Indian Railways plays a massively important role in contemporary India society both as a form of transport, transporting hundreds of millions of people every year, and an employer, with a full time work force of over 1.2 million people. If you want really want to experience India you need to travel on an Indian train.
About India Trains
In terms of the length of passenger train track, India has the fourth largest railway network in the world after the USA, China and Russia. Over 60% of the track is now electrified with ambitions to electrify the remaining 40% over the next few year years. A wide variety of different types of train services operate on India’s railway network from very basic standard passenger trains where seat reservations are not available to luxury tour trains taking visitors around major tourist attractions for relatively high ticket prices. There is a lot of choice offered by the Indian Railway Network to suit all budgets and all preferences, which whilst beneficial to the travelling public creates confusion for visitors to India. Depending on the train you take the journey time can more than double if you take ta slower train. In the same way, if you pick the wrong seat type what should be a pleasurable journey enjoying the magnificent scenery can become a oppressive experience stuck in hot cramped conditions.
To make sure that you enjoy your train travel in India we recommend booking the most expensive seat types in advance online through ticketing agent 12Go. For shorter journeys try to book an AC Executive Chair or AC Chair class seat, which are both similar to type of seat you find on an airplane but wider and with more leg room. For overnight journeys we recommend booking an Air-conditioned first class sleeper berth (AC1).
Popular Train Journeys in India
India is a very large country with lots of places of interest to visit. You could spend several years travelling around India before you run out of new and exciting places to visit. Most of the country is connected to the railway network with the exception of some of the more mountainous regions such as those in Kashmir. There are some destinations, and some train journeys, which are more popular than others and first time visitors to India tend to prefer to see these first before going to try out lesser visited destinations.
Amongst the most popular train journeys in India are:
- Delhi to Agra: Agra is the location of the Taj Mahal, India’s most famous tourist attraction, and if you take the right train you can get there by train from Delhi in under 2 hours.
- Delhi to Chennai: This is one of the longer train journeys in India taking from 32 to 35 hours. Passengers travel nearly the length of India to the capital city of exciting Tamil Nadu state which is notable for its amazing temples and fantastic beaches.
- Kalka to Shimla: A 5 to 6 hour journey ascending 1,419 metres to Shimla. The railway was built during the time when India was a British colony. During the hotter months of the year the British government of India moved to Shimla where the climate was cooler and the railway was built to make it faster to get there.