New Delhi railway station

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Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg
New Delhi
नई दिल्ली

Nayi Dilli
Indian Railways station
New Delhi Railway Station Entry.jpg
Entrance to the railway station complex, Ajmeri Gate
General information
LocationNew Delhi, Delhi
Coordinates28°38′30″N 77°13′15″E / 28.6417°N 77.2207°E / 28.6417; 77.2207Coordinates: 28°38′30″N 77°13′15″E / 28.6417°N 77.2207°E / 28.6417; 77.2207
Elevation214.42 metres (703.5 ft)
Owned byIndian Railways
Operated byNorthern Railways
ConnectionsAuto, taxi and bus stands, metro
Structure typeStandard (on-ground station)
Other information
Station codeNDLS
Zone(s) Northern Railway zone
Division(s) Delhi
Key dates
1956Official inauguration
Interactive map

New Delhi railway station (station code: NDLS) is the main railway station in Delhi. Platform 1 is located at Paharganj and platform 16 opens up on to the side of Ajmeri Gate. The station is about two kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Connaught Place in Central Delhi. It is one of the busiest railway stations in the country in terms of train frequency and passenger movement.

Until the 1950s, the Old Delhi railway station was the main station in Delhi. The official inauguration of the one platform New Delhi railway station took place in 1956. The station building at Paharganj was the first in India to have common station facilities for all classes of passengers including a common entry and exit. With the station meeting its saturation limit as early as the 1970s, there have been continuous efforts over the decades to decongest the station including the rail traffic. By the 1980s the station had seven platforms, in 1995 it had ten platforms and during the 2010 redevelopment the platforms increased to sixteen. The new station building on the side of the Ajmeri Gate was upgraded during this redevelopment. Delhi Metro connectivity has been integrated.

The 16 platforms cater to around 235 trains which start, end, or pass through the station daily. According to different studies and periods of the year estimates for daily footfall and passengers handled varies.[1][2] The average daily passenger inflow and outflow is about 2.13 lakh,[2] which can reach 6 lakh during peak festival season.[3] Since 1999, the station holds the record for the largest route relay interlocking system in the world.[4][5][6]


Before the new imperial capital New Delhi was established after 1911, the Old Delhi railway station served the entire city and the Agra–Delhi railway line cut through what is today called Lutyens' Delhi and the site earmarked for the hexagonal All-India War Memorial (now India Gate) and Kingsway (now Rajpath). The railway line was shifted along Yamuna river and opened in 1924 to make way for the new capital. Minto (now Shivaji) and Hardinge (now Tilak) rail bridges came up for this realigned line. The East Indian Railway Company, that overlooked railways in the region, sanctioned the construction of a single story building and a single platform between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj in 1926. This was later known as New Delhi Railway station. The government's plans to have the new station built inside the Central Park of Connaught Place was rejected by the Railways as it found the idea impractical.[7] In 1927–28, New Delhi Capital Works project involving construction of 4.79 miles (7.71 km) of new lines was completed. The Viceroy and royal retinue entered the city through the new railway station during the inauguration of New Delhi in 1931. New structures were added to the railway station later and the original building served as the parcel office for many years.[8][9]

By 1955 a new station building had been constructed at a cost of about 20 lakh (equivalent to 18 crore or US$2.3 million in 2020).[10] A common entrance, exit and circulating area for all classes of passengers was created.[10] It was the first station in India to do have common facilities.[11] Up until then an adapted form of the colonial era system had remained in place, the platform and area that had been reserved for the Britishers was used by upper class Indians while the other platforms and area went to the lower classes.[11] A common area for refreshments was built, waiting areas as per ticket class, and resting rooms with different fees open to all classes.[10] The building layout and design was done under the Architect of the Ministry of Railways.[12] The one platform station was officially inaugurated on 16 April 1956.[13][14] Up until then Old Delhi railway station was the main station.[15]

The building exterior at this time was made of exposed concrete.[16] In preparation for the 1982 Asian Games, the exterior of the main entrance on Paharganj side was covered with sandstone. This was then painted in the 1990s.[16] Before the 2010 Commonwealth Games the original exterior was covered with aluminum.[16] Pillars and benches were also given a metal look.[17] Subsequently the exterior aluminum panels were colour combination.[16]

Ajmeri Gate side

In September 2009, the new building of the station on the Ajmeri Gate side was opened. The building has a total floor area of 9,000 m2 spread over three floors.[18][19] The entrance and departure on this side were moved to different floors.[20] A new route relay interlocking system was put into place.[21] The number of platform was increased from 12 to 16 during this period.[22] In the 1980s, the station had seven platforms.[23] In 1995 the tenth platform was constructed.[24] The Paharganj side faced more space constraints as compared to the Ajmeri Gate side.[25]

In 2007, architecture firm Farrells (along with others such as Arup and SMEC) were commissioned as consultants with regard to the modernisation and expansion of the station in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The consultants would also be involved in the masterplan of the Indian Railways for the station redevelopment.[26][27] 13 consortiums placed bids to win the contract to upgrade and modernise the terminal on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis for 30 years.[28][29] The station occupies 86 hectares (0.86 km2)[30] and 10–20% of it (50 acres) could be used for retail and commercial use.[29] There are around 8 temples and 5 mosques located in the vicinity of the station.[31] There is a temple (Lankeshwar Mahadev temple) on platform 6-7 and a mosque (Masjid Ghareeb Shah) on platform 2-3.[32] There was an unsuccessful attempt to demolish the temple in 1982.[33] Ajmeri Gate and Ghaziuddin's Mosque are also located in the vicinity of the station.[34] These structures come into question during redevelopment plans.[32] The AMASR Act regulates construction in the vicinity of centrally protected monuments.[34]

In March 2020, long-term plans for a public private partnership (PPP) to change the railway station to improve passenger flow was described, with the Rail Land Development Authority put in charge.[35] The plans and timing are not firm, only the goal, to make a world-class railway station, most likely with arriving and departing passenger flows separated.

Rail traffic[edit]

Standard 5 ft 6 in gauge railway, platform 14-15

Most eastbound and southbound trains originate at New Delhi railway station; however, some important trains to other parts of the country also touch/originate at this station. Most pairs of Shatabdi Express originate and terminate at this station.[2] It is also the main hub for the Rajdhani Express.[2] The number of trains per platform per day varies from 13 trains to 23 trains.[36] New Delhi railway station is the highest-earning railway station in Indian Railways based on passenger revenue followed by Howrah Junction.[2]

In 1969 the first Rajdhani Express left from the station to Howrah.[37] The first Vande Bharat Express was flagged off from the station in 2019.[38] Luxury tourist trains have itinerary's which start and end at New Delhi railway station, Palace on Wheels, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and Maharajas' Express. The Buddhist circuit train Mahaparinirvan Express also starts and end at the station.[39] Suburban rail services such as the Delhi Ring Railway and the Delhi Suburban Railway were expanded for the 1982 Asian Games; New Delhi railway station is a stop.[22][40] In 2010 as many as 78 suburban trains passed through the station daily.[41]

WDS-6AD shunter locomotive
Lucknow Tejas Express at NDLS

The station handled the introduction of passenger trains to cater to the increasing population growth and industrialization such as on the New Delhi-Ahmedabad route.[42] Double heading trains ran from the station including the KK Express on the New Delhi-Bangalore-Trivandrum route.[42] In 1967 on the New Delhi-Mumbai route a container service was started and on the New Delhi-Gwalior route folding containers were used.[43] In the 1970s the New Delhi-Eranakulam covered 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) while the Delhi-Jaipur express reached a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph).[44] In the 1980s the station handled around 100 trains daily, including coaching, mail and express trains.[23]

New Delhi railway station has seen numerous initiatives over the decades to decongest it.[45][46] In the 1970-80s goods trains previously arriving at the station were diverted to other stations. New platforms including island platforms and platform faces were undertaken. Washing and stabling points, and shunting necks were increased.[45][47] The Thomson Road side of the station also began to be developed with a station building, ticket facilities and other ancillary structures.[48][49] Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station began to be considered with regard to easing the load of New Delhi railway station.[48] In the 2000s decongestion efforts includes construction of new passenger terminals such as those at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station, diversion of trains to other stations such as Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station and additional stoppage of trains at other stations such as Delhi Shahdara Junction railway station.[45] With the five main railway terminals in New Delhi, including New Delhi railway station, reaching a saturation limit other stations such as Bijwasan railway station are being developed.[50]

Daily footfall and passengers[edit]

The station handled around 168,000 passengers daily in 2011.[51] Rohit Anand's study between 2016 and 2018 estimated a daily footfall of 480,000.[1] In 2022, Rahul Bhatnagar's study placed the daily average passenger (inflow and outflow) as 210,000; the study calculated an Equivalent passenger unit (EPU) of 4,15,157.[2] During festivals, daily footfall can reach 6 lakh.[3]


New Delhi's first round-the-clock service food court with national and international brands was opened up at the station in 2021.[52][53] Facilities include a souvenir shop,[54] book and magazine stalls,[55] two executive lounges,[56][57] waiting rooms,[58] at least one escalator per platform,[59] water vending machines,[60][61] snack areas,[24] and energy saving lighting systems.[62] As part of a public-private partnership non-governmental organizations Chintan and Safai Sena support the material recovery facility at the station.[63] Originally a garbage dump, the area has been redeveloped to facilitate waste segregation.[63] In 2014 Wi-Fi connectivity was launched at the station on a free basis for a limited period of time after which users would be required to pay for the service.[64]

In 2016-2017, 2 MW rooftop solar panels were installed at the station by Vivaan Solar under public–private partnership and executed on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis; the company will also be responsible for maintaining the plant for a period of 25 years.[65][66] A beautification effort resulted in a number of walls being covered with artwork and murals.[58] The station is home to base kitchens.[67][68] Security personnel are present at the station.[69] As of 2021, the cargo facility is being redeveloped.[70]

Other ancillaries in the station complex include the Rail Yatri Niwas on the Ajmeri Gate side. In 1996 it provided single and double rooms at Rs 150/250, air-conditioned rooms for Rs 210/500, all with common bath, while dormitories provided cheaper facilities. A Delhi train ticket was required to access the hotel.[71] The Rail Yatri Niwas has been run by Ginger Hotel in coordination with IRCTC since 2009.[72][73]


Autos, taxis, parking, metro, eating joints visible, at Ajmeri Gate exit

New Delhi railway station is served by New Delhi station on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro, and also by the Airport Express (Orange Line), which connects it directly to Indira Gandhi International Airport and further to the Blue Line.[74] A 242 metres (794 ft) skywalk connects the foot over bridges on Ajmeri Gate side of the station to the metro and the parking complex on Bhavbhuti Marg.[75] The total distance of the foot over bridge from Paharganj side to the Bhavbhuti Marg parking area is 442 metres (1,450 ft).[76]

Vehicle traffic congestion is an issue at the station that has been addressed in various ways over the years.[77][78][79] In the 1970-80s consideration began for creating additional entry from Thompson Road and the widening of Chelmsford road.[45][80] The 2016 report of the high powered committee on decongesting traffic in Delhi recommended the areas around the station as in need of decongestion.[81] As of 2022 a new traffic circulation plan has been proposed.[82]

State Entry Road, a colonial-era legacy situated on Paharganj side, bypasses the congested Chelmsford Road however access is limited.[83][84]

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Majumder, Arnab (2017). Redevelopment of New Delhi Railway Station (Bachelor of Architecture thesis). School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
News articles

External links[edit]