Howrah Rajdhani Express

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Howrah Rajdhani Express
হাওড়া রাজধানী এক্সপ্রেস
हावड़ा राजधानी एक्सप्रेस
Howrah Rajdhani Express.jpg
Howrah Rajdhani Express signboard outside of the compartment
Service typeRajdhani Express
LocaleDelhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal
First service3 March 1969; 50 years ago (3 March 1969)[1]
Current operator(s)Eastern Railways
StartNew Delhi (NDLS)
EndHowrah Junction (HWH)
Distance travelled1,451 km (902 mi) (via Gaya Junction)
1,530 km (950 mi) (via Patna Junction)
Average journey time17 hrs 10 mins (for 12301)
16 hrs 55 mins (for 12302)
19hrs 55 mins (for 12305)
19 hrs 20 mins (for 12306)[2][3]
Service frequency6 days (via Gaya)
Sunday (via Patna)
Train number(s)12301/12302 (via Gaya)
12305/12306 (via Patna)
On-board services
Class(es)AC 1st Class (1A), AC 2 Tier (2A), AC 3 Tier (3A)
Seating arrangementsYes
Sleeping arrangementsAvailable
Auto-rack arrangementsNo
Catering facilitiesAvailable (included in the ticket fare)(IRCTC)
Observation facilitiesLarge Windows
Entertainment facilitiesOnboard WiFi Service
Baggage facilitiesAvailable
Rolling stockLHB Coaches
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Operating speed
  • 130 km/h (81 mph) maximum
    85 km/h (53 mph), including halts (for 12301/12302)
  • 130 km/h (81 mph) maximum
    79 km/h (49 mph), including halts (for 12305/12306)
Route map
(New Delhi - Howrah) Rajdhani Express (via Gaya) Route map.png

Howrah Rajdhani Express (also known as Kolkata Rajdhani Express) is the most prestigious Rajdhani class train in India which connects New Delhi to Howrah, Kolkata. The Howrah Rajdhani was the first Rajdhani Express in India, thereby becoming the first fully air-conditioned train in the country. The train is one of the fastest in India with maximum speed is more than 130 km/h and an average speed of 88 km/h (55 mph).[4] Howrah Rajdhani gets highest priority on Howrah–Delhi main line and Howrah-Delhi Grand Chord Line. It connects two big metropolis of India.

The Howrah Rajdhani Express began operations on 3 March 1969. The train departed from the New Delhi railway station to reach the Howrah Junction railway station in 17 hours 20 mins, covering a distance of 1,451 km (902 mi) .The express train reduced the travel time from Delhi to Kolkata from an earlier 24 hours to 17 hours. The Howrah Rajdhani is amongst few trains which are fully served by IRCTC, while others are Sealdah Duronto, Mumbai Rajdhani Express and Ahmedabad Rajdhani. Howrah Rajdhani Express is affectionally called the King by Railfans. Howrah Rajdhani Express is also the country's 1st Wi-Fi enabled Rajdhani Express.


The idea of introducing Rajdhani express as a set of superfast express trains met with consternation and criticism due to both political reasons and the fear of the proposed speed leap from the then maximum permissible speed of express trains of 100 km/h (62 mph) to 140 km/h (87 mph) for trial runs of the train. The planning team behind the idea of such express trains made proposals to the zonal railways whose territories the Rajdhani express would be crossing but was met with opposition. The team was however, able to materialise its plan. The civil aviation in India was back then at its inception which made it was necessary to introduce high speed railway connectivity between metropolitan cities to allow faster travel. The introduction of such fast passenger express trains in the country was an important step for the Indian Railways to take the railway network in India closer to the advanced and high speed railways around the world.

The Howrah Rajdhani express was introduced on 1 March 1969. It was flagged-off from New Delhi at 5:30 pm IST for Howrah and arrived at the Howrah junction station at 10:50 am IST next morning. The New Delhi bound Rajdhani express departed from Howrah at 5:00 pm IST on 3 March 1969 and arrived at New Delhi at 10:20 am IST next morning. It was initially a bi-weekly train with coach composition as below:

Brake/Luggage/Generator, AC I, AC Pantry cum Lounge, AC Chair, AC Chair, AC Chair, AC Chair, Brake/Luggage/Generator

It was hauled by a single WDM-4 locomotive. It left Howrah on Wednesdays and Saturdays and left New Delhi on Mondays and Fridays. The booked speed for the train was 115 km/h (71 mph) while maximum permissible speed limit was 120 km/h (75 mph). At that time it was the only train allowed to run at such a speed. It covered a distance of 1,451 km (902 mi) in 17 hours 00 minutes. The ticket issued for the journey cost 280 (equivalent to 11,000 or US$150 in 2018) for AC First and 90 (equivalent to 3,500 or US$49 in 2018) for AC Chair Car. The train used to run via Grand Chord (Sitarampur - Mughalsarai via Gaya). It used to have no intermediate passenger stop, however it had technical halt at Gomoh, Mughalsarai and Kanpur Central for refilling of the overhead water tank and to replenish the on-board catering stores. Passengers could sit in the lounge next to pantry car and read magazines and play cards. Such recreational accessories were supplied free of cost in the lounge.

The AC equipment of each coach was of 'Stone Career Automatic System' which allowed electric heating to be automatically switched on during cold weather. The AC First coach used to have three cabins with each cabin containing four berths and three coupes and each coupe containing two berths. Each cabin and coupe had privacy curtains in addition to lockable doors, extra-wide windows, window curtain, carpets, sunk-in upper berth, night lamps and switch to coax a bell to summon the attendant as and when required.

The AC Chair Car coaches used to have accommodations for 71 passengers. Both AC First as well as AC Chair Car Coaches were provided with foot-operated wash basins. Many of these features do not resemble the standard features of modern Indian Railways Rolling Stocks.

Power was generated at the rate of 440V AC and was fed to each coach through interconnected coach couplers. There was also a 24V emergency lighting arrangement in each coach with the required power to be supplied from the storage batteries underneath in the event of a power failure.

In April 1971, the Northern Railway (NR) introduced a quota of 10 seats in the AC Chair Car of the train for Howrah-Kanpur passengers and 10 seats for Howrah-New Delhi passengers. Thus Kanpur also became a passenger stop for the Howrah Rajdhani Express. Eventually Mughalsarai was also turned into a passenger cum technical stop. Dhanbad was newly introduced as a passenger stop. The stoppage from Gomoh was removed.

In 1 November 1971, the maximum speed limit of Howrah Rajdhani Express was increased from 120 km/h (75 mph) to 130 km/h (81 mph). This also reduced the running time for the Up train by 25 minutes and Down train by 30 minutes.

  • The departure and arrival time of the Up train were rescheduled as : HWH: 4:55 pm, NDLS: 10:00 am
  • The departure and arrival time of the Down train were rescheduled as : NDLS: 4:55 pm, HWH: 10:00 am

Till May, 1972, Howrah Rajdhani used to be the only Rajdhani express in India. On 17 May 1972, New Delhi-Bombay Central (Mumbai Central) Rajdhani Express was introduced. Thus, for another two decades (1972-1992), Indian Railways would have two Rajdhani expresses dominating in the realm high speed long distance connectivity.

By August 1972, the frequency of Howrah Rajdhani had been increased and the train was making substantial profit to the range to 20,000 (equivalent to 670,000 or US$9,400 in 2018) to 30,000 (equivalent to 1.0 million or US$14,000 in 2018) per trip.

Even though, Howrah-New Delhi trunk route via Grand-Chord had been fully electrified by 1976, Howrah Rajdhani used to be hauled by a WDM-4. These WDM-4s had superior bogie design which meant they could accelerate faster and brake at higher speeds. They were also rated at 130 km/h (81 mph), a little above other WDM-4 locomotives with a maximum permissible speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). Mughalsarai had workshop and maintenance facilities for these special WDM-4 locomotives which justified the 12 minutes halt of Howrah Rajdhani express at Mughalsarai. Sometimes the locomotive would also change here.

Indian Railways felt the necessity of introducing a new electric locomotive for Howrah Rajdhani express to promote higher speed economically, Howrah-New Delhi route having already been fully electrified. Thus, CLW received the commission of building the first WAP-1 locomotive in 1980[5] with a matching livery. But it was not until 1983 that the train would be hauled by WAP-1. The WAP-1 AC electric locomotive could haul 18 coaches of Rajdhani at a speed of 125 km/h (78 mph). By that time, the coaches of Howrah Rajdhani had been augmented with new AC 2 tier coaches being introduced. Usually a single WAP-1 loco from Ghaziabad shed would haul the train through late 1980s though occasionally twin WAP-1 could also be spotted. Later, WAP-2 locomotives were also used to pull the train sometimes. In 1986, the train got air-brakes. In the event of failure of the regular WAP-1 locomotive, a WAG-7 was used to haul the train as WAG-7 was at that time one of the rarer locomotives to be equipped with air-brakes. It was also the first train to be hauled by WAP-5 locomotive. In the early days of the WAP-5 locos, the train was hauled by WAP-1 locos on Tuesdays and Fridays (when it went through Patna) and dual WDM-2 locos hauled it from Mughalsarai onwards.

Interior of a First Class AC bedroom

In 1992, RDSO/ICF develop high-capacity (250kVA) power cars for Howrah Rajdhani.

In 1993, AC-3 Tier coaches were introduced in Howrah Rajdhani via Main Line(Patna). Thus, Howrah Rajdhani would boast a coach combination of AC Chair Cars, AC 3-Tiers, AC 2-Tiers and AC First. It is regularly hauled by a WAP 7 locomotive of Howrah and Ghaziabad . Sometimes as an off link it is hauled by WAP 4 locomotive of Howrah. Based the popularity of the Howrah Rajdhani, the Sealdah Rajdhani Express was made functional. Sealdah is another railway station in Kolkata.

Coach Composition[edit]

The trains have high priority on the Indian railway network and are fully air-conditioned. Its color is red-grey.

  • The trains comprises 2 First AC (1A), 5 AC 2-Tiers (2A), up to 10 AC 3-Tiers (3A) ( both of which may be increased according to demand), 1 AC Hot Buffet Car (i.e. Pantry Car) & 2 Luggage/Parcel cum Generator cum Brake van one of which is provided with the Guards' cabin.
Howrah to New Delhi (via Gaya/Patna)[6][7]
Loco 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
BSicon LDER.svg EOG B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 PC H1 H2 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 EOG
New Delhi to Howrah(via Gaya/Patna)[8]
Loco 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
BSicon LDER.svg EOG A5 A4 A3 A2 A1 H2 H1 PC B10 B9 B8 B7 B6 B5 B4 B3 B2 B1 EOG


It is hauled by Howrah based WAP 7 end to end.[9][10]


The train is an important link between Kolkata and New Delhi. It runs near some of the most holy sites in India, including Allahabad, Gaya, and Parasnath. It also connects the financial capital of Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur, to Delhi and Kolkata. The train also halts at Asansol, West Bengal and Dhanbad, Jharkhand. It also connect holy city of Deoghar through Jasidih and capital of Bihar, Patna.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Railway Budget speech 1970-71" (PDF). Government of India, Ministry of Railways. 23 February 1970.
  2. ^ "HWH - NDLS 12301".
  3. ^ HWH - NDLS 12305
  4. ^ "Fastest trains in India".
  5. ^ "Railway Budget speech 1981-82" (PDF). Government of India, Ministry of Railways. 19 February 1981.
  6. ^ PATRANABIS, SREERUP. "12301/Howrah - New Delhi Rajdhani Express (via Gaya) - Howrah to New Delhi ER/Eastern Zone - Railway Enquiry". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  7. ^ Tiru, Somanko. "12305/Howrah - New Delhi Rajdhani Express (via Patna) - Howrah to New Delhi ER/Eastern Zone - Railway Enquiry". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  8. ^ King, 12302 The. "12302/New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express (Via Gaya) - New Delhi to Howrah ER/Eastern Zone - Railway Enquiry". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  9. ^ King, 12302 The. "12302/New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express (Via Gaya) - New Delhi to Howrah ER/Eastern Zone - Railway Enquiry". Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  10. ^ Tiru, Somanko. "12306/New Delhi - Howrah Rajdhani Express ( Via Patna ) - New Delhi to Howrah ER/Eastern Zone - Railway Enquiry". Retrieved 9 November 2019.

External links[edit]