Train types in India

 Indian rail system is one of the most complex system in the world. If you are reading this probably you are trying to figure out which is best type train for you.

Different trains meet different requirements of travelers. Some trains fill the need of traveling long distances.

Others are planned to cut the travel time. Some trains help in connecting the remote villages to the country and few trains make the opposite ends of the country meet.

Different types of trains and coaches can be overwhelming at first. But once you understand them you can benefit by booking a ticket according to your specific needs and budget.

The trains are planned designed by considering following factors

    • Speed: Some trains take more time to travel because stop on all stations. Others stop on only major stations. So they travel quick.
    • Facilities: Some have a pantry car, wifi internet, some don’t have those facilities. 
    • Coaches : Some trains have only one type of coach. Others have combination of 5 types coaches
    • Day or night travel day trains have sitting chairs while night trains have sleeping berths. 
    • Theme some are toy trains, that tickets cost in cents. Others are luxurious tourism trains that ticket price can put a whole in your credit card.


  1. Duronto Express – FASTEST TRAIN IN INDIA

    Need speed?
    Go for Duranto! Duranto train is the newest and fastest kind of  trains on Indian Railway network. Its becoming a cheaper alternative then flying especially on distances ranging between 500-1000 km routes.

    Name meaning: Duranto – made up of  दूर (far) अन्तो (End). Means ending distances
    in 2010
    AC3,  AC2, AC1  some trains also have CC EC 3E and sleeper
    Avg speed:  82 kmph
    Purpose:    To become a flying alternative and connect long distance cities.If you want to quickly reach to other part of the country using land mode of transport then Duranto is the answer!

    Special facts:

    • The outer design of the train is distinct style.
    • This train has no stops between source and destination station. (except a couple of technical stops)
    • It is the fastest travel way to travel on land in India.


    • Connects major cities of India, new trains will be added soon.
      Following services are operationalDelhi with Kolkata, Lucknow, Allahabad, Chennai, Pune, Ernakulum, Secundarabad, Kolkata
      Mumbai to Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kolkata
      Bangalore to Kolkata


  2.  Rajdhani Trains – THE OLD GOLD !
    This is the old-gold name in Indian Railway for luxury and speed. Rajdhani is the second fastest train type in India avg speed going upto 80kmph.

    Difference between Rajdhani and Duranto:

    • Duranto has no stops between two large stations. Rajdhani stops on few major stations on the route.
    • Few stops in Rajdhani makes a tiny difference in time taken in Rajdhani Vs Duranto.
    • Rajdhani is still preferred choice of traveling long distances. Because travelers get free food, snacks, tea/coffee on the board! Which Duranto does nt.
    • Rajdhani trains only have AC1, AC2, AC3 classes while each Duranto train has different set of classes.
    • Rajdhani trains do not have a Tatkal Quota.

    Name meaning:
    means Capital. Rajdhani trains connect different parts of country to the Capital New Delhi.

    in 1969
    AC3,  AC2, AC1
    Avg speed:  80 kmph
    Purpose:   It was started to connect the Capital (Rajdhani) to other major parts of India. It is a preferred travel train for upper middle class section of the society. It offers comfortable overnight travel option.

    Other facts:

    •     The design of the train is very new and different.
    •     This train has no stops between source and destination station. (except a couple of technical stops)
    •     It is the second fastest travel way to travel on land in India.

    Connects New Delhi with almost all major parts of the country. To see a complete list of trains click here

  3. Shatabdi Express   

    Shatabdi are perfect alternative to bus travel.

    These trains connect major cities all over India and runs MOSTLY during day time. It does not have sleeper classes like the other trains. From inside they look like aeroplane’s sitting arrangement.

    They are perfect for business travelers, who quickly want to get to other city for a meeting without prior plans.

    Easier to get tickets on
    These trains are beneficial because they accommodate more number of seats in the same coach size. And hence availability of seats is not much of an issue on these trains.

    Another reason that these trains have easier availability of tickets because it covers comparatively shorter routes where bus travel is also popular.


    • Quick travel for distances upto 1000 kms. Avg speed 80 kmph.
    • Inter- connects major cities all over India and not just the capital.
    • Coach types: Chair Car and Executive Class
    • Last minute tickets: You can buy a ticket even 5 minutes before the train departure, much like a bus ticket.
    • Affordable luxury: Is comparatively cheaper than Rajdhani.
    • Meals: Free meals and snacks are offered on the board. 
    • Routes some of the popular stations include: Mumbai – Ahmedabad, Goa, Delhi- Ajmer, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Jaipur and several others. 
  4. Garib Rath    

    Travel like rich without putting a hole in your pocket!

    Garib Rath (Chariot of the poor) is a newly introduced train which is comprised of 3E AC compartments. Some of these trains also have CC coaches.


    • These are first trains to introduce the concept of 3E class.
    • This is very much like the 3AC class the only difference is that there is an additional berth on the side seats.
    • Fully air conditioned trains.
    •  Designed for those who cannot afford to travel in the expensive Shatabti and Rajdhani Express.
    •  Garib Rath means “Chariot of the Poor”. The maximum speed is 130 km/h.
    • Runs on long distance routes.
  5. Jan Shatabdi  

    Want to travel long routes, in quick time without spending much money? Go for Jan-Shatabdi!

    These trains are best for frugal travelers who do not want to spend too much money on luxury. The Non-AC chair car is very cheap on this train. Itcosts almost equal to the unreserved class in express/mail trains.

    For example, a comfortable train ticket from Mumbai to Goa covering a distance of 800 km will cost you 197 Rs ($4) on this train!

    Another benefit is that unlike the sleeper coach express trains there are almost always seats available. So you don’t have to worry much about reservation!


    • Jan Shatabdi Express are a more affordable variety of the Shatabdi Express,
    • It has both CC AC and non-AC classes 2nd sitting.
    • The maximum speed is 130 km/h. Avg speed is almost equal to Shatabdi.
    • This train mostly runs during only daytime and connects cities with distance between 500-1000 km 
  6. Sampark Kranti Express

    Sampark Kranti Express trains provide quick connectivity from different states to the national capital, New Delhi.

    Meaning of name
    Sampark means connectivity. Kranti means revolution. The revolution to connect other parts of the nation to the capital!

    Looks like express runs like Rajdhani
    These trains have the coach composition of common Express/Mail trains (combination of Sleeper, AC, unreserved coaches) and speed touching shoulders of Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi trains.

    When to use these trains
    These trains are good second alternative if you do not get availability in Garib Rath and other trains.

    Also suitable for an overnight journey in sleeper or AC class. These trains not only offer good speed but are also very comfortable.


  7. Superfast Express/Mail

    • These trains run on longer routes and have more number of stops as compared to trains discussed above.
    • These trains usually stops on smaller stations and small towns.
    • It is the oldest and most common type of trains in India. It is also one of the preferred way to travel for middle class.
    • The average speed of these trains is at least 55 KMPH
    • There is an extra super-fast charge applied on this train which does not exist in other lower train types. 
  8. Express TrainsThese are the most common kind of trains in India. This has more stops than their super-fast counterparts, but they stop only at relatively important intermediate stations.


  9. Passenger/Superfast passenger
    These trains usually ply on short distances within a state or bordering state.   These trains stop at small stations and sometimes even very small villages.


  10. Suburban trains    
    These trains operate in the urban areas of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and between Kanpur & Lucknow,usually stop at all stations and have unreserved seating accommodation.

    In some cities these trains can get very very crowded!

  11. Metros and Monorails


    Currently these trains ply in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Delhi and Kolkata has best network of Metro trains in India


Which train is best for you?
Which train is best for you amongst these? Will depend on your specific need and choice. But here are some suggestions and practices:
I want to cover long distance and spend least money

Try to get reservation in Garib
Rath. It is the best way to travel in less money. It connects all major cities and getting reservation is easier because of loads of quotas. If you don’t find a seat available then go for Sampark Kranti express.

Traveling during daytime?
If you are traveling in day time, then Jan-Shatabdi express trains are best. Not only they are fast they also save a lot of money especially if you travel in a 2nd class compartment. And yes they are comfortable too.

More tips on how to get steep discounts in Indian trains>>

I Don’t mind spending money, but I want more facilities
If you are someone who wants a comfortable travel then Rajdhani trains will get you best treatment.

I cannot afford flights and want to quicky go from Delhi to South India
Duranto express will be best for you. The Delhi Chennai Duranto even has a sleeper coach. It won’t cost you more than 600 Rs.

 Hope you have found this information useful. Should you have any questions post your comments below or use contact us page on TOP of this page to contact! Will to answer all questions!

Don’t forget to check out other sections of this site to find useful tips about traveling in Indian railways

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