Express trains in India

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Indian locomotive class WAP-5 hauling the second-fastest train of India, Bhopal Shatabdi Express, to New Delhi
Indian Railways Rajdhani/Shatabdi Lines[1]

Mail/Express trains are Regular Express rail services of India. Express trains make a small number of stops, unlike Passenger/Local trains. In some cases, trains run express where there is overlapping local train service available, and run local at the tail ends of the line, where there is no supplemental local service. Because of their limited stops, these trains are able to obtain the highest speeds of any trains in India.

An express train is one where the average speed, excluding halts, is greater than 36 km/h. Including halts the speed may sometimes fall into the region of around 20 km/h for express trains.

The Duronto Express trains introduced in 2009 (which run between major cities without any intermediate halts) are projected to be the fastest trains in India when new services are introduced with a higher speed limit of 120–130 km/h. Despite being limited to a lower speed limit, they take as much time as a Rajdhani or Shatabdi on the same route, courtesy the non-stop nature of their journey. Rajdhani Express which was introduced in 1969 to connect New Delhi with the state capitals in India, travels at speeds up to 130 km/h.

Non reserved travelling on Express trains[edit]

Indian railways run non-reserved train as have unreserved/general compartment on Express/Mail trains.

Non reserved trains

Indian railways run non reserved trains under the brand Jan Sadharan Express. These trains have all Unreserved/General coaches. A new series of Antyodaya Express is also proposed in rail budget 2016 - 2017 which will operate on peak routes having more rush. These trains will have all non reserved coaches.

The following Jan Sadharan Express run in India:

  1. 13257/13258 - Rajendranagar Anand Vihar Jan Sadharan Express (Daily)
  2. 12597/12598 - Gorakhpur Mumbai Jan Sadharan Express (Weekly)
  3. 15101/15102 - Tirora - Mumbai (Weekly)
  4. 13257/13258 - Danapur - Anand Vihar (Delhi) (Daily)
  5. 15559/15560 - Darbhanga - Ahmedabad (Weekly)
  6. 15269/15270 - Muzaffarpur - Ahmedabad (Monthly- Twice)

The following trains are proposed under Antyodaya brand:[2]

Unreserved coaches

Apart from Antyodaya and Jan Sadharan trains, unreserved/general coaches are non reserved coaches on normal Express / Mail. The restriction on such coaches is for 24 hours journey. A new series of Deen Dayalu coaches has also been proposed in rail budget 2016 - 2017 for long distance trains. The Deen Dayalu coaches will be more comfortable than the old coaches


Like elsewhere, railways in India compete with air travel and road transport. The advantages of travelling by air between cities are the greater frequency of flights, and shorter travel time. Rail travel, with few exceptions (if any), offers lower cost.

Rail transport also faces competition from the use of roads improved under National Highways Development Project. People owning cars can, for short distances, benefit in terms of shorter travel time, given the lack of commute to and from a railway station at both ends of a journey. This is also balanced against the need to maintain one's vehicle and its security during such trips.


Duronto, Shatabdi, and Rajdhani trains run on Indian broad-gauge which is 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm). These tracks are multi-purpose supporting all passenger and freight traffic, and are not made exclusively for lighter load fast-express passenger trains. They run on tracks with classifications Group A, permitting speed up to 160 km/h, and Group B for speed up to 130 km/h. Lower speed limits apply when they are on tracks or railway switches, which have lower speed limits. The design of the railway switches, with a speed limit of 50–90 km/h, is the major bottleneck to higher speed.[3] Another constraint is the need to accommodate freight trains at the current top speed of 70 km/h.[4] These constraints to speed are consequences of sharing tracks with freight and lower speed suburban passenger trains. But currently, as of 2010, a separate freight corridor construction work is in progress with land acquisitions and other hurdles being slowly overcome.


Duronto, Shatabdi, and Rajdhani trains are hauled by powerful electric locomotives built by the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, such as WAP-4, WAP-5, or WAP-7, each with an output of more than 5,000 hp.


The coaches in these trains are of crash-worthy design from Alstom-LHB, built by Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala.[5][6] These Alstom-LHB coaches can be pulled to a speed of 160 km/h without any modification.[7] New fast-express coaches are made partly or completely of stainless steel, primarily motivated by lower maintenance, and higher availability. Stainless steel construction also reduces empty weight, enabling more passengers per coach.[8] The bogies, design from Fiat, has 2 disk brakes per axle[7] essential for safe operations especially at the speed of fast-express trains.


The average speed of super-fast trains, range from 55 kilometres per hour (34 mph) to 112 kilometres per hour (70 mph). Of this, counting up and down trains separately, 23 trains have an average speed more than 80 km/h, whereas, 72 trains have an average speed between 70 and 80 km/h. The speed of express trains is calculated from the latest Indian Railways Time-Table.

Regular unbranded express trains on the same route are only slightly slower, since the same locomotives haul them.



Frequent stops reduce the average running speed of a train greatly by preventing it from gaining higher speed. Duronto, Shatabdi, and Rajdhani express trains have very few stops. The distance between stops is as short as 2 km between New Bongaigaon-Bongaigaon on the Howrah-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express, and as long as 528 km between Vadodara-Kota on the Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chauhan, Arvind (6 June 2015). "India's fastest train completes final test run in record time". Times of India. 
  2. ^ "Routes and Timetables of New Tejas, Uday, Humsafar and Antyodaya Trains". 24 Coaches. 29 September 2016. 
  3. ^ "High Speed – T.R.Natarajan, Indian Railways". Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Government of India Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) (December 2009). "Indian Railways 2020 Vision" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Verma, Lalmani (25 January 2010). "To make fast-express trains safe, new design of coach on anvil". Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Rlys may raise stainless steel coach production". BusinessLine. 22 June 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "Synopsis of Papers Presented in Seminar on 'LHB Coach and New Manufacturing Technologies' Held at RCF, Kapurthala on 4th and 5th November 2003" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Gopal, Ramesh R. "Stainless Steel in Rail Transportation: The Scenario in India" (PDF). Indian Stainless Steel Development Association. Retrieved 11 March 2013.