Chugging Through India: Experiencing the Diversity of the Country on its Iconic Train Journeys

Chugging Through India: Experiencing the Diversity of the Country on its Iconic Train Journeys

Train journeys in India offer an unparalleled experience for travellers looking to explore the vast and diverse country. From the luxurious palace on wheels to the rustic toy trains, the Indian Railways offers a range of options for everyone.

One of the most iconic train journeys in India is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the toy train. This narrow-gauge railway runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas. The train passes through numerous bridges, tunnels, and loops, including the famous Batasia Loop that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

The Ooty Toy Train, officially known as the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, is a famous train ride in India. The train travels through the beautiful Nilgiri Hills in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The train ride is approximately 46 km long, and it passes through numerous tunnels, bridges, and curves. The journey starts from Mettupalayam and takes passengers through Coonoor before reaching the hill station of Ooty. The Ooty Toy Train is an important part of the region's heritage, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another popular train journey is the Konkan Railway, which runs along the scenic west coast of India. The train passes through lush green forests, waterfalls, and picturesque villages, offering a glimpse into the rural life of India. The journey also offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea, especially during sunset.

For those looking for a luxurious train journey, the Palace on Wheels is the perfect option. This train takes travellers on a journey through the royal and cultural heritage of Rajasthan, visiting cities like Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, and Agra. The train offers luxurious cabins, gourmet meals, and a range of amenities that make the journey an unforgettable experience.

Apart from these, the Indian Railways offers a range of other train journeys, each with its own unique charm. The Kalka-Shimla Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Matheran Hill Railway are just a few examples of the numerous train journeys that offer a glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural diversity of India.

In addition to being a great way to explore the country, train journeys in India also offer a sustainable mode of travel. The Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world and has taken several steps towards reducing its carbon footprint. The introduction of solar-powered trains, the use of bio-toilets, and the adoption of renewable energy sources are just a few of the measures taken by the Indian Railways towards sustainable travel.

Booking train tickets in India can be done through various ways. The most common way is to visit the official website of the Indian Railways, which is Here, you can create an account and book tickets online. You can also book tickets through the IRCTC mobile app or by visiting the railway station directly. Another way to book tickets is through third-party travel agencies or websites that offer train ticket booking services. It is important to note that train tickets in India can sell out quickly, especially during peak travel seasons, so it is best to book in advance to ensure availability.

Tatkal is a scheme introduced by the Indian Railways for the convenience of the passengers who have to undertake a train journey at short notice. The Tatkal booking facility allows passengers to book their train tickets just one day in advance of their travel date. The Tatkal quota is available for all classes of travel, including sleeper, AC 3-tier, AC 2-tier, and Executive class. However, the Tatkal booking facility comes with an additional charge, which is over and above the regular ticket fare. The Tatkal charges are fixed at 10% of the basic fare for second class and 30% of the basic fare for all other classes.

Vande Bharat Express, also known as Train 18, is a semi-high speed intercity electric multiple unit (EMU) train operated by Indian Railways. It was designed and built entirely in India by Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai under the "Make in India" initiative. The train runs between New Delhi and Varanasi, covering a distance of 755 km in about 8 hours at a maximum speed of 160 km/h. The train has state-of-the-art features like automatic doors, GPS-based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard Wi-Fi, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, and more. It is also equipped with CCTV cameras and smoke detectors for enhanced safety and security.

Indian Railway have introduced many new routes for Vande Bharat Express. Here’s the full list and schedule:


Train Name

Train number

Source station

Destination Station


Travel time


New Delhi - Varanasi Vande Bharat Express


New Delhi

Varanasi Junction

759 km (472 mi)

08h 00m


New Delhi - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Vande Bharat Express


New Delhi

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra

655 km (407 mi)

08h 00m


Mumbai Central - Gandhinagar Capital Vande Bharat Express


Mumbai Central

Gandhinagar Capital

522 km (324 mi)

06h 25m


New Delhi - Amb Andaura Vande Bharat Express


New Delhi

Amb Andaura

412 km (256 mi)

05h 15m


MGR Chennai Central - Mysuru Vande Bharat Express


MGR Chennai Central

Mysuru Junction

496 km (308 mi)

06h 30m


Bilaspur - Nagpur Vande Bharat Express


Bilaspur Junction

Nagpur Junction

412 km (256 mi)

05h 30m


Howrah - New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express


Howrah Junction

New Jalpaiguri Junction

565 km (351 mi)

07h 30m


Visakhapatnam - Secunderabad Vande Bharat Express


Visakhapatnam Junction

Secunderabad Junction

698 km (434 mi)

08h 30m


Mumbai CSMT - Solapur Vande Bharat Express


Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus


452 km (281 mi)

06h 30m


Mumbai CSMT - Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat Express


Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus

Sainagar Shirdi

339 km (211 mi)

05h 20m


Rani Kamalapati (Habibganj) - Hazrat Nizamuddin Vande Bharat Express


Rani Kamalapati

Hazrat Nizamuddin

702 km (436 mi)

07h 30m 


Secunderabad - Tirupati Vande Bharat Express


Secunderabad Junction


661 km (411 mi)

08h 30m


MGR Chennai Central - Coimbatore Vande Bharat Express[129]


MGR Chennai Central

Coimbatore Junction

495 km (308 mi)

05h 50m


Delhi Cantonment - Ajmer Vande Bharat Express


Delhi Cantonment

Ajmer Junction

428 km (266 mi)

05h 15m


Thiruvananthapuram - Kasaragod Vande Bharat Express


Thiruvananthapuram Central


587 km (365 mi)

08h 05m


Howrah - Puri Vande Bharat Express[136][137]



Howrah Junction


500 km (310 mi)

06h 30m


New Jalpaiguri - Guwahati Vande Bharat Express



New Jalpaiguri Junction


407 km (253 mi)

06h 15m


Patna - Ranchi Vande Bharat Express [141]


Patna Junction

Ranchi Junction




Howrah - Ranchi Vande Bharat Express


Howrah Junction

Ranchi Junction




Secunderabad - Yesvantpur Vande Bharat Express [143]

20703/20704 (TBC)

Secunderabad Jn

Yesvantpur Jn

Overall, train journeys in India offer a unique way to experience the country and its diverse culture. With its scenic routes, luxurious options, and sustainable practices, train travel is a must-try for anyone visiting India.

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