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]

Express trains are express rail services of India. Express trains make a small number of stops, unlike ordinary passenger or local trains. 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. 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.

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. The Duronto Express trains introduced in 2009 (which run between major cities without any intermediate halts) also take as much time as a Rajdhani or Shatabdi on the same route, courtesy the non-stop nature of their journey.

Superfast Express[edit]

Superfast Express trains are express trains which make still fewer stops, as compared to ordinary express trains, achieving still shorter journey times. Tickets cost more than ordinary express trains as they have "superfast surcharge" added to them. Trains with an average speed, excluding halts, equaling or exceeding 55 kilometres per hour (34 mph) (60 kilometres per hour (37 mph) until the early 1990s) on both up and down journeys fall into the this category and are numbered with a prefix of 12 or 22 or 20 (previously 2). Including halts the average speed often is below 55 km/h. In some cases, trains run superfast where there is an overlapping express service available, and run regular express trains where there is no supplementary express service.

As of 2015, 450 pairs of superfast trains ran on the Indian Railways. The 12908/Maharashtra Sampark Kranti Express (NZM/Hazrat Nizamuddin - BDTS/Bandra Terminus) is the fastest non-Shatabdi, non-Rajdhani train in India.


Mail trains are trains which earlier exclusively had mail coaches. Nowadays, all the trains in the country including mail trains carry mail in luggage coach itself. But the train branding continues to remain in use.


The trains are hauled by most-powerful locomotives in the country, such as WDP-4 or WAP-7, each with an output of more than 5,000 hp.


Shatabdi Express LHB coaches at Mysore station

The coaches in these trains are of crash-worthy design from Alstom-LHB, built by Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala.[2][3] These Alstom-LHB coaches can be pulled to a speed of 160 km/h without any modification.[4] New 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.[5] The bogies, design from Fiat, has 2 disk brakes per axle[4] essential for safe operations especially at the speed of fast-express trains.


The trains run on nation-wide Indian gauge. 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.[6] Another constraint is the need to accommodate freight trains at the current top speed of 70 km/h.[7] These constraints to speed are consequences of sharing tracks with freight and lower speed suburban passenger trains.


Train stops reduce the average running speed of a train by preventing it from gaining higher speed. 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.


The average speed of trains, range from 36 kilometres per hour (22 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".

Train Category Train Name Max Speed Avg. Speed Notes
Train 18 Vande Bharat Express Train 18 180 km/h 95 km/h Fastest Train of India
Gatimaan Express 160 km/h 91 km/h 2nd fastest train in India
Rajdhani Express Bandra Rajdhani Express 150 km/h 98 km/h
  • second fastest train in India
  • fastest among Rajdhani Expresses
Mumbai Rajdhani Express 130 km/h 89 km/h fastest Rajdhani express till 2017
Shatabdi Express New Delhi Habibganj Shatabdi Express 150 km/h 89 km/h
  • third fastest train in India
  • fastest among Shatabdi Expresses
Delhi Metro Delhi Airport Metro Express 132 km/h 90-95 km/h fourth-fastest train in India
Duronto Express Sealdah – New Delhi Duronto Express 135 km/h 85 km/h
  • fourth-fastest train in India
  • fastest among Duronto Expresses
Rajdhani Express Howrah Rajdhani Express 130 km/h 85 km/h fifth-fastest train in India
Suvidha Patna - Mumbai CST Suvidha Superfast Express 110 km/h 63 km/h fastest among Suvidha Expresses
Yuva Express Howrah - Anand Vihar Yuva Express 130 km/h 82 km/h fastest Yuva Express
Garib Rath Bandra Terminus Hazrat Nizamuddin Garib Rath Express 130 km/h 82 km/h fastest among Garib Rath Express
Jan Shatabdi Kota Hazrat Nizamuddin Jan Shatabdi Express 110 km/h 71 km/h fastest among Jan Shatabdi Expresses
Sampark Kranti Express Maharashtra Sampark Kranti Express 110 km/h 69 km/h
  • fastest among Sampark Kranti Express
  • fastest Superfast train in India
Double Decker Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Double Decker Express 130 km/h 69 km/h fastest Double decker express
AC Express Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Hazrat Nizamuddin AC Express 120 km/h 76 km/h fastest AC express

Un-reserved travel[edit]

Indian railways run non-reserved trains under the brand Jan Sadharan Express and Antyodaya Express. These trains have all Unreserved/General coaches.[8]

Apart from Antyodaya and Jan Sadharan trains, unreserved/general coaches are also present in express trains. A new series of Deen Dayalu coaches has also been proposed for long distance trains. The Deen Dayalu coaches will be more comfortable than the existing old coaches.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chauhan, Arvind (6 June 2015). "India's fastest train completes final test run in record time". Times of India.
  2. ^ Verma, Lalmani (25 January 2010). "To make fast-express trains safe, new design of coach on anvil". Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Rlys may raise stainless steel coach production". BusinessLine. 22 June 2007.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Gopal, Ramesh R. "Stainless Steel in Rail Transportation: The Scenario in India" (PDF). Indian Stainless Steel Development Association. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  6. ^ "High Speed – T.R.Natarajan, Indian Railways". Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ Government of India Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) (December 2009). "Indian Railways 2020 Vision" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Routes and Timetables of New Tejas, Uday, Humsafar and Antyodaya Trains". 24 Coaches. 29 September 2016.
  9. ^

External links[edit]