kalyan 46
    Kanpur Central 44
    Surat 44
    Gorakhpur 42
    Vadodara 41
    Itarsi 41
    Varanasi 40
    Allahabad 40
    Bangalore City 39
    Secunderabad 39
    Chennai Central 39
    Mughalsarai 38
    Bhusaval 37
    Jhansi 35
    Hazrat Nizamuddin 35
    Mumbai CST 33
    Nagpur 30

    If we count only mail/express/passenger trains that originate at a station during a day, the top few are as follows:

    Station Trains / day
    Howrah 44
    Chennai Central 34
    New Delhi 34
    Mumbai CST 33
    Ahmedabad 24
    Lucknow 19
    Bangalore City 17

    Counting suburban traffic, stations such as Dadar and Howrah are likely to be in the lead.

  • Longest passenger train (number of coaches) [8/02] The normal length of a passenger train is 24 coaches, including pantry cars, luggage vans, etc. No train runs with more coaches as its standard rake, although 25 or 26 coaches are seen occasionally during rush times (holidays), or when additional coaches are attached for part of a train's run for railway staff or for VIPs.

    [7/02] The Prayagraj and the Godavari Expresses have been run with 26-coach rakes during rush (holiday) seasons. (This started in 2000.) The Grand Trunk Exp. on some occasions has 25 coaches. The Kalka Mail sometimes starts from Howrah with 25 coaches, although one is detached early in its run as a slip coach. It also sometimes gets an additional coach along the way. The Allahabad Exp. (?) sometimes runs with 25 or 26 coaches.

    [2/00] There are several passenger trains which are run often with 24-coach rakes, including the Karnataka, Gomti, Prayagraj, Tamil Nadu, Vaishali, Magadh/Vikramshila combination, Poorva, Mahamaya/Gondwana combination, 2403/4 Delhi - Jammu, Falaknuma, Coromandel, Andhra Pradesh, Pooja, Grand Trunk, Swaraj, Paschimi, Ashram Ranakpur, Charminar, Godavari, Gautami, Howrah-Jodhpur, and Aravalli Expresses, and the Golden Temple, Howrah-CSTM, Delhi-Lucknow, and Kalka Mails.

    The Charminar Exp., Godavari Exp., and the Andhra Pradesh Exp. were among the first to get 24-coach rakes, followed by the Grand Trunk Exp. and the Tamil Nadu Exp.

    The newer WAP or WDP locos are usually assigned to haul 24-coach rakes at 110km/h, and 19-coach rakes at 130km/h.

    Of non mail/express passenger trains today, the Bishwabharati Passenger regularly runs with 19 coaches. It has been reported to run on occasion with 20, 21, or even 22 coaches. The Suvarna Fast Passenger (Bangalore - Marikuppam) has 17 coaches. No. 71 Sonepur - Allahabad Fast Passenger used to run with 18 coaches. The Mumbai-Valsad Fast Passenger also runs with 17 or 18 coaches.

    On MG, trains such as the Pandian Exp. ran with 24 coaches hauled by a single YAM-1 or YDM-4. No. 208 Jodhpur-Agra Express ran in the 1980s with 23 coaches.

    During World War II, 26-coach trains were double-headed by 2-8-2 (YD class) locos on the MG Assam Bengal Rly. For instance, the Assam Mail is recorded as having run in those days with 24 coaches and 2 vans.

    [2/00] The new WAP-7 which is supposed to go into production later in 2000 is to be able to haul 26-coach passenger trains!
    [5/01] The Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, and Charminar Expresses are soon slated to get 26-coach rakes.

  • Shortest train (number of coaches) Until recently, SER used to have [5/01] a 2-coach train, the Shalimar-Santragachhi Light Passenger, hauled by two WDS-6 locos MU'd at the Shalimar end and a driving car at the other end of the train. [2/02] The Haldia-Asansol Exp. has three coaches (two 2-tier and one SLR). This is, oddly, often hauled by the powerful WAP-4 loco. SER also operates [5/01] the 4-coach Shalimar-Bankura Aranyak Express. On SR, the Bangalore - Sri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Nilayam Express usually has only 4 coaches, and often runs with just 3 coaches, in addition to a guard/luggage van. The Howrah-Purulia Rupasi Bangla Express ran until late 2001 with 3 coaches on weekdays and 4 or 5 on weekends. It now [4/02] runs with 10 coaches. In 1997, when the Konkan Railway line was just built between Udupi And Mangalore a 2-coach train was hauled on that section by a WDM-2. Before railbuses took over on Wankaner-Morvi, there were two-coach trains hauled by YG or YP steam locos (these were the last steam-hauled trains on those routes). The Secunderabad-Rajahmundry Shatabdi Exp. during its short life ran with 3 coaches (two AC chair car coaches and a generator coach). [9/00] The Katni-Chopan Passenger worked about 324km overnight with just 3 coaches hauled by a Patratu shed WDM-2. The Villupuram-Pondicherry passenger trains also had just 3 coaches. On MG in the past there was an Alnavar-Dandeli Passenger (on the Miraj-Bangalore line) that had just 2 or 3 coaches hauled by a steam loco. Other short trains today include various trains such as the Shalimar-Haldia Azad Express and the Howrah-Purulia Rupasi-Bangla Express (both with 5 coaches).

  • Least punctual train The Guwahati Express from Guwahati to Trivandrum is reputed to be the most unreliable long-distance train in the country. The train is booked to make its journey in 71 hours and 25 minutes, but the average delay on a trip is about 20 hours, with the train often showing up more than a day late. In 1995 the Times of India carried an article on it, saying that the train had not run on time even once in its (then) ten-year existence! It preserved this distinction into the late 1990s, but is now [5/01] reported to be running fairly punctually.

  • Longest scheduled halt [5/99] The 2311 Up Kalka Mail arrives at 1950hrs at Delhi Junction, and has a scheduled halt there for 2 hours and 55 minutes before it departs on its way to Kalka. Among the non-superfast, non-express trains, the top contender is the Baramati-Pune Passenger which is scheduled to arrive at Daund at 2250hrs, and to depart from there for Pune at 0720hrs the following morning. Next up, the Pathardi-Asansol Passenger stops for about 5 hours at Dhanbad on its way to Asansol (0910hrs - 1425hrs) (but only 15 minutes on the return leg). The 41 Viramgam Passenger has a halt of 3 hours and 50 minutes (1455hrs - 1845hrs) at Ahmedabad. The 581 Ajmer-Purna Fast Passenger has a halt of 3 hours and 35 minutes at Ratlam (1855hrs - 2230hrs). (Note: Slip coaches that are waiting to be attached to another rake may be parked at a station for a day or more; here we consider only the halts of entire rakes.)

  • Trains halting at the same station twice The 7089/7090 Varanasi-Cochin Exp. halts at Renigunta (5 minutes) after Gudur, then proceeds to Tirupati where it has a half-hour halt, reverses direction and returns to Renigunta for another halt (20 minutes) and reverses direction yet again to proceed to Cochin via the Arakkonam bypass. This is one of the rare trains to have two halts at the same station on its run. Also the only train to have two direction reversals within a distance of about 10km! The history behind this strange route is that there used to be a biweekly Varanasi-Tirupati Exp. and a weekly Varanasi-Cochin Exp. that shared schedules between Varanasi and Renigunta; when the Varanasi-Tirupati Exp. was re-routed to Secunderabad, the other train was adjusted to preserve service to Tirupati. Train 4041/4042 covers Najibabad - Muzzampur Narain twice; the 4042 halts twice at Muzzampur Narain, whereas 4041 halts there only once, the second time it reaches the station.
    The Chennai - Guwahati/Dibrugarh Exp. used to reverse at Andal. In July 2002, the train's route was modified to include Durgapur. So now the train proceeds to Durgapur from Andal, changes its locomotive there, and then reverses to go back through Andal with a halt there. Curiously, earlier the first Andal halt was treated as a passenger halt, but not the second, so that passengers boarding at Andal and wishing to go south had to pay for the journey to Durgapur and back! Now both Andal halts are treated as passenger halts for the purposes of ticketing.
    Some other such odd cases exist. The Gaya-Patna Passenger has to go through Luckeesarai twice in order to reach Kiul on its route, which is not on the main route it follows.

  • Multiple traversals of a section Any train route that involves a reversal at a "terminus" causes trains to repeat a bit of track, of course. Notable among trains that repeat sections of their route are those reversing at Madras Central (TVC-HWH, TVC-GWY, etc.), UJN-DDN, Golden Temple Mail from Tilak Bridge to New Delhi, Jammu Tawi - Amritsar Exp. from Bharoli to Pathankot, and trains at Chandlodiya and Sabarmati going between Gandhidham, Porbandar, Okha and towards Delhi. All trains heading towards Katni from the Mughalsarai side via Allahabad (touching Allahabad) actually repeat the Naini-Allahabad section twice (2321/22 Howrah-CSTM Superfast Mail, 3201/3202 Patna-LTT Exp., Mahanagari Exp., Durg-Gorakhpur Exp. etc.) The Nilgiri Express traverses the Coimbatore - Coimbatore North sections twice, and 1013/1014 traverses Bangalore City - Bangalore East twice. The 4041/4042 Mussouri Express traverses the Muzzampur Narain - Najibabad section twice in both directions (reversing at Najibabad). The 5629/5630 Madras Egmore - Guwahati Exp., 5929/5930 Chennai - Dibrugarh Town Exp., the Jhajha - Guwahati Exp. and Ranchi - Alipurduar Exp. traverse the Andal-Durgapur section twice in both direction (reversing at DGR). The 8451/8452 Tapaswini Exp. has two reversals at Sambalpur and Talcher, making it cover the Sambalpur - Sambalpur Road between Talcher - Talcher Road twice in both directions of travel.

  • Most direction reversals There is currently [6/06] one train that reverses directions 5 times on its journey: the 8473/8474 Puri-Jaipur Express reverses at Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Nagpur, Nagda, and Sawai Madhopur. There are some trains that reverse directions three times during their journey.

    Current [6/06]: The 8477/8478 Kalinga Utkal Exp. (Puri-Haridwar) reverses at Kharagpur, Katni, and Bina. The 1465/1466 Jabalpur-Veraval Exp. reverses at Baroda, Bhopal, and Katni. The 8401/8402 Okha-Puri Exp. reverses at Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, and Khurda Road. The 9305/9306 Shipra Exp. (Indore-Howrah) reverses at Allahabad, Bhopal, and Ujjain. The 6217/6218 Mysore-Nizamuddin Swarnajayanti Exp. reverses at Bangalore(?), Pune, and Daund.

    Past [8/01]: The Guwahati to Trivandrum/Bangalore/Cochin Expresses reverse at Howrah, Vishakhapatnam, and Madras Central. The Varanasi - Cochin Exp. reverses at Allahabad, Tirupati, and Renigunta. Trains between Patna and CHTS reverse at Kharagpur, Vishakapatnam, and Madras. The Alleppey-Dhanbad Express reverses at Shoranur, Chennai Central, and Vishakhapatnam. The Vasco da Gama - Hazrat Nizamuddin Goa Exp. used to reverse direction (still does?) at Londa, Pune, and Daund. Bangalore City - Jaipur has reversals at Guntakal, Secunderabad, and Nagda; there may also be a reversal at Sawai Madhopur (??), which would make this a 4-reversal route. CHTS - Barauni has reversals at Shoranur, Madras, and Lucknow (Lucknow NER platform - LJN). The Jhelum Express from Pune to Jammu Tawi reverses at Daund, Pathankot, and Jallandar City, while Jammu Tawi - Firozpur Exp. reverses at Pathankot, Amritsar, and Jallandar. The Indore-Bilaspur Express reverses at Ujjain, Itarsi, and Katni. The Bhopal-Durg Amarkantak Exp. reverses at Itarsi, Katni, and Bilaspur. See above (trains haulting at the same station twice) for a train that reverses twice within a short distance (10km). The Amritha Express reverses at Palghat (the second station after it starts from Palghat Town) and then again at Shoranur, within 50km. The Island Express in the 1980s used to reverse at Jolarpettai and Ernakulam Jn., and for a short time also reversed at Shoranur Jn.

  • Longest distance without direction reversals [8/01] The Trivandrum Rajdhani makes its run of about 3000km without any reversals. The Dadar-Guwahati Exp. is probably another such train (2657km).

  • Trains that have different routes in different directions The 3112 Lal Quila Exp. bound for Sealdah uses the route Barddhaman-Bandel-Naihati-Sealdah, whereas the 3111 for the reverse journey uses Sealdah-Dakshineswar-Barddhaman. The Mumbai-Howrah Mail goes via Barddhaman-Bandel-Howrah to avoid having to wait for the Rajdhani Exp. on the same route to pass it; the Howrah-Mumbai Mail in the reverse direction uses the Howrah-Barddhaman chord via Kamarkundu.

  • Trains with different halts in different directions (with the same route) On the Howrah-Belurmath suburban service, the Down train (from Belurmath to Howrah) stops at Liluah (joining the Barddhaman-Howrah Down main line just before entering Liluah station). The Up train, however, does not stop at Liluah; coming up the Howrah-Barddhaman Up main line from Howrah, it crosses over both Down lines just before entering Liluah, and bypassing that station, goes directly to Belurmath.
  • Trains with different compositions in different directions [4/02] The Hussainsagar Exp. 7001/7002, and the 7031/7032 Express share rakes in an interesting way. The 7001 (CSTM - Hyderabad) train has a composite First/Second AC coach, but on the return journey it does not have 1AC accommodation, using the rake from the other train. Similarly the 7032 (Hyderabad - CSTM) carrries a First/Second AC coach, but the 7031 does not because it gets the rake from the 7002.

  • Trains with different routes on different gauges With the numerous gauge conversion projects going on, there have been a few trains that used different routes between their end-points on MG and BG. The Venkatadri Exp. to Tirupati exists in both MG and BG incarnations [2/01]; the MG train goes on the Guntakal - Dharmavaram - Pakala route while the BG version takes the Guntakal - Gooty - Renigunta route.

  • Trains with more than one gauge change With the many sections undergoing gauge conversions, it is not unusual to find a service that runs in two portions, a part on BG and the rest of the route being on MG. However, there is a train, the Secunderabad-Jaipur Express [1/01] which runs in _3_ portions: as an MG train from Secunderabad to Mudkhed, as a BG train from Mudkhed to Purna, and finally again as an MG train from Purna onwards.

  • Trains that run combined in only one direction The Rupasi Bangla Express (Howrah-Purulia) and the Dhauli Express have the same schedule between Howrah and Kharagpur. The two trains actually run combined on this section, with the Dhauli Exp. forming the front of the rake. The trains are separated at Kharagpur where the Dhauli Exp. leaves after a 2-minute halt while the Rupasi Bangla continues on to Purulia after nearly a half-hour halt. The trains do not combine and split in this manner in the reverse direction, probably the only such case in IR. Curiously, Dhauli is classified as a superfast while the Rupasi Bangla is not, so that the fare payable is different for different parts of the same rake, for the section of route on which the trains run combined (the rake is through vestibuled, so one can move from one train to the other on the run).

  • Splitting trains There are some trains that start out with one rake which splits into two trains going to different destinations. (This is not just the case of one or two sectional carriages being detached from a train.) Trains 4041/4042 and 4041A/4042A start at Delhi and go to Dehradun and Kotdwar, respectively, splitting at Najifabad. 5013/5014 and 5013A/5014A start at Delhi and go to Kathgodam and Ramnagar, respectively, splitting at Moradabad. 9945/9946 and 9947/9948 start combined at Ahmedabad and proceed to Veraval and Bhavnagar, splitting at Dhola. 3141/3142 and 3141A/3142A go from Sealdah to Haldibari and New Alipurduar, splitting at Raninagar Jalpaiguri. 6688/6687, 6788/6787 leave from Jammu Tawi for Mangalore and Madurai, splitting at Erode. 6318/6317 and 6788/6787 leave Jammu Tawi for Kanyakumari and Madurai, splitting at Erode. Note that this pair overlaps one set of train numbers with the previous pair. These are all according to the 1999 timetables.
    There used to be two trains, the Ranchi-Kalka Exp. and the Tatanagar-Amritsar Golden Exp. which in around 1985 were combined into one service Ranchi/Tatanagar - Kalka/Amritsar. The rakes were combined at Muri, and split again at Ambala Cantt.
    An interesting train is the Haripriya Exp. from Kolhapur which splits at Guntakal. Half of it is attached to the Up Rayalaseema Exp. to Hyderabad, while the other half is attached to the Down Rayalaseem Exp. to Tirupati. In the reverse direction the train is constituted from portions from the Up and Down Rayalaseema Expresses again.

  • Trains run in multiple gauge sections There have always been some trains where passengers had to switch from an MG rake to a BG rake at a gauge junction. Usually, however, these involved just one change of gauge. Now, gauge conversion has resulted in many MG routes being broken up necessitating many more such rake changes. The 9769 Jaipur Secunderabad Link Express has a few different sections. One is the MG section from Jaipur to Purna; the next is a BG section from Purna to Nizamabad; then there is an MG section from Nizamabad to Bolarum; and finally a BG section from Bolarum to Secunderabad. Yet it is considered a single train, from the days when the entire route was continuous MG. In addition, this train has another link where after the MG section from Jaipur to Purna, some slip coaches take the BG route all the way to Secunderabad, being attached/detached at Parbhani Junction to the Secunderabad - Manmad Exp.

  • Oldest trains still running Trains keep getting their schedules changed, their routes changed, and their names changed over time, so the answers to these questions are a bit fluid. The Bangalore Mail has been running in various guises since 1864 (1862?). The Deccan Queen and the Howrah-Madras Mail have been in operation since the 1930s. So has the Howrah-Kalka Mail. The Punjab Mail, the Frontier Mail, and the Grand Trunk Express are other trains that have been running for a long time, however, their names have changed and/or their routes / termini have changed too. The 2 Up / 1 Dn Mail between Calcutta and Delhi, started in 1866, is the direct forebear of today's Howrah-Kalka Mail. The Poona Mail (Bombay-Poona) introduced in the 1860s was discontinued in the 1970s. The Flying Ranee started under that name in 1950, but it had its predecessors (Flying Queen, Weekend Special) in 1937 and 1906.

  • Air-conditioned Passengers: There are few passenger (i.e., not express or mail) trains that provide air-conditioned accommodation, without counting those trains that run as expresses for parts of their routes and as passengers for other parts. ER's Bishwabharati Passenger and the WR's 241/242 Mumbai-Viramgam Passenger are two that have AC coaches. The latter had First Class AC coaches between Surat and Mumbai; later [1/02] it had composite FC and AC Chair Car coaches. Now [12/04] it is reported to have only AC 2-tier coaches. The Hyderabad-Purna Passenger sometimes has a AC 3-tier coach.

  • Trains with the same name: Not counting trains whose name refers to a class of trains (Rajdhani, Janata, Matribhumi, etc.), and also not counting trains that share most of the route but run to different terminal points on different days, etc. (Gondwana Exp. running from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Bilaspur and Jabalpur), there aren't many trains that share names. There are two Godavari Expresses, one running between Vishakhapatnam and Hyderabad, and another running between Kurla and Manmad. The current Mandovi Express running on KR between Mumbai (CSTM) and Madgaon shares its name with the former MG train between Miraj and Vasco da Gama. The Bhagirathi Exp. between Sealdah and Lalgola takes the name of a former MG train on NER. Some years ago there were two Mahalaxmi Expresses running, the BG one between Mumbai and Kolhapur, and the MG one between Miraj and Mangalore. The officially named Punjab Mail that runs between Mumbai and Firozpur shares its name with the Howrah-Amritsar Mail which is popularly known as the Punjab Mail. There are some close matches, such as Gujarat Exp., Gujarat Mail, Gujarat Queen; Saurashtra Exp., Saurashtra Mail, Saurashtra Janata Exp.; etc.

  • Trains with more than one name: The 2395/2396 train between Rajendra Nagar and Ajmer was called the Ibadat Express (Ibadat = 'worship', from the Ajmer Sharif shrine). However, from some time in 2003, the IR official site has been showing the name Ziyarat Express (Ziyarat = 'pilgrimage') for the Ajmer - Rajendra Nagar direction of the train, and the old name Ibadat Express for the opposite direction. This may be the only instance of a train with different names in each direction. It's not clear whether the name Ibadat Express was intended to be retired and only continues to show up because of a clerical error.

  • Trains sharing the same number: Numbers for trains were of course often shared by several trains before the introduction of the 4-digit universal numbers. Now, apart from cases of splitting trains, sectional carriages and so on where train numbers may be shared by portions of a rake that go to different destinations, train numbers are not shared by different trains. An odd case of two trains sharing the same number existed in the year 2000, when the Howrah-Jodhpur Exp. via Patna was numbered 2313/2314 for its runs on Mondays when it was supposed to share timings with the Himgiri Exp. This scheduled train never actually materialised although it was in official timetables. Within the same railway budget year, the Sealdah Rajdhani was introduced with the 2313/2314 numbers, without official notification of the withdrawal of the first train.

  • Trains with many classes of accommodation: [8/03] At least five trains appear to run regularly with six classes of accommodation: 1AC, 2AC, 3AC, FC, SL, and GS: Pandian Exp., Chennai - Tiruchchirapalli Exp., Chennai - Kanyakumari Exp., Nilgiri Exp., and the Brahmaputra Mail.

  • Same train in opposite directions at the same time: [7/06] There are a few cases of the same train service running in opposite directions being at the same station at the same time. E.g., during the monsoon schedule [7/06], the 6345 LTT-TVC Netravati Express and the 6346 TVC-LTT Netravati Express meet each other at Bhatkal (BTKL). Both trains arrive and depart at identical times, 0255 and 0257 respectively! The 433 and 434 YPR-Guntur-YPR Passenger trains both depart from SSPN (Shri Sathya Sai Prashanthi Nilayam) at exactly the same time, at 1230. In other examples of trains meeting in opposite directions such as the 2621/2622 meeting at Nagpur, 7007/7008 meeting at Vijayawada, or 7001/7002 Hussain Sagar Expresses meeting at Pune, the two trains don't have identical arrival and departure timings.
  • Northernmost railway station: Jammu Tawi. However, a new line is being built from here to Udhampur and an extension up to Baramulla, north of Srinagar, is anticipated.
    The northernmost station in the Indian subcontinent is Dargai in NWFP, on a branch line from Nowshera (Pakistan).

  • Westernmost station: Naliya, on a MG line from Bhuj. The westernmost BG station is Varvala, slightly to the west of its more well-known neighbour Dwarka, on the Okha line.
    The westernmost station on the subcontinent is Mirjawa on the Iran-Pakistan border, on the Quetta-Zahidan line. However this does not seem to have a passenger service now [3/99], as trains terminate at Kuh-i-Taftan, the next station towards Quetta. This is the only rail link between the subcontinent and neighbouring countries.

  • Southernmost station: Kanyakumari. (Are there, or were there, any passenger railways in the Nicobar islands?)

  • Easternmost station: Ledo. This is on a branch line from Tinsukia. Some years ago, when the network here was entirely MG, the terminus was Lekhapani, a few km to the east. The BG line to Ledo actually continues up to Tirap today [2005]. There is, however, no passenger station at Tirap, only a few coal sidings. The disused MG line to Lekhapani is still visible from Tirap. Ledo is also the terminus of the famous Burma Road.

  • Highest railway station: Ghoom on the DHR (2' gauge), at 2258m (7407'). This is probably the highest 2' gauge railway station in the world. The highest BG station is Shimliguda at 998m (3272'). This station is on the Visakhapatnam - Kirandul line (SER). (For comparison, Bangalore City station is at 908m (921m?) above MSL.)

    Note: It is sometimes wrongly claimed that Shimliguda is the highest BG station in the world. This is not true as Pattipola in Sri Lanka (on the main Colombo-Badulla line) is at 1898m, Shelabagh near the Khojak tunnel on the Chaman-Bostan line in Pakistan is at 1945m, and Kolpore in Pakistan is at 1790m. Kach Kotal in Pakistan on the Khanai-Harnai line near the spectacular Chappar Rift was at 1992m; it was closed because of mudslides in 1942 (this section also had 3 miles filled by dried mud to a depth of 518m (1700')).

    Note 2: For comparison: Galera, on the Central line of Peru is probably the highest train station today [11/03], at 4783m (15693'); the nearby Morococha mine loop is at 4829m (15,845'). Condor, on the now-closed Potosi branch railway line in Bolivia, at 4786m (15,705') was the former record-holder. The famed Jungfraujoch railway station in Switzerland is at 3455m (11,333').

    The Fernhill train station just before Ootacamund on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was the highest on MG at 2218m (7275'). This station was decommissioned in 1994. The highest point on MG actually occurs just before Fernhill, and is at 2226m (7300'); about 2km before the terminus.
    On the 2'6" gauge Simla at 2075m (6803') is the highest station. (Note: Darjeeling is lower in height than both Ooty and Simla.)

  • Station straddling state lines: Navapur is a station that is half in Maharashtra and half in Gujarat (the boundary between the states is marked next to the tracks within the station). Bhawani Mandi station, on the Shamgarh-Kota section of the Bombay-Delhi line is half in Madhya Pradesh and half in Rajasthan.

  • Longest tunnel : This is the Karbude tunnel on the Konkan Railway and is 6.5km long. It is between Bhoke and Ukshi. The next longest is probably the Tike tunnel (4.077km) between Ratnagiri and Nivasar. There are other long tunnels on KR: the Natuwadi tunnel, which is 3.5km long between Karanjadi and Diwan Khauti, the Berdewadi tunnel between Talawade and Vilawade (Adavli) (length? 4km?), Sawarde tunnel (3.4km) between Kamathe and Sawarde, Barcem tunnel (3.3km) between Balli and Cancona, Karwar tunnel (3km) between Karwar and Harwada, Parchuri tunnel (2.6km) between Sangameshwar and Ukshi, and Chiplun tunnel (2km) between Chiplun and Kamathe. Outside the KR stretch, the longest tunnel is on the Khandala/Pune line at One Tree Hill, over 2km long, followed by Parsik (between Thane and Kalyan), just under 2km and then the Barog tunnel, about 1.5km long on the Kalka-Simla line.

  • Longest bridge: The Godavari bridge near Rajahmundry. (road-rail mixed traffic bridge) (a little over 5km); the Nehru Setu bridge near Dehri on the river Sone (3.065km, 93 spans, each 30.5m), and the bridge over the Ganga near Patna (~2km). The Narnarayan Setu bridge over the Brahmaputra at Jogighopa linking it to Pancharatna (in Assam) has 18 spans, each about 120m, with 2 spans of 30.5m, for a total length of 2.3km. Rail traffic has recently [2002] begun moving on this bridge.

  • Tallest bridge: The bridge on the Panval river (Konkan Railway, Ratnagiri district). The 420m-long bridge was the first one built in India using the incremental launching technique and is 64m tall.

  • Longest platform: This is to be found in Kharagpur, at 1072.5m. This platform originally had a length of 716m, and was extended twice, once to 833m and then to its current length (dates unknown). Excluding subway platforms (the Chicago subway has a longer one which is essentially one continuous platform connecting two consecutive stations), this is the longest railway platform in the world.

  • Steepest inclines: On BG routes, these are some of the ghat sections. The Bhore ghat on the Mumbai-Pune route has a ruling incline of 1:37. The Thull ghat also has a ruling gradient of 1:37.
    Among short distance inclines, the Masjid - Sandhurst Road (upper level station) section in Mumbai has a gradient of 1:34 or so. The section, however, is only 0.5km long.
    On MG, Conoor-Kallar (Nilgiri Mountain Railway) has a ruling gradient of 1:12.28. This is not an adhesion track, but a rack system.
    On 2'6" NG, the Kangra Valley line is mostly at 1:40 and has some gradients of 1:25, while the Kalka-Shimla line is at 1:33.
    On 2' NG, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has gradients of 1:29, 1:26, and a few stretches of 1:23. Gradients of 1:20 used to exist earlier, but were eased. The Matheran Light Railway route has a ruling gradient of 1:20.
    Elsewhere on the subcontinent, steep BG inclines included the 1:25 gradient of the Mushkaf-Bolan section, 1:25 and 1:33 sections on the Khyber Railways and 1:40 on the Sind-Peshin Railway. On MG, the Lashio branch of the Burma Railways included a 1:25 gradient, as did the Southern Shan States Railway. (Current status of all of these not known.)

  • Re-used loco numbers: Locomotive numbers have been widely re-used, especially the older steam numbers which are now being used for diesels and electrics. Among the diesels and electrics, too, there are some overlaps. The numbers of the NBM-1 locos (21951-21953) overlap with the WCAM-3 locos. The new WDP-4 locos (20000+) have numbers that overlap with those of the old WCP-1 locos (20002-20023). Some of the NDM-1 numbers (501-506) overlap with the numbers of ZDM-5 locos. This latter case is especially interesting as 500 was the start of the All-India numbering block for NG steam locomotives, and 504-506 were E and ES class 4-6-2 locos of the Southern Railway, built by Kerr Stuart in the 1920s. So these numbers (504-506) were used three times, once for steam and twice for different diesel classes.

Station oddities

A station inside a station On the Delhi-Kanpur route at the Hathras Junction station, one can observe the MG line crossing the main BG line at right angles in the same premises. However the MG station is called Hathras Road even though it is inside the yard of Hathras Junction, which is the BG station. To make things more complicated, the town of Hathras is nowhere near Hathras Junction. (Furthermore, there is also a Hathras City on MG 9km west of Hathras Rd, and a Hathras Qila on BG 10km south of Hathras Jn.)

Two stations across the lines Srirampur and Belapur are two different stations in Maharashtra (CR); however, the strange thing about them is that they are both at the same location on the railway route, with one station on one side of the tracks and the second on the other side. I.e., they face each other across the tracks.

Intersecting lines with no cross-overs The above example of Hathras has the BG line and the MG line crossing without any facilities for transshipment, sharing of station facilities, etc. The Mal Bazar to Changrabandha MG branch and the New Jalpaiguri - New Bongaigaon BG line cross without any station facilities nearby and no possibility of transshipment. At Kamarkundu station, trains can go on the Howrah - Bardhaman section, or Sheoraphuli - Tarakeshwar section, but cannot switch routes (the latter line goes above the former). At Bally station two lines from Howrah to Barddhaman (Main and Chord) enter but no cross-overs are possible here. The station has separate platforms for the two lines. Just metres from Bally is the Bally Halt station which has a third line, from Sealdah, which also does not have any cross-overs with either of the other two as it passes over them. At Vishwamitri, Akola, Khandwa, and Ratlam, the different routes that intersect do share some facilities for goods interchange, common station crew, etc.

Two gauges of track with a station for only one of them On the Delhi-Madras route until recently one could see the NG station of Chanda Fort adjacent to the main BG line. However, there was no BG station there. Therefore a passenger wishing to transfer between BG and NG had to use road transport between the stations of Chanda Fort and the nearest BG station, Chandrapur. Updated: [8/00] No longer the case... Gauge conversion has eliminated the NG line here and Chanda Fort is on BG now.
Today, such cases are very rare (examples are said to exist on suburban sections around Mumbai and Chennai (??)).

Two-level stations Sandhurst Road is a station in India which is built to serve trains on two levels. The upper level of the station abuts the (BG) tracks which are actually on a bridge at that point. Kamarkundu station in West Bengal also has two sections, with the lower level on the Howrah - Burdwan chord section, with the upper one on the Tarkakeshwar-Sheoraphuli suburban single-line section. Bally station also has two levels; the upper serving the Sealdah-Dake route and the lower serving the Howrah-Bandel-Burdwan line and the Howrah-Burdwan chord line. Vishwamitri (a suburb of Vadodara) has a station with the BG Mumbai-Vadodara line on the upper level, and the NG Jambusar-Dabhoi line on the lower level.

Non-terminal reversing stations Phulad on the Mawli-Marwar section is not a terminus, but the tracks are arranged such that a reversal is required for all trains.

Stations where more than one train is at a platform Gondal is a station with one platform on a single-line section between Jetalsar and Rajkot. A small loop line (sufficient for about a 9-coach train) is parallel to the main line at the platform. Up and down trains cross by having one of them use the loop line, and often the up and down trains are then both on the main line back to back, waiting for their scheduled departures. At Nagpur, the Kazipet Passenger and Amla Passenger wait back-to-back at the same platform for their departure. At New Delhi, the Dehradun Shatabdi and the Lucknow Shatabdi are routinely accommodated on the same platform. This sort of arrangement is also seen at some stations such as Delhi Jn., Kharagpur, etc., where different sections of the same platform structure are marked or numbered differently and count as distinct platforms. At Kharagpur, platforms 1 and 3 are contiguous (these together form the world's longest platform, see above), as are 2 and 4. The only 24-coach train from Kharagpur, the 2841 Coromondel Express, stops at the starter of Platform 3 and its tail extends to some distance into Platform 1. At Kanpur quite often two trains or sometimes three trains leave from the same platform. The three are shunted in together. The first one leaves for Rai Bareilly (PGR). Then the next one is the Kanpur-Fatehpur passenger (both of these leave in the same direction, incidentally). The third is sometimes the Banda Passenger, which however leaves in the opposite direction. Until recently (prior to gauge conversion), Tiruvavur Jn. of SR also had a station configuration where two trains could be at the same platform; trains to Nagore and Mayiladuthurai left from the northern end and trains to Thiruthuraipundi and Thanjavur left from the southern end.

Isolated Sections Because of gauge conversion of MG and NG sections, there have been several cases of sections of track left 'isolated' and separated from the rest of the railway network, for instance the MG section from Secunderabad to Mudkhed where connections at either end are now BG. Most such sections were left isolated only for short periods of time as further gauge conversion eliminated them. In cases where they stayed open and in use, special arrangements were made to home locomotives and coaches to run trains on them. On the broad gauge, the planned extension of railway services into the Kashmir valley is expected to result in an isolated BG section, Baramulla - Qazigund, which will be finished well before the connecting link from the main network is done. Coaches and locomotives are expected to be air-lifted to Baramulla to enable services to be started on the line. Another BG section, Kumarghat - Agartala, may also become an isolated BG section when gauge conversion proceeds in 2005-2006.

Parallel Tracks In the Mumbai area, between Bandra Terminus (BAMY) and Andheri (about 10km), seven tracks run parallel to each other. This is thought to be the highest number of parallel tracks on the IR system. (Of course, we don't include parallel tracks in yards and station loops and the like!)


Q. Does any station have all three gauges present?

Yes. Today Siliguri station (NFR) holds the distinction of having three different gauges present. New Jalpaiguri (NFR) had 3 gauges present at the same place: BG, MG, and NG (2'0"). As of 2000 or so it was the only such station on IR's network. The BG trunk route of NFR from Malda town to Guwahati and onwards to Dibrugarh runs through NJP. It has an MG section towards Siliguri. This station has a huge marshalling yard and also some special IndianOil and FCI sidings. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway originates from here.

Construction work began in 2000 on the New Jalpaiguri - New Bongaigaon MG to BG conversion. When this was completed [2003? 2004?], New Jalpaiguri was no longer a 3-gauge station, and Siliguri regained that status (which it will hold as long as the MG line from Katihar remains in place.

Until the 1950s Siliguri used to have all three gauges as well. But then the Siliguri-Haldibari section was converted from BG to MG and the NG section was extended to New Jalpaiguri, making the latter a 3-gauge station as noted above. Later Haldibari - New Jalpaiguri was reconverted to BG as part of the main line to New Bongaigaon.

Yelahanka (outside Bangalore) used to qualify as such a junction. The BG Bangalore-Gooty line passes through it. It was also the terminus for the NG Yelahanka-Bangarapet and the MG Yelahanka-Yesvanthpur-Bangalore lines (the latter was part of the original Guntakal-Bangalore MG line). Until fairly recently, diesel NG railcars were still plying the Yelahanka-Bangarapet line, which incidentally goes through the Kolar gold fields. It was the sole NG line in SR.

Miraj also had three gauges: BG line from Pune, MG line from Belgaum, and the NG line from Kurduwadi-Pandharpur.

A long time ago (until 1970 or so?), Bangalore City also had all three gauges. The Bangalore-Kolar-Yelahanka NG line reached Bangalore City. It had the BG line from Jolarpettai, MG lines from Dharmavaram, Arsikere (meeting at Yeshvantpur Jn.) and Mysore, and the NG line from Bangarapet. The NG line into Bangalore City fell into disuse nearly 20 years ago. In fact, the entire NG line from Yelahanka to Bangarapet was in danger of being ripped out some years ago, until someone came up with the idea of running diesel railcars on them. No trace of the NG line into Bangalore exists today. The portion to Yeshvanthpur has been converted to MG, doubling that MG line. Between Yeshvanthpur and Yelahanka, the NG was "embedded" in the MG line. The third rail for NG was later removed so that the NG railcars had to terminate at Yelahanka.

Ujjain in the past also had three gauges: MG line from Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj; the Bhopal--Nagda electrified BG main line and an unelectrified line to Ratlam; and an Ujjain--Agar 2'0" NG line that no longer exists (this was an outlying branch of the Gwalior light railways).


Q. What's the highest number of routes originating at a single junction?

[3/99] Mathura is a junction with 7 routes originating from it:

  • BG line to Agra Cantt. (double, electrified)
  • BG line to Bharatpur (double, electrified)
  • Three BG lines towards Delhi that meet at Mathura outer; of these two continue towards Delhi and may be considered to be one route...
  • ...while the third turns east to Alwar at Bhuteshwar (single, unelectrified). Bhuteshwar lies within Mathura signalling territory and is not a junction.
  • MG line to Achnera
  • MG line to Vrindavan
  • MG line to Hathras, Kasganj (thence to Kanpur)

If we considered parallel MG and BG lines to be separate routes, Sabarmati would count as a 7-route junction (see below).

Bathinda has 6 lines:

  • BG route to Delhi (via Jakhal)
  • BG route to Sri Ganganagar
  • BG route to Ambala
  • BG route to Rewari (via Hissar)
  • BG route to Firozpur
  • BG route to Hanumangarh

(Bathinda also has a bypass line.)

If we considered parallel MG and BG lines as separate lines, then Guntakal would count as a 6-line junction (see below).

5-route junctions

These include Guntakal, Katni, Varanasi, Kanpur Central, Lucknow, Villupuram, Dabhoi, and Nagpur among others.

  • Guntakal has lines from Wadi, Renigunta, Bellary (parallel MG and BG lines), Dharmavaram (MG), and Dronachellam.

  • Sabarmati has parallel BG and MG lines from Ahmedabad, parallel BG and MG lines from Mahesana via Kali Road, an MG line from Botad via Kali Road, a BG line from Viramgam via Chandlodiya, and a BG line from Gandhinagar Capital via Chandlodiya. (We count these as separate routes for Sabarmati since the stations at Kali Road and Chandlodiya are not junctions. Note that if parallel BG and MG lines are counted as separate routes, Sabarmati would count as a 7-route junction.)

  • Katni has lines from Jabalpur, Satna, Bina, Singrauli and Bilaspur.

  • Varanasi has lines from Janghai, Allahabad (via Madhosingh), Zafarabad, Mughalsarai, and Aunrihar.

  • Kanpur Central has lines from Jhansi/Banda (meeting at Bhimsen), Etawah, Lucknow, Allahabad and Farrukhabad.

  • Salem Jn. has lines to Erode, Jolarpettai, Vriddhachalam (under gauge conversion now [8/05]), Bangalore (via Hosur), and Mettur Dam.

  • Lucknow has lines from Kanpur Central, Hardoi, Sitapur, Bara Banki and Pratapgarh/Sultanpur (meeting at Utrahtia just outside Lucknow). But two of these lines run parallel until Daliganj, so that LKO is strictly speaking not a 5-line junction.

  • Incidently, Dabhoi is the largest NG junction in India with all five lines being NG.

  • Delhi has 5 routes converging on it: From Saharanpur/Ghaziabad via Delhi Shahdara, from New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin via Sadar Bazar, from Panipat via Sabzi Mandi and from Rohtak via Delhi Kishenganj (note that these two lines do not actually touch Sadar Bazar (Sadar Bazar not being a junction) so we can count them as separate routes to Delhi for our purposes), and a BG line to Rewari (which parallels an MG line to Rewari from Delhi Sarai Rohilla). The tracks for Ghaziabad via Old Delhi and Ambala split beyond Sadar Bazar while the tracks for Ghaziabad via Anand Vihar and Mathura split at Tilak Bridge. The tracks for Rohtak and Jaipur split beyond Sabuzi Mandi. If we count the BG and MG routes separately, Delhi can be considered to have 6 routes radiating from it. Note that the route to Ghaziabad splits into two separate double lines after Sahibabad. There is also a loop line separating from the Rewari line near Shakurbasti and joining the southbound line between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Tughlakabad.
    New Delhi itself is not a junction.
  • Stations such as Tiruchchirapalli and Bangalore City are not quite the same because some of the five lines actually meet at junctions which are independent stations themselves (Golden Rock, Yesvanthpur).

  • Nagpur also has 5 routes converging if we count BG and NG lines separately.

Ahmedabad should not be considered a 5-route junction because Sabarmati is a a junction and the parallel BG and MG lines from Ahmedabad towards Viramgaon (BG), Mahesana (MG-BG), Botad (MG), and Gandhinagar Capital (BG) go via Sabarmati Jn.

Vijayawada may appear to be a 5-line junction at first glance, with routes to Vishakhapatnam, Gudivada, Warangal, Tenali, and Guntur, but the line to Guntur actually splits from Krishna Canal Jn. which is one station south of Vijayawada across the Krishna river, and so cannot be counted.

Mixed Traction

Today with widespread electrification, most long-distance trains run under electric traction throughout. There are many others that still run with diesel haulage, of course, and one can find a good many that change from electric to diesel en route. However, this section is concerned with the odder combinations that were found in the past when steam was on the wane but not yet dead, and electrification was just getting going.

There were many cases of 'triple traction', where a train ran with steam, diesel, and electric locomotives. The Toofan Express, for instance, ran with a WP from Delhi to Agra Cantt. and a CWD (to about 1982) or WG (1983) from Agra Cantt. to Tundla; an electric loco (a WAP or WAM class loco) from Tundla to Mughalsarai; and with a WDM-2 from Mughalsarai to Patna. After Patna, usually a WP hauled it until about 1980, when diesel traction continued beyond Patna. The Bombay - Madras Janata Express in the 1970s was hauled by a DC electric loco from Bombay to Poona, a diesel from Poona to Daund, and then by steam from Daund to Madras. A similar situation held with the Holiday Specials between Bombay and Poona. The diesel-steam change-over point was at different times Guntakal or Raichur as well. The 37 Up Howrah - Madras Janata Express until 1979 started with an electric loco from Howrah to Kharagpur; a diesel (WDM-1?) to Waltair, and steam locos further until Madras.

Other odd cases: The Kalka Mail in the late 1970s started from Kalka with a steam loco until Delhi, and an electric loco from Delhi to Kanpur. When diesel was being tried out on the Daund - Poona line, there were occasions when the Daund - Poona shuttle was double-headed with a steam loco and a diesel loco. The Upper India Express until about 1977 ran on electric traction from Delhi Jn. to Allahabad, and then to Sealdah on steam (with a steam change-over at Mughalsarai). And since the dieselization of portions of the Ooty line, the Nilgiri Express is a steam-diesel combination these days [12/04] -- steam from Ooty to Coonoor, and diesel from Coonoor to Mettupalaiyam.


Some stations on IR are famous for the regional specialty food items available there. Below follows a list of some of them. Compiled by Sukrut Thipse.

  • Pune - Tea, Misal, and Patties in the canteen
  • Karjat - Batata vada / vada pav (Potato snack)
  • Lonavala - Chocolate Fudge / Cashewnut Chikki (cashewnut brittle candy)
  • Neral - Seasonal Jambhool fruit
  • Khandala - Seasonal Jamoon fruit (plums)
  • Solapur - Kunda (sweet barfi)
  • Kolhapur - Sugarcane juice
  • Miraj - Saar and Rice
  • Hubli - Hubli rice (Curd rice (yogurt rice) with onions, chile peppers, and pickles)
  • Mysore - Dosa
  • Tiruchirapalli - Bondas in several variations
  • Hyderabad - Chicken biryani
  • Calicut (Kozhikode) - Dal vada
  • Quilon - Rasam
  • Mangalore - Egg Biryani
  • Ernakulam - Fried yellow bananas
  • Nagpur - Bhujia, and oranges
  • Guntakal - Mango jelly
  • Chennai Central - Samosas, idli, dosa
  • Rameshwaram - Idiuppam (Rice Noodles)
  • Agra - Petha (candied pumpkin)
  • New Delhi - Aloo chat (tangy potato snack)
  • Indore - Farsan
  • Ahmedabad - Vadilal ice-cream
  • Surat - Undhyo (mixed vegetables)
  • Ranchi - Puri bhaji
  • Howrah - Sandesh
  • Amritsar - Lassi, Aloo paratha
  • Bangalore - Vada sambar, fresh fruit juices
  • Jaipur - Dal bati
  • Gandhidham - dabeli
  • Varanasi - Seasonal amrud fruit (guava)
  • Gorakhpur - Rabdi (a sweet made of milk and sugar)
  • Guwahati - Tea (Assam blend)
  • Madurai - Uthappam (spicy lentil/rice pancake)
  • Ajmer - Mewa (Mix fruit)
  • Vasco-da-gama - Fish curry/cutlets
  • Ratnagiri - Mangoes, dried jackfruit
  • Vijayawada - Fruit juices
  • Rajahmundry - Bananas
  • Daund - Peanuts
  • Tirupati - Ladoos, sevai
  • Londa - Jackfruit
  • Allahabad - Motichur ladoos
  • Ambala - Aloo paratha
  • Puri - Halwah
  • Bhubaneshwar - Dal and rice
  • Coimbatore - Sambar-rice, tamarind-rice, lemon-rice
  • Dehradun - Salted cucumber
  • Gwalior, Bhopal - Boiled chickpeas with chile peppers
  • Surendranagar - Tea with camel's milk
  • Anand - Gota (fenugreek fritters), and milk from the dairy farm there
  • Khambalia Junction - Potato/onion/chili fritters
  • Dwaraka - Milk pedhas
  • Viramgam - Fafda (ganthiya), Poori + Alu-bhaji
  • Pendra Road - Samosas
  • Manikpur - Cream
  • Thanjavur - Salted cashewnuts
  • Bharuch - Peanuts
  • Maddur - Maddur-vade
  • Chinna Ganjam - Cashewnuts
  • Gudur - Lemons
  • Panruti - Jackfruit
  • Virudunagar - Boli (a thick sweet flat bread)
  • Sankarankoil - Chicken biryani
  • Srivilliputtur - Paal kova (a soft milk-based sweet)
  • Manapparai - Murukku
  • Fatehabad-Chandrawatiganj - Gulab Jamun
  • Mehmedabad - Samosa
  • Shamli - Aloo tikki
  • Gajraula - Tea
  • Vadodara - Flavoured milk