Indian railway is the third largest network in the world. Tracks run well over 60,000 kilometers and connect about 7500 stations, ferrying nearly 20 million people every day. Though they are not the world’s best but traveling in them can add a fascinating new dimension to a visitor’s experience. Indian Railways also operates trains to various hill stations in India. These trains are the mountain trains or popularly known as toy trains, are recognized by UNESCO as world Heritage Sites. A journey on Indian railway can become a trip by itself as the time spent between two destinations is equally captivating and offers many sights and sounds.
Tourist Trains in India
These are fully air-conditioned superfast trains that only have the sleeper accommodation. Rajdhani Express trains run between Delhi and each state capital, reaching back to Delhi.
Shatabdi Express trains are daytime intercity trains that offers only sitting accommodation. These are the fastest trains in India with full ac facility.
Jan Shatabdi Express
These are superfast daytime trains and offer both airconditioned and non-airconditioned sitting accommodation.
Garib Rath Express
Garib Rath Express trains are superfast and fully air-conditioned overnight trains. These trains have both sitting and sleeper accommodations and offer more seats per carriage at a lower fare.
Duronto Express trains offer a journey combined with luxury and punctuality at a comparatively lower cost than Rajdhani. These trains are non-stop and fully air-conditioned.
Toy Trains or Mountain Trains
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway takes six hours to cover the 83km distance from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Darjeeling. Completed in 1883, the train is renowned for the great views it offers to its visitors. The toy train uses an interesting system of reverses and loops to navigate the steep climb.
The Kalka-Shimla Railway
The railway from Kalka to Simla was completed in 1903. It was mainly used by the British for a refreshing Shimla getaway to escape the heat of summer. The 96km railroad runs through the magnificent scenery of the Shivalik Hills offering breathtaking view to the travelers.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the only railway in India to use a rack and pinion system to climb the steep gradient. The train covers 46 km to Udhagamandalam in four and half hours. There are five stations between Mettupalayam and Coonoor – Kallar, Adderley, Hill Grove, Runnymede and Kateri.
Matheran Hill Railway
Matheran Hill Railway is a heritage railway built between 1901 and 1907 in Maharashtra by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy. The railway come under the administration of the Central Railways and is being promoted as a future World Heritage Site. The railway covers a distance of 20 km from the starting point Neral.
Luxury Trains in India
Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels takes an 8 day tour and starts from New Delhi. It takes stops in Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur, and Agra. Passenger needs to book the train well in advance as it tends to be booked out months ahead. In peak season the prices remains quite high.
Deccan Odyssey takes sits boarders to a week long journey to some of the best places in Maharashtra and Goa. It covers an 8 day journey from Mumbai and ranked as one of the best luxury trains in the world.
The train is named after a famous Stone Chariot in Hampi, a world heritage site. The train takes travelers on a weeklong journey through Karnataka and Goa. It starts an 8 day journey from Bangalore and travels through Mysore, Srirangapatna, Kabini, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole and finally the beaches of Goa.
Maharajas Express is flaunted as the India’s answer to the Orient Express. It’s a latest luxury train that offers 4 itineraries named Classical India, Royal India, Princely India and Celestial India. The journey in this train takes you through major attractions across various Indian states which include Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels offers a journey across princely land of Rajasthan. The train tours through Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Agra and Delhi and span across 7 nights and 8 days. It offers attractions including the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Mehrangarh Fort, Ranthambore National Park and Eastern and Western Group of Temples at Khajuraho.
Splendor of the South
Splendor of the South offers you a luxury journey across South India. The 7nights/8days journey in the train takes you to a luxurious voyage across Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Poovar, Thiruvanathapuram and Kochi covering several attractions including Auroville, Vidhan Soudha, Rock Fort Temple, Kumarakom backwaters, and many more.
The Indian Maharaja
The Indian Maharaja is India’s first privately run luxury train and covers attractions including UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta and Ellora, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri along with Udaipur, Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. It’s an 8 days and 7 nights journey with Presidential suites options available.