With so many different types of trains available for different reasons and purposes, Indian Railway System is one of the most complex systems in the world. When you check railway timetable or go to Indian railway inquiry, you may get confused as to which train to travel in. Choosing the best type of train may often get a tad tricky. But you need not worry, for we have taken care of that for you. In this article, you will know in detail about different types of train available in India.
As you must already know, different kinds of trains meet different needs of travelers. Some trains meet your long-distance traveling criteria, some are best suited for short distances. And some trains connect remote villages and some meet the ends of the country effectively.
Indian trains are planned based on the following factors:
Some trains make frequent stops while traveling from starting station to the destination and as a result, their journey time is more. Some trains make stops only at major stations and are faster.
Some trains have pantry car, WiFi, etc.
Most trains have several types of coaches, such as AC Tier 1, AC Tier 2, AC Tier 3, Sleeper Class, AC Chair Car, Executive Class Chair Car, Second Class Seater, General, etc. Some trains have only one type of coach.
Day or Night Travel
Day trains have sitting chairs, whereas night trains have sleeping berths.
Some of the major exclusive trains include toy trains, luxurious tourism trains (Golden Chariot, for instance), super-fast trains, etc. Some are highly economical and some can easily burn a hole in your pocket.
Now let’s take a look at some of the major types of trains.
- Duranto Express
Duranto Express is the fastest train in India. Launched in 2010, this is also the newest addition to Indian Railways. If you are traveling a distance more than 500 km, then Duranto Express is your best option. This is cheaper than flight tickets or equal.
Coaches: AC3, AC2, AC1. Some trains also include CC, EC, 3E, and Sleeper Class
Average Speed: 82 kmph
Duranto Express connects long distance cities and intends to become a quick alternative to flying. Except for a few technical stops, the train has no stops between source and destination stations.
Duranto Express is operational in some of the major cities.
Delhi to Kolkata, Lucknow, Allahabad, Chennai, Pune, Secunderabad, Ernakulam, and Kolkata.
Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Nagpur, and Kolkata
Bangalore to Kolkata
2. Rajdhani Express
Rajdhani Express is one of the oldest trains in Indian Railways and is known for luxury and speed. It was established in 1969. At an average speed of 80 kmph, this is the second fastest train in India.
Similarities and Differences between Rajdhani Express and Duranto Express
Both Rajdhani and Duranto make only a few stops at some major stations, making them fast and efficient
Since Rajdhani makes a few stops between its source and destination stations, it’s a bit slower than Duranto Express
Both Rajdhani Express and Duranto Express are the preferred trains for most travelers traveling long distance. Both trains provide free food, snacks, tea/coffee onboard.
All the coaches in Rajdhani Express trains are air-conditioned, whereas some coaches in Duranto Express trains have non-AC sleeper coaches
Both Rajdhani Express and Duranto Express trains support tatkal reservation quota.
Rajdhani Express connect national capital of the country New Delhi. Duranto Express connect any two important cities Ex Mumbai – Kolkata, Bangalore – Kolkata, Pune – New Delhi
Rajdhani Express (Rajdhani meaning Capital) stays true to its name. It connects different cities of the country to the capital of India, New Delhi. From free food, snacks, beverages to overnight travel option, it offers a lot of comfortable choices to travelers.
3. Shatabdi Express
Shatabdi Express trains are known to be the ideal alternative to buses. Run during the day, these trains connect all the major cities across the country. Unlike other trains, they do not have berths. They only have seats. This makes sense, as they run only during the day. The seating is very comfortable. The timings are flexible and are very helpful if you make sudden plans.
The tickets are also easily available, as each coach accommodate more number of seats, unlike other trains. As a result, the number of seats available are more. If you are travel frequently by bus, then switching your priority to trains can be helpful. Shatabdi Express covers shorter routes and less expensive than buses. Besides, they are more comfortable than buses.
Shatabdi Express trains are fast with an average speed of 80 kmph and cover distances up to 1000 kms
Connects all the major cities in India
Coach types include Chair Car and Executive Class
Tickets are available even 5 minutes before the train departure, just like you buy a bus ticket
It is cheaper than Rajdhani Express. If you are traveling by day, then Shatabdi Express is ideal for you.
Provides free meals and snacks
Routes: Popular stations include Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa, Delhi, Ajmer, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Jaipur, and many more.
4. Garib Rath
If you want to travel in excellent comfort without burning a hole in your pocket, then Garib Rath is perfect for you. Garib Rath, meaning Chariot of the Poor, is a recent addition to Indian Railways. The major coaches include 3E AC and CC coaches.
Garib Rath was the first to introduce 3E Class, which is quite similar to a 3AC class. The only difference is that 3E class has an additional berth on the side seats.
Primarily designed for those who can’t afford expensive trains like Shatabdi Express or Rajdhani Express
Suitable for long-distance routes
5. Jan Shatabdi
If you want to travel long distance routes in a short span of time without spending a lot, then Jan Shatabdi is the perfect choice for you. These trains are primarily designed for those who do not want to spend a fortune on luxury but want to reach their destination faster. Jan Shatabdi’s Non-AC Chair Car is very reasonable. Its cost is almost equal to unreserved express or mail trains. For instance, Mumbai to Goa (covering a distance of 800 km) will cost you just around Rs.270 or slightly more than that. Moreover, it only has seats and not berths, the number of tickets available is more, compared to other trains. So you will almost always get tickets. You don’t have to worry about reserving your seats at all. Take a look at the railway timetable or go to Indian railway inquiry for more details.
Jan Shatabdi is a cheaper version of Shatabdi Express
Jan Shatabdi has both CC AC and non-AC classes
Average speed is quite equal to Shatabdi
Only runs during the day and connects distances ranging between 500 km to 1000 km
6. Sampark Kranti
Sampark Kranti Express trains are known to connect different states to the capital, New Delhi. These are very efficient trains, with an average speed equivalent to that of Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi trains. They include Sleeper Class, AC, and unreserved coaches.
Sampark Kranti Express trains are an ideal second alternative, just in case you don’t get seats in Garib Rath or other trains. These are also well-suited for the overnight journey. With Sleeper and AC classes, they make for a comfortable experience. Sampark Kranti Express trains are fast, comfortable, and very reasonable. Check out Indian railway inquiry forfor Sampark Kranti Express trains.
7. Superfast Express/Mail
Superfast Express/Mail trains are ideal for long routes. These have more number of stops between source and destination stations, compared to the trains discussed above. Hence they are quite slow compared to other express trains. These are very helpful if you are traveling to a small town. They are cheap and comfortable.
Superfast Express/Mail trains are the most common and oldest type of trains in Indian Railways. These are also the preferred trains among the Indian middle class. They are quite slow with an average speed of 55 kmph.
8. Express Trains
Express trains are the most common type of trains in the country. They have been in existence for a long time. These make a lot of stops between their source and destination stations, making them quite slow compared to other trains.
9. Passenger/Superfast Passenger
These trains are ideal for short distance routes, usually within a state. They make frequent stops at small stations and villages. They connect remote villages, making them very accessible to everyone. They are slow and the price is cheap.
10. Suburban Trains
Suburban trains mostly operate in urban regions like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, and Pune. The seating is always unreserved and works on the first-come-first-serve basis. They mostly operate inside one particular city and are suitable for those who want to commute to work on a daily basis.
11. Metros and Monorails
These trains are quite sophisticated and are also unreserved. Currently, they operate in some of the major cities in India, such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kochi, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Ticket prices are more expensive than suburban trains, but serve the same purpose by operating inside a city. Suitable for those who commute to work in the city on a daily basis.
These are the major types of trains available in India. Check your priorities and needs before deciding to travel in a particular type of train. Always make sure tobefore making reservations. Most of these trains have tatkal reservation option. Either way, always check with Indian railway inquiry before making your decision on a particular type of train.
Nidhi Mahajan is a guest blogger and passionate about content writing. She has been creating SEO friendly content for more than 5 years. For more info you can check her Blogs at