Grand Trunk Express

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புது டெல்லி-சென்னை சென்ட்ரல் கிராண்ட் டிரங்க் அதிவேக விரைவு வண்டி
G.T Express Trainboard 1.jpg
Service typeSuperfast Express
First service1 April 1929; 90 years ago (1929-04-01)
Current operator(s)Southern Railway zone
StartChennai Central
Stops40 (T.No.12615) / 39 (T.No. 12616)
EndNew Delhi
Distance travelled2,181 km (1,355 mi)
Average journey time35 hours 15 minutes
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)12615 / 12616
On-board services
Class(es)AC First, AC Two Tier, AC Three Tier, Sleeper Class, Unreserved
Seating arrangementsYes
Sleeping arrangementsYes
Catering facilitiesYes
Observation facilitiesLarge and Small windows
Baggage facilitiesLuggage-cum-Brake Van
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Operating speed61.78 km/h (38.39 mph) average with halts
Route map
Grand Trunk Express and Tamil Nadu Express (NDLS-MAS) Route map.jpg

The Grand Trunk Express, (commonly called G.T. or G.T. Express), (Train Number: 12615/12616) is a daily superfast express train on Indian Railways, running between New Delhi and Chennai Central. It is a historic train and is one of the oldest trains starting services in 1929. It originally ran between Peshawar in Pakistan (then capital of the North West Frontier Province) and Mangalore Central in Karnataka (then in the Madras Presidency).[citation needed]


For most of the 19th century, the main railway route from Madras to Calcutta and Delhi was through Bombay. The Madras-Bombay mail train carried through carriages between Madras and Manmad which were detached at Daund. Passengers would then transfer to the Great Indian Peninsular Railway's Calcutta mail at Manmad to proceed to the northern and the eastern parts of the country. The East Coast line between Madras and Calcutta opened in 1900, providing a shorter route for the passengers bound to Calcutta, but the passengers bound to Delhi, Lahore and other major cities in the north, continued to rely on the Madras-Manmad mail service.

A record in through train running was set in 1921 by a military train conveying families of a regiment from Peshawar to Cannanore (now Kannur in Kerala). The journey represented a continuous run of over 2500 miles over the North Western Railway (British India), Great Indian Peninsular Railway, Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway and the South Indian Railway.[1] Following this record journey, interest in a shorter through route between Madras and Delhi was rekindled and the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway hastened the construction of the missing rail link between Kazipet and Balharshah. The link was opened throughout on 15 November 1928 with the commissioning of the Komaram Bheem Road - Balharshah section.[2] This link reduced the distance between Madras and Delhi by over 200 miles.

From 1 April 1929 the 'Grand Trunk' express commenced operating as two through carriages running between Peshawar in the North Western Railway (British India) and Mangalore in the South Indian Railway.[3] The two coaches, consisting of a composite First and Second class coach and a composite Third class and Luggage coach, made their way to Madras attached to the South Indian Railway's Mangalore-Madras mail train. Between Madras and Itarsi sectional coaches to Itarsi, Bezwada (now Vijayawada) and Hyderabad were operated. At Itarsi, the two through coaches from Mangalore were attached to the Great Indian Peninsular Railway's Bombay-Delhi service. In the final leg of the journey between Delhi and Peshawar, the two through carriages were attached to the Frontier mail and reached Peshawar traveling through Bathinda, Ferozepore and Lahore. Thus the train covered a distance of 2497 miles in a little over 96 hours. This was not an independent train and the name 'Grand Trunk express' only referred to the 2 through carriages operating between Mangalore and Peshawar.[4]

Shortly after the inauguration of the service, from 15 October 1929, the two through carriages operating between Mangalore and Peshawar were restricted to run between Mettupalayam and Delhi. From 1 March 1930, the service was extended to Lahore.[5][6]

As the train consisted of only 2 through coaches, it proved insufficient to meet the traffic requirements. In addition, the train's schedule depended on the schedules of the trains carrying the through carriages, and was thus subject to regular delays. This led to a revision in the operation of the train and the revamped 'Grand Trunk express' commenced operating as a dedicated daily train between Madras and Delhi from 1 September 1930.[7] The rakes used for the train were supplied by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway for the next few years.

Until the mid 1960s, the Grand Trunk express completed the 1360 mile journey between Madras and New Delhi in about 50 hours. After the introduction of the Dakshin Express in 1968, the Grand trunk express was moved to a faster schedule. For a few years after the change in schedule, the train operated as a fully air-conditioned service for two days every week and with a mixed consist on the remaining 5 days. In time, the air-conditioned service was discontinued. Today, the train covers the 2183 kilometer journey in 35 hours and 15 minutes, with 40 halts (exclusive of the terminals) at an average speed of 62kmph.

From 10 December 2015, the train started terminating at Delhi Sarai Rohilla instead of New Delhi.[8] From 12 May 2018, the terminal was reverted to New Delhi.[9]

Schedule and Service[edit]

The train passes through the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.[citation needed]

As per the numbering of the Indian Railways, the train has been assigned the numbers 12615/12616, with 12615 being assigned for the Chennai Central (MAS) - New Delhi (NDLS) run and 12616 for the New Delhi (NDLS) - Chennai Central (MAS) run.[citation needed]

The normal composition of the GT is 24 coaches (cars) of the following classes ("AC" indicates air conditioned coach):1 AC I Class cum AC II tier, 2 AC II tier, 3 AC III tier, 13 III tier Sleeper, 4 General/Unreserved and 1 Pantry car.[citation needed]

Loco Link[edit]

It is hauled by varied loco links like WAP7s and WAP4s from Royapuram Shed, WAP4s from Erode and Arakkonam Sheds, and on rare occasions, also gets hauled by locomotives from its non-home sheds (i.e. loco sheds of railway zones other than Southern Railway) like WAP7s from Tughlakabad, WAP4s from Itarsi, Lallaguda and Vijayawada loco sheds.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Locomotive Railway Carriage and Wagon Review, Volume: XXVII.-January-December, 1921. 3, Amen Corner, Paternoster row, E.C.4: The Locomotive Publishing Company, Limited. 1921. p. 5.
  2. ^ "III". Report by the Railway board on Indian Railways for 1928-29:Volume I. Calcutta: Central Publication Branch, Government of India. 1930. p. 28.
  3. ^ "VIII". Report by the Railway board on Indian Railways for 1929-30:Volume I. Calcutta: Central Publication Branch, Government of India. 1930. p. 71.
  4. ^ The Railway Magazine:Volume 64. IPC Business Press. 1929. p. 490.
  5. ^ "VIII". Report by the Railway board on Indian Railways for 1929-30:Volume I. Calcutta: Central Publication Branch, Government of India. 1930. p. 71.
  6. ^ S. Shankar. "Classic Trains of India". Indian Railways Fan Club Association. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  7. ^ "IV". Report by the Railway board on Indian Railways for 1930-31:Volume I. Calcutta: Central Publication Branch, Government of India. 1932. p. 36.
  8. ^ "Grand Trunk Express train to be operated from Delhi Sarai Rohilla railway station". Times of India. Chennai. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Indian Railway shifts terminals of 18 trains". Times of India. 21 May 2018.

External links[edit]