In 1853, when the first train was run between the Mumbai and Thane, nobody had envisaged that railways would come such a long way. It has grown from strength to strength and is now the fourth largest railway network in the world. It has continuously strived to keep up to date to the changing technology and other things. First the steam trains, then the mails, then the express, the Mumbai suburban trains and now the Duronto and Shatabdi. These are almost like a feather in the cap for the Indian railways.

High Speed Trains.

More in the wake of bullet trains in the Far East, India decided to have something on similar lines. Though currently it does not have the budget, nor the technology added with geographical constraints Indian railways decided to come up with its own idea of bullet trains, and they were very rightly called as high speed trains. The maximum speed of this can’t go beyond 200 Kms per hour. The two high speed trains that India has are the Shatabdi and the Duronto. Let’s read about them in detail


Shatabdi These trains are an initiative of the Indian railways where in a metro city is connected to another city which could be a pilgrimage centre or a tourist attraction or an area of business. Ideally Shatabdi runs in a single day and come back to the station of origin on the same day itself. These are one of the prestigious trains that are run by the Indian Railways and have a speed up to 125-130 kmph. However; there are instances of certain Shatabdi which touch a speed of 150 kmph. The trains are called as Shatabdi, because it was launched in the year 1988 on the 100th birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru. Shatabdi rightly means centenary in Sanskrit. The way it works is it does not stop at many stations in between thereby making it reach the destination sooner. No form of unreserved accommodation is entertained in this train, unlike many other express and mail trains. They do not have berths and have only Air-conditioned chair class. There are close to 13 Shatabdi train running in Indian railways.


Duronto in Bengali means quick, and these are trains which run nonstop between two important stations. The Duronto connects the metro cities of India to the state capitals. They are currently the fastest running train in India. There are already 18 Duronto that are currently plied on, and a proposal for 8 more of this are in discussion. Travelling by Duronto has reduced the time to considerable levels. It has four classes the sleeper class; the 3rd, 2nd and 1st AC. Pantry cars are provided in the train itself and the cost of the meal is included in the ticket. One of the features of this train is that it is lighter in weight as compared to the other trains in India. These trains are faster than the prestigious Rajdhani express.

Many people are just getting aware of the services of these two trains, the popularity of both Shatabdi and Duronto are on a rise.

Indian railways have always been important in the life of most of the Indians. The reason being Railways has always been instrumental in providing better services, travel to the remotest area, speed, cost effective and many other things. Hence when surveys were conducted in India, on the best way to travel, all inclusive rich and poor, old and young preferred the Indian Railways.

Planning the travel

Generally once the holiday plans has been decided the preparation starts. If the mode of transport is decided to be as Indian Railways there is a plethora of activities that needs to be done. The first thing is to find whether there are trains available on the specified travel route. If it is a known route, and you have been visiting it for over the years then it is an easy task, but however; if it is a place that you never have traveled then a little research needs to be done.

Checking for availability

Checking the Availability in Indian RailwaysThe information of train availability is available on most of the Railways site. Once the destination has been fixed, it becomes an easier task to get the check done. You can either use or you can also log on to for this information. In IRCTC, type in the username and password, the site directs you to page where you can plan your travel. Click on the particular page, and one needs to fill in the “To” station code and the “From” station code. In case if you aren’t aware of the station code, then it is always recommended to check the station either from the Indian railways site or in this site itself. Ideally once you type in the name of the station a lot of options appear in the drop box you can select on the correct one, or click beside the station code and get the necessary information. Once the details of the travel has been mentioned, you need to type the date on which you are planning to take the journey, specify the type of ticket namely I ticket, e ticket and Tatkal. Select General or ladies according to the need and click on go. The screen will now display the list of trains available in the mentioned path, the arrival and departure time, and class details. Based on your time of convenience you can select the train details and go ahead.

Once that is done, a small screen appears which contains the fare details, the train number and the distance traveled and the weekdays on which it runs. Besides that it also provided the availability of the tickets in the particular class, you can accordingly change time, class and date and check whether there are seats available on this particular route during those days. Once confirmed, on all details you can book the tickets from this site. The same thing can be done on the Indian railways site, here you can either select train between stations or seat availability in the quick link section and in the Services section you can select Train schedule.

Travel plans on Indian railways are very easy to check.

We have all travelled using Indian railways on different occasions. However what impresses us it that over the years railways have changed a lot. They have become a lot customer oriented, their services are upgraded and they strive to do things so that they can remain in the competition. But however; due to its reach, Indian railways still own the monopoly of being the network used by most of the Indians for travel. Railways has made everything convenient for us now, including the two websites that the offer namely the and

The Websites

Indian Railways – Seat Availability One of the major tasks involved is getting the tickets done. Most of us, if travelling for the first to a particular place using the Indian railways, would not know the trains available, the seat availability in it and for that matter even the fare details. You can get information about these things on a single site namely the This site has been a introduced more than a decade back and has been the backbone of increasing number of tech savvy people in the country. This site provides a comprehensive list of the details that you are looking for with reference to the railways.

To check seat availability.

To go anywhere the first thing you require is to check whether the seats are available for the train where you are likely to commence your journey from. For this all you need to do is go to the Indian railways site namely , click on the quick link that for seat availability. On clicking on that a page displays which will show you the details of train number, the journey date and the start and the destination station codes. You will also need to fill in the details of which class of tickets you are looking for along with the quota, once all the information are put up check on click availability. This can be continued for different dates and different class. However; in case one isn’t aware of the station code and the train number, one can click on the check station codes below. There you can fill the to and from destination, the date and also specify the time you are looking for to go. Once the details are typed, including the time preference a list of trains appear on the screen. All that needs to done here is click on the trains which is most suitable and most comfortable for the traveler and get the seats available for the train. In case if there are no seats available for this train, this exercise can be repeated with some other train.

Once the train and other travel plans and the seat availability is looked after you can proceed to the irctc site to get the bookings done for the particular train. In the Indian railways main page itself on quick links, you will find Internet reservation; this site will directly take you to

Ticket booking and checking for seats was never so easier and that too sitting in the luxuries of our house.


Travelling is interesting, and will always be. Someone has rightly said that it is not the destination that is important; it is the journey that is more pleasurable. And what a pleasure it is to travel in Indian railways. Train travels are probably one of the easiest things, and there is nothing to be stressed about but however there are few things that you always need to keep in minds.

Points to be remembered before train travel.

Train Travel · Always get the tickets in advance, at least a month or two before the actual journey. This assures that the traveler will get a confirmed ticket. Before booking check for the most convenient train available and the time taken by the same. Once you get the train of your choice and the tickets status as confirmed, more than half of the worries are sorted out.

· Just in case, if the tickets have been booked late and is currently appearing as RAC (Reservation against cancellation) or Waiting list, you may need to do few checks before the actual travel. Check the status of the tickets and if the ticket waiting list doesn’t seem to be moving or changing then you may need to take a call for getting Tatkal tickets done. Tatkal tickets can be taken two days before the actual journey starts. At least the traveler can be assured of having a confirmed ticket. However; if the ticket has the status of RAC, then the railway authorities put up a chart exactly 3 hours before the scheduled departure for status of RAC tickets and details of the berth.

· That is with regards to ticket booking, the other things you can check before doing the booking is concessional rates. There are concessional rates that are applicable to school children, senior citizens, railway employees, defence personnel and others. A check of these can help you save a lot of cost in case of travelling.

· One of the most important things is, if the journeys are long and if there are no pantry cars available in the train that you booked your tickets then it is recommended that you carry enough food that can last you for the major part of the journey. This information can be actually gathered from people who have already traveled this route or making inquires at the source station.

· Always keep a copy of the train schedule with us while travelling, this information can really come handy, at least you get to know if the train is on time or not and when to expect your destination.

· Keep the tickets ready for the ticket collector to have a check. In case of e tickets, there needs to be copy of your identity proof without which the journey is considered to be equivalent to ticketless travel. Always remember that duplicate copies of your ID proof will not work, you will need to furnish with the originals.

As said earlier, if your tickets and your berth details are sorted out journey in Indian railways is like a piece of cake very easy to undertake.

To read the Mumbai Local train time table.

Well anyone who is new to Bombay and has been asked to travel all the way from Churchgate to Virar all by himself, can be hassled with the local train naming system. Well at first it might appear as one of the toughest things to get through, but as you get acquainted it will be easier.

Understand Station codes

The local trains are the life line of Mumbai, and for an outsider it might take more than a week to come to terms with short forms. When you look at the indicator and see alphabets like C, A, N, S, you may wonder for a while but you will soon master it.

Mumbai Local Train Timetable · Let’s take a look the abbreviations used on the central line, it starts from Mumbai CST and ends at Khopoli in the southern Zone and Kasara in the Northern Zone. Trains also start from Dadar or Kurla. D stands for Dadar, C for Kurla, G for Ghatkopar, T for Thane, DI for Dombivli, K for Kalyan, A for Ambernath, BL for Badlapur , S for Karjat and KP for Khopoli these abbreviations are used for trains which end at these destinations. Here the S stands for Karjat and is South Bound. For North bound trains on central line further abbreviations used are TL for Titwala, AN for Asangoan and N for Kasara. N stands for North, which means the trains are north bound. Almost 90% of the train journeys start from Mumbai CST (ST) and end in one of the stations.

· The western railways has their local train abbreviations too, starting from C for churchgate, BC for Bombay Central, D for Dadar, B for Bandra, A for Andheri, G for Goregoan, M for Malad, BO for Borivli, BY for Bhayender, BS for Vasai road and V for Virar. Most of the trains start from Churchgate and plied between any of these stations.

Once you are clear with the abbreviations that are used, it is very easy to maneuver through the timetable. All you need to do is understand which side you are travelling to either western or central. Let us take an example, if you are Dadar on western railway and you need to take a train to Andheri, any train which goes to Andheri and ahead will stop at this place. Check the start destination and the end destination, if one of the stations in between is Andheri in the time table book, then that train stops at the station. The other thing that you need to understand is the difference between slow and fast trains. The slow trains stop at all the places, while a fast train has limited stops. It is generally written on the indicator of the places where the train would stop. A slow train is signified by S sign while a fast train is identified by alphabet “F”. Beyond Borivli on western line and Kalyan on Central line, all the trains run slow.

It may sound confusing initially, within a few days you can understand the whole system completely.

People, who are new to Mumbai, must have been fed with amusing stories of traveling in local trains. Well much of it is true, but beyond that it is one of the country’s best run public transport system. The Local trains are deservedly called as the lifeline of Mumbai. As far as the latest statistics go, Mumbai Local trains are eventful in carrying almost close to half of the load of the Indian railways put together.


We all know by now, as we have learnt in our history lessons that first local trains came into existence in India, in 1853 and were run between Mumbai and Thane. Apparently it was the first of its kind in the whole of Asia. As the city of Mumbai grew in terms of density of people, a need for further expansion was called upon. Since then there has been no looking back for the Mumbai Suburban railway popularly called as the local trains.

Zonal Lines

The Mumbai Lifeline – Local Trains Two Zonal railways namely the western and the central railway have come into existence since then. There is an offshoot of Central railway called the harbor line which caters to the satellite city of Mumbai – Navi Mumbai (New Bombay). The western railway run all the way from Churchgate to Dahanu and covers a distance of close to 120 km. The central railway in the meanwhile caters to the southern and Eastern regions and travels across to Khopoli (61 Kms) and Kasara (67 Kms) respectively. Some of the main stations in the western line are Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Borivli. For Central railways the main stations are Mumbai CST, Byculla, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane, Dombivli, and Kalyan. Central and western railway share two stations in common namely Dadar and Parel.


The local trains are plied on both the central and western railways at regular frequency. Especially during the peak hours that is typically during the morning from 7 to 11 and in the evening from 6 to 10 caters to a train almost at an interval of 4-5 minutes. Looking at the overcrowding that happens in these trains, increase in rakes was suggested. So almost half of the local trains now have 12 rakes (coaches) to it. There are already talks of having close to 15 rakes especially to cater to the crowd at peak hours.


For travelling in local trains, all you need to do is get a ticket for the destination you wish to travel for. The minimum rates of the tickets begin from Rs. 4 depending on the distance you planning to travel. Travel can be done either in two classes, one being the general and the other being first. The costs for first class tickets are higher than second class. There are coaches reserved for ladies in a local train for a 9 coach local, 2 of the coaches are reserved and for a 12 coach local 3 are reserved for ladies. There are two coups, specifically used to carry goods; these are used extensively by hawkers.

Even though Mumbai has grown financially, people still use Local trains as their mode of transport as they are faster and cheaper. And Mumbai respects both time and money.

There are lots of services being offered by IRCTC website for the passengers. Some of these services have also been provided by selective mobile service operators via their mobile phones. These mobile operators offer these services via web services where one can book their tickets on mobile.

Booking of I-tickets, E-tickets and Tatkal tickets is one of the major services offered by IRCTC websites. I-ticket service refers to a Railway ticket reservation booked on the IRCTC website where the train tickets are booked on the site and then they are printed and delivered to home by courier by railways.

E-ticket service refers to a Railway ticket reservation booked on the IRCTC website where the electronic reservation slip can be printed by the passenger and later on it can be produced to Railway authority along with proof of personal identification. Tatkal Ticket is booked against Tatkal Quota on IRCTC website by making extra payment of premium charges as per the existed railway rules.

IRCTC Services OfferedThere is a limit on the maximum number of berth booked on IRCTC website and one can book only six berths at a time. However, a maximum of ten tickets can be booked on IRCTC site by an individual user in a calendar month.  Booking on the site can be done against general, ladies, senior citizen, and tatkal quota berths/seats only.

Tatkal Quota berths/seats are allocated in different classes with exception of First Class Air-conditioned (1A) class. Ladies quota is generally allocated in Sleeper class and second sitting. No concession is allowed except senior citizen in case of tickets booked on IRCTC site.

General enquiries available on IRCTC site are Accommodation available for a train/date combination,   Current Status of reserved tickets, Time Table, Train fare, Trains available between a given pair of stations.  IRCTC offers the E-Booking or E-reservation facility for all trains. It also provides for online cancellation facility for E-tickets alone till the time charts are prepared.

Indian Railways is divided into various zones, which are further categorized into divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways was augmented from six to eight in 1951, nine in 1952, and reaching to 16 in 2003. Each railway zone comprises of number of divisions that consists of a divisional headquarters each. There is total of about sixty-seven divisions across the various zones.

Railway ZonesThe Kolkata Metro does not form part of the Indian Railways, however it is owned and operated by IR and for administrative purposes it is considered to possess the status of a zonal railway.

All the sixteen zones and the Kolkata Metro is supervised and regulated by a General Manager (GM) who reports to the Railway Board directly. Divisions under the various zones are controlled by Divisional Railway Managers (DRM).  Divisional Manager is the reporting officer for different divisional officers including engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal & telecommunication, etc.  Divisional officers are responsible for the operation and safeguarding of assets.

(1) Central (CR) :  Headquarter is at Mumbai and include Mumbai, Bhusawal, Pune, Solapur, Nagpur divisions.

(2)  East Central (ECR) :          Headquarter  is  at Hajipur and includeDanapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Sonpur divisions.

(3)  East Coast(ECoR) : Headquarter is at Bhubaneswar and include khurda Road, Sambalpur, Visakhapatnam divisions.

(4) Eastern(ER) : Headquarter is at Kolkata and include Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Malda divisions.

(5)  North Central(NCR) : Headquarter is at Allahabad and include Allahabad, Agra, Jhansi divisions.

Railway Zones
(6) North Eastern(NER) : Headquarter is at Gorakhpur and include Izzatnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi divisions.

(7) North Western(NWR) : Headquarter is at  Jaipur and include Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur divisions.

(8) Northeast Frontier(NFR) :  Headquarter is at Guwahati  and include Alipurduar, Katihar, Lumding, Rangia, Tinsukia divisions.

(9) Northern(NR) : Headquarter is at Delhi and include Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow, Moradabad divisions.

(10) South Central (SCR) : Headquarter is at Secunderabad and include Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Nanded, Vijayawada divisions.

(11)  South East Central (SECR) : Headquarter is at Bilaspur and include Bilaspur, Raipur, Nagpur divisions.

(12) South Eastern(SER) : Headquarter is at Kolkata and include Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi divisions.

(13) South Western(SWR) : Headquarter is at Hubli and include Hubli, Bengaluru, Mysuru divisions.

(14) Southern(SR) :  Headquarter is at Chennai and include chennai, Madurai, Palakkad, Salem, Tiruchchirapalli, Thiruvanathapuram divisions.

(15) West Central(WCR):  Headquarter is at Jabalpur and include Jabalpur, Bhopal, Kota divisions.

(16) Western(WR) : Headquarter is at Mumbai and include Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar divisions.

The entire length of track used by Indian Railways stretches across the distance of 108,805 km and the total route length of the network extends up to 63,465 km.  Approximately 40% of the total track kilometer is electrified.  The ratings of the track section are done on the basis of speeds that range from 75 to 160 km/h.

Railway TracksIndian railways comprises of basically four types of gauges including the Broad gauge (Wider than the 1,435 mm), the Standard gauge, the meter gauge and two narrow gauge (762 mm and 610 mm). Broad gauge is the chief gauge utilized by the Indian railway and the Unigauge project is being carried out by railways which will convert all tracks to broad gauge subsequently.

Indian broad gauge measuring 1,676 mm has been the most widely used gauge in India that covers 89,771 km of track.

The meter gauge measuring 1,000 mm is common in some regions with less traffic. The Narrow gauges are laid on a small number of routes which lie in hilly terrains and in some private railways based on the consideration of the cost.  These routes are complicated enough to convert them to broad gauge.

Narrow gauges extend the distance of about 3,350 km along the hill lines. It chiefly comprises of the Kalka-Shimla Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Railway TracksBased on the range of track temperature, Indian Railways categorizes the country into four zones. The greatest temperature variation takes place in the state of Rajasthan, where the disparity in temperature may surpass 70 °C.

Sleepers (ties) used are prepared of prestressed concrete at majority of the tracks. Apart from that steel or cast iron posts are also used. Few older lines use teak sleepers. Metal sleepers were also widely used prior to the arrival of concrete sleepers.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is government of India enterprise and a subsidiary of the Indian Railways headquartered at New Delhi, India. It extends the facilities of catering, tourism and online train ticket booking across India. It is part of the Indian Railways and is widely used website that experiences heavy traffic.

IRCTC Awards and achievements

Within a short duration of its inception, the IRCTC website had made great progress and today it had become one of the largest websites in the Asia-Pacific region serving the needs of about lakhs of registered users. It is also among the fastest growing e-commerce websites.

IRCTC Awards and achievements IRCTC has been awarded with numerous awards including the National Tourism Award of Excellence presented by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, and National Award for E-Governance for the year 2007-08 jointly given by Department of IT, Govt. of Haryana and Govt. of India, Genius of the Web Award for year 2007 by CNBC for being the “Best E-Governance PSU Site”.

IRCTC Tourism Unit of West Zone was declared winner in the event held in Mumbai from 9 to 11 Feb 2008 in the category of   “Best Value Leisure Product”.  IRCTC has also won the National award for E-Governance for the year 2007-08 for being “Best Citizen Centric Application”.   IRCTC Tourism Unit was declared winner for the category Most Innovative Product in TTF & OTM 2007 held in Mumbai in Feb 2007.

IRCTC has won the CSI-Nihilent E-Governance award in 2007 for “Best E-Governance Project”.  It has also won the ICICI Bank Retail Excellence Award in the year 2005 and Path Breaker Award from Dataquest in the year 2003 and 2004.

IRCTC has been set up by the Railways Ministry with the basic reason of adopting the professional approach in the catering, tourism and online booking services and upgrading these services by active public private participation. Today, Indian Railways is rendering its services to 13 million passengers every day, spanning global volumes in hospitality and catering sectors.