TriviaOn this page
A collection of superlatives and other related trivia. Most of these are thought to be accurate as of 12/2021.
Longest, fastest, slowest etc;
Longest run (time) - broad gauge
(12/2021) The 15905 Vivek Express (between Kanyakumari and Dibrugarh) has the longest run in terms of time (also distance, see below). It covers its route of 4154km in 75 hours and 20 minutes. Its return counterpart, 15906 takes 74hrs 35min.
In second place is the 16318 Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra - Kanyakumari Himsagar Express taking 72 hours and 50 minutes for its 3789km run. However, the 16317 train from Kanyakumari to Katra is faster by 4 hrs!
If one takes a distinct pair, then the 12507/12508 Aronai Express between Thiruvananthapuram and Silchar take 72hrs 35min and 71hrs 45min respectively for their 3916km run.
Among non-superfast/non-mail/express the 53041 Howrah - Jaynagar Passenger is the train with the longest runtime of 29h 20m. 77281 Guntur - Kacheguda passenger takes 18hrs to cover 623km, the longest time consumed by any DEMU.
Note: 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) - broad gauge
The 15905/06 Vivek Express between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari has the longest run in terms of distance. It covers 4154 km on its run. The second in this list are the train nos. 12507/08 that run between Thiruvananthapuram Central and Silchar covering a distance of 3916km. The 6317/18 Himsagar Express between Kanyakumari and Katra covers 3789km on its run. The 16687/88 Navyug Express travels 3685km between Mangalore Central and Katra.
Among non-superfast /non-mail/express passenger trains, the Jodhpur - Bhopal Passenger via Jaipur/Kota, had the longest run covering 992km until July 2017 when it was upgraded as an express train. Since then, the Nagpur (Itwari) - Tatanagar Passenger (SER) leads this list at 883km (with 99 stops!). The Bangalore Cantonment - Vijayawada Pass. has a run of 749km. Other well known long runs of ordinary passenger trains are Howrah/Santagachi - Puri (512km), Mumbai Central - Ahmedabad (492km), Visakhapatnam - Kirandul (1VK/2VK) at 437km, and Howrah/Sealdah - Darbhanga (415km).
11410 Nizamabad - Pune DEMU Express is the longest running DEMU covering a distance of 773km (taking 19hrs and 20min). This was earlier classified as a Passenger and hence would have taken second place behind the Nagpur - Tatanagar Passenger.
In the past the longest running MEMU was 69155/56 Ratlam - Mathura MEMU with 593km, but that service has been split into two with a long layover at Kota.
Longest east-west run - broad gauge
The longest east-west runs are those of the 12507/08 Thiruvananthapuram Central - Silchar Express (3916km), 15635 Okha-Guwahati Express (3237km), 18401 Okha-Puri Express (2776km), The 15647 Mumbai LTT - Guwahati Exp. via Bhagalpur (2736km), and the 15645 Mumbai LTT - Guwahati Exp. (2569km), both trains once used to depart from Dadar.
Other geographical trivia
The 16687/88 Navyug express between Mangalore and Katra crosses the most number of states - 14 (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh (just a few km between Ghiala Halt and Chakki Bank), and Jammu & Kashmir).
The 12521/22 Ernakulam-Barauni Rapti Sagar Express goes through the maximum number of zones (8) - SR, SCR, CR, WCR, NCR, NR, NER, ECR.
The 11039/40 Kolhapur-Gondia Maharashtra Express covers the largest distance entirely in one state (Maharashtra/1346km).
The 16733/34 Weekly Exp between Okha and Rameswaram currently holds the record for traversing the most distance within a single zone. It covers 1342km within the South Central Railway. In second place is another weekly train 17417/18 between Tirupati and Shirdi (SNSI), covering 1328km within the South Central Railway.
The longest such train to run daily is 11039/40 Kolhapur - Gondia Maharashtra Exp which travels for 1216km in the Central Railway between Kolhapur and Nagpur. Another train that travels a large distance in a single zone is the Dibrugarh Town - Delhi Brahmaputra Mail which covers 1201km in the North East Frontier Railway.
Longest run for a daily train - broad gauge
The Kerala Express has daily service and covers 3031km in its run (52.2 hours) between Thiruvananthapuram and New Delhi. In second place is the Mangala Exp. covering 2750km in 50.5 hours between Mangalore and Hazrat Nizamuddin. (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 run for a metre gauge train
Gauge conversion of metre to broad has meant there are only a few short spurs and branch lines on MG left. The longest of these currently (11/2020) is between Nanpara and Mailani on the NER at 171km serviced by a daily passenger. A daily passenger also services the 151km between Mavli and Marwar on NWR.
The Meenakshi Express ran from Jaipur to Secunderabad until the late 90s, covering a distance of 1481km. However, gauge conversion of the route started to eat into the run of the train. The first curtailment was between Secunderabad and Mudkhed. And then between Mudkhed and Purna. Until October 2006, the Meenakshi ran from Jaipur to Purna, which is a distance of 1152km. The train lost its famed Meenakshi name and was simply the No. 9769 Jaipur-Purna Exp. It was also sometimes listed as the Jaipur-Secunderabad Link Express, with connecting BG trains to complete the journey.
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) used to be a contender for the top spot with a run of 633km.
Longest run for a narrow gauge train
On the 2' gauge, the Gwalior-Sheopur Kalan route was 198km, with several passenger trains running, but the line currently (12/2021) is undergoing conversion to broad gauge.
On the 2'6" gauge, the Nagpur-Gondia-Nainpur route was probably the longest in the past, but today the Kangra Valley line between Pathankot - Joginder Nagar is the longest at 164km. The Latur-Pandharpur Passenger ran for 216km on the Barsi Light Railway.
Longest MEMU/EMU run
The longest running MEMU in terms of distance is the 63553/4 Asansol - Varanasi MEMU with a run of 481km. The 63557/58 Barkakana - Varanasi service with 453km is another long service.
In the past the longest running MEMU was 69155/56 Ratlam - Mathura MEMU with 593km, but that service has been split into two with a long layover at Kota.
Longest non-stop run (distance)
This refers to longest possible non-stop runs; of course a train may have to stop at a signal, there may be track work, loco or rake failures, etc.
(11/2021) The current record holders are several trains, including the 12431/32 Trivandrum - H. Nizamuddin Rajdhani. They travel the 528km stretch between Vadodara and Kota non-stop, covering the stretch anywhere 6.5 to 7.5 hours. In second place is the 12267/68 Mumbai Central to Rajkot Duronto, travelling the 491km Mumbai-Ahmedabad stretch non-stop in 5.5 hours.
Several trains also do the Bilaspur - Tatanagar (469km) and Kota - H. Nizamuddin (458km) stretches non-stop.
The table below shows the current long non-stop runs on IR.
|528km||Kota - Vadodara||12431/32 Rajdhani Exp., 22413/14 Rajdhani Exp., 12217/18 Kerala Sampark Kranti Exp., 12449/50 Goa Sampark Kranti Exp., 12907/08 Maharashtra Sampark Kranti Exp., 12483/84 Kochuveli - Amritsar Exp., 22659/60 Kochuveli - Rishikesh Exp.|
|491km||Mumbai Central - Ahmedabad||12267/68 Duronto Exp.|
|465km||New Delhi - Kota||12951/52 Rajdhani Exp., 22209/10 Duronto Exp.|
|460km||Bilaspur - Tatanagar||12261/62 Mumbai - Howrah Duronto Exp., 12221/22 Pune - Howrah Duronto Exp|
|457km||Hazrat Nizamuddin - Kota||Several trains including the 12431/32 Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Exp.|
|450km||Ballarshah - Vijayawada||Several trains including 12269/70 Chennai - Nizamuddin Duronto Exp. and the 12641/42 Thirukkural Exp. between Kanyakumari and Nizamuddin.|
|444km||Vasai Road - Ahmedabad||Ahmedabad - Pune Duronto Exp.|
|440km||New Delhi - Kanpur||Numerous trains including all the Rajdhani and Duronto Exp. heading to the East.|
|434km||Chennai Egmore - Vijayawada||12641/42 Thirukkural Exp. and 12651/52 Tamil Nadu Sampark Kranti Exp.|
|434km||Delhi Jn - Kanpur||12379/80 Jallianwala Bagh Exp. and 15705/06 Champaran Humsafar Exp.|
Historical Notes: 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 CSMT (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 Thull 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.
Longest non-stop run (time)
In terms of time taken, the 16548 KSR Bengaluru - Danapur Express runs non-stop for 7hrs 45min between Chennai Central and Vijayawada with no stop (technical or commercial). In second place is the 15227 Yesvantpur - Muzzaffarpur Weekly Express that has a non-stop 7hr 30m run between Perambur and Vijayawada. Rounding up the third place are the Thirukkural Exp. and Tamil Nadu Sampark Kranti Exp. which run with no stops for 7 hours and 5 minutes between Chennai Egmore and Vijaywada.
Longest distance between consecutive passenger halts
The 12275/76 New Delhi - Prayagraj Jn (Allahabad) Humsafar Express runs the 635km distance between the stations with no commercial stops (it stops at Tundla for a crew change). In next place is the 12213/14 Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Yeshwantpur Duronto Express which has a 594km run between Rani Kamalapati Station (Habibganj) and Ballarshah with no passenger halts (Nagpur is a crew change point). The 12293/94 Lokmanya Tilak - Prayagraj Duronto Express runs with no commercial halts between Bhusaval and Jabalpur (552km), with an Itarsi halt for crew change.
In the past, the 2393/2394 Sampoorna Kranti Exp and 2367/2368 Vikramshila Express ran for 992km without commercial halts between New Delhi and Patna. The 2819/2820 Orissa Sampark Kranti Express had a run of 900km between Kanpur and Tatanagar. The 2629/2630 Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express had no commercial halt on its 895km Pune-Bhopal run.
Trains with no commercial halts en route
The 12275/76 New Delhi - Prayagraj Jn (Allahabad) Humsafar Express runs 635km with no commercial stop.
Until recently, the 12451/52 Shram Shakti Express between Kanpur and New Delhi (440Km) ran with no stops, but it now halts at the suburb of Pankidham, 10km before Kanpur. When introduced the Sampoorna Kranti Exp. between New Delhi and Patna had no commercial halts. Some other trains that had no commercial halts when introduced are - Howrah Rajdhani, Bombay Rajdhani, Pragati Exp. (Dn. only), Pune Shatabdi.
Non-stop express trains (historical)
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 many halts. The New Delhi - Kanpur Shatabdi used to travel non-stop but it has since been extended to Lucknow and halts at a few stations.
The Tipu Express ran non-stop between Bangalore and Mysore, but now has a commercial halts. 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.
Churchgate - Mumbai Central (5km) on WR, Howrah-Belurmath (7km) on ER, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin (8km) on NR are some of the shortest scheduled train runs on IR. There were many more in the past, but these have been either been cancelled or extended to other places.
The expresses with the shortest runs are the expresses and mails between Kalka and Shimla (96km). The Amritsar - Pathankot Ravi Exp. (107km), the Danapur - Rajgir Intercity Exp. (108km) and the Firozpur Cantt. - Ludhiana Exp. (124km) are some of the others; ER's Howrah - Bolpur Shantiniketan Exp. runs for 147km. SR ran the Bangarpet-Bangalore Exp. (68km) until 2003 but it now runs until Jolarpettai, a total run of 141km.
Until November 2006 the 7665/7666 Parbhani-Purna Express would have qualified as the express with the shortest run as its total journey was only 44km, however, it was not an independent train by itself, but was in fact part of the Secunderabad Manmad Exp.; a portion of the latter train was detached at Parbhani and ran with its own name and number to Purna. Another contender, until gauge conversion of the section, was NR's Sarai Rohilla - Rewari Exp. (83km).
There are some very short spurs on IR's network; the shortest among them are Jasidih Jn. to Baidyanathdham (6km) and Hathras Jn. To Hathras Qilah (9km). There were a number of smaller spurs in the past (like between Jamalpur and Monghyr and Badnera to Amravati), but many have seen extensions to other places on IR's network.
Shortest distance between stations
After extensions to accommodate 12-car trains, the closest pair of stations might be Lake Gardens and Tollygunge on the Sealdah South - Budge Budge section of ER. The stations are about 150m apart. Safilguda and Dayanand Nagar stations on the Secunderabad - Bolarum section in Hyderabad division are also another pair. These stations are about 170m 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 (avg. speed)
The fastest long distance train on IR is the 22435/36 Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi. It averages 94.95km/hr over its 760km run.
In second place is the Hazrat Nizamuddin - Jhansi Gatimaan Exp. that averages 91.17km/hr on its runs. This train, along with the 12001/02 New Delhi - Rani Kamalapati Stn (Bhopal) have the highest maximum speed of any train on IR. Both run at 150km/h between Tughlakabad and Agra.
The table below lists the top ten fastest trains on IR in terms of average speed.
|Train No. and Name||Between||Avg. Speed (in km/hr)|
|22435/22436 Vande Bharat Exp.||New Delhi - Varanasi - New Delhi||94.95|
|12049/12050 Gatiman Exp.||Jhansi - Hazrat Nizamuddin - Jhansi||91.17|
|12034 Shatabdi Exp.||New Delhi - Kanpur||89.60|
|12951 Rajdhani Exp.||Mumbai Central - New Delhi||89.07|
|22221 Rajdhani Exp.||Mumbai CSMT - Hazrat Nizamuddin||86.12|
|12249 Yuva Exp.||Howrah - Anand Vihar||86.11|
|12302 Rajdhani Exp.||New Delhi - Howrah||85.18|
|12001 Shatabdi Exp.||Rani Kamalapati Stn (Bhopal) - New Delhi||83.98|
|12953 August Kranti Rajdhani Exp.||Mumbai Central - Hazrat Nizamuddin||83.16|
|12310 Rajdhani Exp.||New Delhi - Rajendranagar (Patna)||82.92|
Diesel locomotive hauled trains
(11/2021) Trains hauled by the WDP-4 class and its variants are regularly hauled at 130kmph in certain sections of WCR, NCR and NR. One such train is the Ernakulam - Ajmer Marusagar Express. The Thiruvananthapuram - H. Nizamuddin Rajdhani is hauled at 120kmph over KR and WR. However, with creeping electrification, fast diesel locomotive hauled trains are a rarity and it is expected that most of these will be converted to electric traction in the near future.
In the past, however, the Howrah Rajdhani was regularly hauled at speeds up to 130km/h by a WDM-4 loco. The Bangalore Rajdhani used to run at 120km/h on the Wadi-Guntakal-Bangalore stretch (WDM-3A, short hood leading). On KR, the Dadar-Madgaon Jan Shatabdi was the first train to cross the 110km/h bar - it actually touched 115km/h on its run.
Fastest MG train (historical)
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-1990s.
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. (09/2003) The Bolarum-Nizamabad Exp. was also among the fast MG express, covering 151km in 3h 35min for a commercial speed of 42km/h. The Cholan Express was another fast MG train, at about 38km/h. Other fast MG trains included the Tirupati-Tiruchirapalli and Madras-Rameswaram (formerly Boat Mail) trains.
Fastest NG train (historical)
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. In late 2018, trials of the new T-18 train set (later christened Vande Bharat Express) were conducted at 180km/h between Kota and Shamgarh on WCR. In August 2016, similar speeds were achieved on the Mathura - Palwal section of NCR by a WDP-4 hauling a Talgo train set that was sent to India for demonstration and trials.
In late 2002, NR ran some trials with a WDP-4 hauling a rake at 180km/h on the Ghaziabad-Tundla section. 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.
The previous record for the fastest train ever was set in 1988, when a WAP-5 was tested at speeds around 160km/h.
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 locomotive 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.
Longest diesel-hauled stretch
(12/2021) Now the longest diesel-hauled stretch is by the 22653/54 Thiruvananthapuram - Hazrat Nizamuddin Express which uses a single WDP-4D for its entire 2857km run. In second place is the 15933/34 New Tinsukia - Amritsar Express which runs with a Siliguri based WDP-4(or 4D) for its full run of 2811km.
Longest electric-hauled stretch
A single WAP-4 locomotive (usually from the Erode shed) hauls the 16317/16318 Kanniyakumari - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Himsagar Exp. its entire distance of 3789km, making it the longest continuous electric locomotive hauled run on IR.
Most locomotive changes
The 16321/22 Mysore - Mayiladuthurai Express is the train with the most locomotive changes. From Mysore to Bangalore: WAP-4 or WAP-7, from Bangalore to Erode: WDP-4D, Erode to Tiruchirapalli: WAP-4 and Tiruchirapalli to Mayiladuthurai: WAP-4.
There are couple of more trains with switch locomotives twice (not counting the one they start with). The Vasco-Da-Gama - Howrah Amaravati Exp. and the Kanyakumari - Dibrugarh Vivek Exp.
Until 2008, the 7229/7230 Hyderabad-Trivandrum Sabari Express used to have 5 locomotive changes. Hyderabad-Guntur was diesel. Guntur-Renigunta was electric. Renigunta-Jolarpettai (via Tirupati) was diesel. Jolarpettai-Ernakulam was electric and finally diesel for the Ernakulam-Trivandrum stretch.
Highest number of halts - Mail and Express trains
The 15909/15910 Avadh Assam Express between Dibrugarh and Lalgarh has the highest number of halts for any Mail/Express train on IR with 81. In second place 18230/18231 Chattisgarh Express between Korba and Amritsar with 80 halts
A list of Mail/Express trains with the highest number of halts is given below.
|Train No. and Name||Between||No. of Halts|
|15909/15910 Avadh Assam Exp.||Lalgarh - Dibrugarh - Lalgarh||81|
|18237/18238 Chattisgarh Exp.||Korba - Amritsar - Korba||80|
|13151/13152 Exp.||Kolkata - Jammu Tawi - Kolkata||77|
|13351/13352 Allepey Dhanbad Express||Allepey - Dhanbad - Allepey||76|
|11057/11058 Mumbai Amritsar Exp.||Mumbai CSMT - Amritsar - Mumbai CSMT||73|
|19037/19038 Avadh Exp.||Bandra Terminus - Barauni - Bandra Terminus||72|
|13009/13010 Doon Exp.||Howrah - Yog Nagari Rishikesh - Howrah||66|
|19019/19020 Exp.||Bandra Terminus - Haridwar - Bandra Terminus||65|
|16317/16318 Himsagar Exp.||Kanniyakumari - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi - Kanniyakumari||63|
|15017/15018 Kashi Exp.||Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Gorakhpur - Lokmanya Tilak Terminus||62|
Historical Note: Until was cancelled permanently as a service, the Howrah-Amritsar Exp. lead this category with 115 halts.
Superfast trains with most halts
Among Superfast trains (avg. speed of 55+ km/h), the 12521/22 Raptisagar Exp. between Barauni and Ernakulam has the highest number of halts – 58. Its close cousin the 12511/12 between Gorakhpur and Kochuveli, also called Raptisagar Exp., has 56 halts. Bringing up the third spot is another train from Thiruvananthapuram. The Aronai Exp. to Silchar has 55 halts.
Longest passenger train (number of coaches)
(12/2021) Many zones have begun to standardise the length of trains that operate using LHB coaches. Currently this number is 22 coaches. Many long distance Rajdhani and superfast expresses run using this composition.
Some trains that use the old integral coaches (ICF) have 24, but these are increasingly rare. A 22-coach LHB rake is roughly equivalent in length to a 24-coach ICF rake, with approximately the same passenger capacity.
In the past, 24-coaches (ICF) was the standard rake length, though 25 or 26 coaches were occasionally seen during holiday rushes or when additional coaches needed to be attached for VIPs or railway staff.
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.
Of non mail/express passenger trains today, the Vishwabharati Fast Passenger regularly runs with 18 LHB coaches. In the past, this train used to run with 20-22 coaches. The Suvrana Fast Passenger (Bangalore - Marikuppam) used to run with 18-coaches before it began using a MEMU for its run (now it has 16 coaches). The Mumbai-Valsad Fast Passenger also runs with 17 or 18 coaches. No. 71 Sonepur - Allahabad Fast Passenger used to run with 18 coaches.
On MG, trains such as the Pandian Exp. ran with 22 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.
Shortest train (number of coaches)
(12/2021) WR runs a two-coach passenger train on its NG Kosamba-Umarpada section. This train, hauled by a ZDM-3 locomotive is IR's shortest, regularly time-tabled service.
Until 2001, SER used to have 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. 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). In the early 2000s, 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.
Trains halting at the same station twice
Officially, the 18005/18006 Howrah-Jagdalpur Samaleshwari Express halts at Singapur Rd. only once, but unofficially the train stops at the station twice. Coming from Howrah via Sambalpur and Titlagarh, the train halts at Singapur Rd (officially), and then proceeds to Rayagada where it reverses. It returns to Singapur Rd (halts unofficially) and then finally makes it way to Jagdalpur.
Similarly, the 11013/11014 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Coimbatore Express has only one halt at Bangalore Cantonment in its official schedule, but in practice the train halts twice because it needs to traverse the Baiyyappanahalli - Bangalore City (where it reverses) section twice, it halts at Cantonment in both directions.
In the past the 6351/6352 Mumbai CST-Nagercoil Exp. halted at Renigunta, then proceeded to Tirupati where it had a 105-min halt, reversed direction and returned to Renigunta for another halt (20 minutes) and reversed direction yet again to proceed to Nagercoil via Arakkonam. This was 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 7089/7090 Varanasi- Cochin Express used to do the same thing. 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.
Most direction reversals
The 20813/14 Puri - Jodhpur Express reverses 4 times on its journey - Sambalpur, Nagpur, Nagda and Sawai Madhopur. In this past when it was numbered 18473/74 and running upto Jaipur, this train also reversed at Jharsuguda, but it now uses a bypass for that station.
Also in the past, the 18507/18508 Vishkapatnam-Amritsar Hirakud Express used to reverse 5 times (Talcher, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Katni and Bina), but its current avatar has been made super fast and skips or takes bypasses. It now reverses only twice.
Trains with different compositions in different directions
There are no such cases on IR anymore, but in the past the Hussain Sagar Exp. 2701/2702, and the 7031/7032 Express shared rakes in an interesting way. The 2701 (CSMT - Hyderabad) train had a composite First/Second AC coach, but on the return journey it did not have 1AC accommodation, using the rake from the other train. Similarly the 7032 (Hyderabad - CSTM) carrried a First/Second AC coach, but the 7031 did not because it got the rake from the 7002.
Trains with different routes on different gauges
In the late 90s and early 2000's, there were a few trains that used different routes between their end-points on MG and BG. The Venkatadri Exp. to Tirupati existed in both MG and BG incarnations for quite a while; the MG train used to go on the Guntakal - Dharmavaram - Pakala route while the BG version took the Guntakal - Gooty - Renigunta route.
Trains with more than one gauge change
No such trains exist now, but in the recent past (early 2000s), the Secunderabad-Jaipur Express ran 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
With recent policy changes regarding shunting and detention of trains at stations, IR doesn't run services like this anymore. But until recently, the Rupasi Bangla Express (Howrah-Purulia) and the Dhauli Express had the same schedule between Howrah and Kharagpur. The two trains actually ran combined on this section, with the Dhauli Exp. forming the front of the rake. The trains were separated at Kharagpur where the Dhauli Exp. left after a 2-minute halt while the Rupasi Bangla continued on to Purulia after nearly a half-hour halt.
The trains did not combine and split in this manner in the reverse direction, probably the only such case in IR. For a while curiously, Dhauli was classified as a superfast while the Rupasi Bangla was not, so that the fare payable was different for different parts of the same rake, for the section of route on which the trains ran combined (the rake was through vestibuled, so one could move from one train to the other on the run). Now both the trains are classified as a superfast.
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 Chennai - Mangalore Mail has been running in various guises since 1862, similarly the Bangalore - Chennai Mail has been since 1864. 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.
There's only one Passenger (i.e., not Express or Mail) that provides air-conditioned accommodation: the Vishwabharati Fast Passenger between Howrah and Rampurhat. It has a pair of AC Chair Car coaches.
In the past, WR's 241/242 Mumbai-Ahmedabad Passenger, SER's 315/316 Howrah-Chakradharpur Passenger and NWR's 1761/1762 Kota-Jaipur Passenger had various classes of AC accommodation including First Class AC coaches.
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 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla) and Manmad.
The current Mandovi Express running on KR between Mumbai (CSMT) 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
In the past the 12395/12396 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 started 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.
Now however, the train is called Ziyarat Express in both directions.
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.
Same train in opposite directions at the same time
There are a few cases of the same train service running in opposite directions being at the same station at the same time. The 12779 Vasco-da-Gama - H. Nizamuddin Goa Express meets its 12780 counterpart at Miraj. Both trains have the same arrival and departure times of 22:35/22:40.
Another case is of the 12137/38 Mumbai CST - Firozpur Punjab Mail. The Firozpur bound train and the Mumbai bound train arrive and depart at Chalisgaon at exactly the same time - 01:03/01:05.
Yet another case is of the 11057/58 Mumbai CST - Amritsar Exp. 11058 coming to Mumbai has the same timings at Dadar as the 11057 heading to Amritsar - 23:37/23:40.
In the past, during the monsoon schedule in 2006, the 6345 LTT-TVC Netravati Express and the 6346 TVC-LTT Netravati Express met each other at Bhatkal (BTKL). Both trains arrived and departed at identical times, 0255 and 0257.
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 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.
Stations, Bridges, Tunnels
Shortest station name
Ib, near Jharsuguda on the Howrah-Nagpur main line (South Eastern Railway) and Od , on the Anand-Godhra section of WR are the so far the shortest names on IR. 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 some timetables.)
Longest station name
When Chennai Central (MAS) was renamed Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M.G. Ramachandran Central Railway Station in 2019, it became the longest name for any railway station in India and the second longest in the world.
However, SriVenkatanarasimharajuvariipeta H. (VKZ), on the Arakkonam-Renigunta section of the Southern Railway which once had the distinction of having the longest station name in IR, still remains the longest station name that is not named after persons of note.
(Shri) Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus Kolhapur, Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Bengaluru, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Gomoh, Maraimalai Nagar - Kamaraj are some stations named after leaders that have long names.
A few other stations with long names are Indragarh Sumerganj Mandi (on the Kota - Sawai Madhopur line), Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam, Tiruchchirapalli Palakarai (near Tiruchchirapalli Jn.), Acharya Narendra Dev Nagar (near Faizabad), Baba Bakala Raiya (on the Jalandhar - Amritsar section, Hagaribommanahalli (on Amaravathi Colony - Vyasa Colony - Hospet) 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 as 'Narain Pakuria Murai').
The shortest are the following single-letter codes:
G - Gondia Jn
D - Deula (on the Sealdah - Diamond Harbour section)
J - Jalna
R - Raipur
S - Srirangapatna
Y - Yeliyur
In the past, there was only one station to officially have a 5-letter code, NDBRT for New Dibrugarh Town although even sometimes GONDA was used for Gonda Junction despite a shorter code, GD, was in practice. WARUD is used as a code for Warud station in CR (Nagpur Division) in the working timetables.
There are many 4-letter codes out of which many are those 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.
Additionally in recent years the codes for some of these stations with 3- and 4-letter names were changed so as to match it with their 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 websites, 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 for real.
Northernmost railway station
Sopore, on the Kashmir valley line from Jammu to Baramulla. However, Sopore is not yet connected to the rest of IR's network. The northernmost station connected to the network is Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra.
The northernmost station in the Indian subcontinent is Dargai in the NWFP, Pakistan, on a branch line from Nowshera.
Naliya, on the branch line from Bhuj (traffic is currently suspended because of gauge conversion). The westernmost operational station though is Varvala, slightly to the west of its more well-known neighbour Dwarka, on the Rajkot - Okha line.
The westernmost station on the subcontinent is Kuh-i-Taftan on the Iran-Pakistan border, on the Quetta-Zahidan line.
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. 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 now Hillar Shahabad, at 1755m (5757'), on the Banihal - Baramulla section of the Kashmir valley line. Other stations on the Kashmir valley line are also in the top list for highest stations: Qazigund (1722m - 5649'), Banihal (1703m - 5587'). Prior to the construction of the Kashmir valley line, Shimliguda at 998m (3272') was the highest station. This station is on the Visakhapatnam - Kirandul line (SER).
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.)
Note: Other high BG stations – 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')).
“T-80” Pir Panjal Tunnel between Banihal and Qazigund on the Kashmir valley line at 11.22km is the longest. The Sangaldan Tunnel at 7.1km on the Banihal - Katra section of the same line is the second longest (though no trains are operational in this stretch yet). The third longest is the 6.64km Rapuru Tunnel (T-2) on the line from Obulavaripalli to Krishnapatnam Port (this line is used by freight exclusively).
The previous record holder was Karbude tunnel on the Konkan Railway and is 6.5km long. It is between Bhoke and Ukshi. Outside Kashmir and the Konkan regions, the longest tunnel is the Maliguda Tunnel (4.44km) between Jeypore and Maliguda on the Kottavalasa - Kirandul line.
On NG, the Barog tunnel, about 1.5km on the Kalka-Simla line is the longest.
At 4.94km, the Bogibeel Bridge (rail & road) connecting Dibrugarh and New Sisiborgaon (on the north bank of the Brahmaputra) is the longest bridge on IR. The previous record holder was a bridge linking the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam with Edapally in the Kochi backwaters at 4.62km. The Nehru Setu bridge near Dehri on the river Sone (3.065km, 93 spans, each 30.5m), the Narnarayan Setu bridge over the Brahmaputra at Jogighopa linking it to Pancharatna (in Assam, 2.3km) are some other long bridges.
At 359 metres above the floor, when thrown open for traffic, the steel and concrete arch bridge over the River Chenab between Bakkal and Kauri on the Kashmir valley line will be the tallest on IR (and the tallest railway bridge in the world!).
When completed, the Anji Khad bridge a few kilometres before on the same line would be the second tallest. This cable stayed bridge would be 196 meters above the valley floor.
If pier height is considered, the upcoming bridge across the Noney Valley on the Jiribham - Imphal line would be the tallest at 141 metres. Currently, the Gambhir Khad bridge between Jammu and Udhampur at 77m is the tallest operational bridge on IR. Until about 2006, the bridge on the Panval river (Konkan Railway, Ratnagiri district) was the tallest. This 420m-long bridge was the first one built in India using the incremental launching technique and is 64m tall.
This is to be found at Hubbali Jn, at 1,505m. In fact, this is the longest railway platform in the world. Gorakhpur (1,366m), Kollam (1,180m) and Kharagpur (1,072m) have some of the longest platforms on IR (or anywhere else in the world)!
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.)
A station inside a station On the Delhi-Kanpur route at the Hathras Junction station, one can observe the a line crossing the main BG line at right angles in the same premises. However the station on this line is called Hathras Road even though it is inside the yard of Hathras Junction. To make things more complicated, the town of Hathras is nowhere near Hathras Junction. (Furthermore, there is also a Hathras City stn 9km west of Hathras Rd, and a Hathras Qila 10km south of Hathras Jn.)
Intersecting lines with no cross-overs The above example of Hathras has two BG lines crossing without any facilities for transshipment, sharing of station facilities, etc. The Mal Bazar to Changrabandha branch and the New Jalpaiguri - New Bongaigaon main 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.
Two gauges of track with a station for only one of them Until about 2000, on the Delhi-Madras route, 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. With gauge conversion, Chanda Fort has a BG station now and connects to Ballarshah.
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.
Non-terminal reversing stations Phulad on the Mawli-Marwar section and Lalit Gram on the Saharsa - Forbesganj section are non-terminating stations but the tracks are arranged such that a reversal is required for all trains.
Stations where more than one train is at a platform At New Delhi, a couple of the shorter morning departure Shatabdi trains are routinely accommodated on the same platform. At Kharagpur, platforms 1 and 3 are contiguous (these together form one of the world's longest platforms, see above), as are 2 and 4. Until recently (prior to gauge conversion), Tiruvavur Jn. in 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.
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. Siliguri Jn. (SGUJ) on the NFR holds the distinction of having three different gauges present. On the BG, lines go towards New Jalpaiguri and New Mal Jn; on MG, a line to Bagdogra exists, though no commercial services have run for a number of years; on the NG, it is occasionally the starting point of services to Darjeeling on the DHR.
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 had an MG section towards Siliguri. This station has a huge marshalling yard and also some special IndianOil and FCI sidings. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway technically originates from here.
Construction work began in 2000 on the New Jalpaiguri - New Bongaigaon MG to BG conversion. When this was completed, 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).
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 the late 1960s 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.
Ujjain in the past also had three gauges: MG line from Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj; the Bhopal--Nagda electrified BG main line and another BG 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?
(11/2021) Mathura is a junction with 7 routes originating from it:
- BG line to Agra Cantt.
- BG line to Bharatpur
- BG line to Delhi
- BG line to Achnera
- BG line to Alwar
- BG line to Hathras
- MG line Vrindavan
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
Rewari has 6 lines: from Delhi, Bhiwani, Loharu, Ringas, Alwar and Rohtak via Jhajjar.
- Guntakal has lines from Wadi, Renigunta, Bellary, Dharmavaram, and Dronachellam.
- Sabarmati has lines from Ahmedabad, from Mahesana via Kali Road, from Botad via Kali Road, a line from Viramgam via Chandlodiya, and 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.)
- Katni has lines from Jabalpur, Satna, Bina, Singrauli and Bilaspur.
- Varanasi has lines from Janghai, Allahabad (via Madhosingh), Zafarabad, Mughalsarai, and Aunrihar.
- Dabhoi was the biggest junction on NG, with 5 routes.
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 trains 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. 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).