Train travel in India

Published January 30, 2011

At rome2rio we love to travel by train. We believe it’s one of the most enjoyable form of transport. Often accompanied by great scenery, it offers a chance to travel with the locals. It’s also often cheaper, and sometimes faster, than flying short distances and certainly has a lesser environmental impact.

We’re excited to announce the recent addition of train routes in India to rome2rio to complement our rail coverage of Western and Eastern Europe, and China.

The Indian rail system employs over 1 million people and is one of the largest utility employers in the world. The country’s rail network is extensive, and you can take a two day train ride all the way from the north to the south of India. Trains typically offer several classes, ranging from the comfortable 1st class to the Slumdog Millionaire-style unreserved (UR) class, where seating is not allocated and the carriages are usually very crowded.

P1090348

You also often need to book trains in India well in advance. Fortunately, special last-minute tickets called Tatkals are offered 2 days before the train’s departure for an extra cost. These are often the best bet for securing tickets. Trains in India also have a reputation for being late – sometimes delayed by several hours. This is because some trains make lengthy, multi-day journeys across the country, increasing the likelihood of delays along the way. However tickets are cheap. For example, a two to three hour journey from Delhi to Agra is just $15 USD for First Class.

Tickets can be purchased online, and ClearTrip is one popular site for train ticket purchases. The Indian train system also has a neat cancellation and waiting list system that helps ensure almost every seat is full when the train departs.

Some of the most popular sights in India can be reached by rail. From Delhi, trains run regularly to Agra where you can visit the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. Travelers can continue on by rail to Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer and see some of the most stunning monuments, forts, cities and desert terrain that the Rajasthan area has to offer.

P1090719_-_copy

For more information about trains in India we highly recommend the excellent seat61 India resource.