I have always enjoyed my Train journeys. I am sure you do too; so would the millions who travel daily on Indian Railways. Paeans have been written about our great Public sector undertaking by special authors. Mine is a small attempt to write about just five Special Trains of India based on my perceptions and experiences.
The experience of a Rail journey cannot be put in words. Imagine the logistics here. 23 million people travel by over 12600+ special trains of India covering a distance of 1,15,000kms daily. Check out these Special trains of India and tell me if you feel so too!
Luxury on wheels
Photo by Train Chartering & Private Rail Cars
Indian Railways have introduced many luxury trains for the elite as well as to entice foreign travellers. The Maharaja Express is one among the Special Trains of India that was introduced in 2010. This train covers seven journeys starting either at Mumbai or Delhi and runs through the breathtaking and vibrant city and village scapes.
The interiors of these trains are plush, what with 5-star hotel like facilities. Deluxe suits, Junior suits, Grand Presidential suite with ensuite bathrooms, Individual temperature controls, electronic safety boxes, Internet, dining rooms to seat 42 members, Conference halls are some features of this train.
Most of these trains tour the royal locales of Rajasthan. One train covers the Mughal empire belt. Two trains run south up to Trivandrum passing through ancient ruins of Karnataka and Mahabalipuram. Maharaja express has been voted the best global luxury train for 4 times since its inception, beating trains like the Orient express at its own game! A true Luxury on Wheels experience indeed!
The Train: Maharaja Express
States Covered: Depends on the route
Distance travelled: Depending on the route
Time taken: 7 days and 8 nights on most trains
The best scenery out of your window
Photo by Karthik Narayana
Luxury can be inside and outside the train. But it is man-made. The eyes look for natural beauty, which is found aplenty while on board the Goa Express. This train passes through pink blossoms, green foliage, thick jungles long dark caves and red clay landscapes. It also passes through the famous and eye-ball grabbing Dudhsagar falls; one of the reasons it gets a mention in most favourite trains lists. Of course, there are other Special Trains of India in this route like Poorna express and Goa Sampark Kranti express.
The Train: Goa express
States Covered: Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and a part of Rajasthan.
Distance travelled: 2202 kms
Time taken: 39 hours 30 minutes
Brush past white fields of snow
Have you seen the movie, Polar express? Have you ever wondered, sitting especially in Chennai, if you can ever watch falling snow in your lifetime? Take a ride on the Baramulla Banihal express during winter, and your soul would ask no more!
Admire the Train drivers’ courage to pull the train in spite of the rapidly falling snow. Enjoy the snow-laden Chinars and white cottages visible outside the window. Howl with kids when you pass the 11.2-kilometre tunnel on the Pir Panjal range, another feature of this train. For South Indian this is one of the special trains of India, that should not be missed. There are four other trains on the same route and you can take them as well.
The Train: Baramulla-Banihal DEMU
States Covered: Jammu and Kashmir
Distance travelled: 135kms
Time taken: 2 hours 45 minutes
Can a train go over the Sea
Photo by ashwin kumar
India is the only country in the world surrounded by two seas and one ocean. Many trains crisscross this landmass in all the four directions. One unique train is called the Boat mail. It travels on the 2.3 kms long Pamban bridge which connects the mainland to Rameshwaram island. The bridge is so built that it can be lifted up, right at the centre for ships to pass through.
The train travels at a speed of 15 KPH only on this bridge. The view of the roaring sea below as the heavy winds lash your faces is out-of-this-world.
The Train: Chennai Egmore Rameshwaram express
States Covered: Tamil Nadu
Distance travelled: 665 Kms
Time taken: 14 hours 5 minutes
This Journey that seems to never end
Finally, a train whose journey never seems to end! This one runs 4,233 kms from Northeastern Assam and reaches the southern tip of India, Kanyakumari to be precise. This route seems to hold the ninth position in terms of longest Global train routes! Named after Swami Vivekananda, this train passes eight states of India during its journey. It wins on the distance-basis over the Himsagar express that travels from Kashmir to Kanyakumari covering 12 Indian states in between!
Photo by PRADHAN SAGAR
The Train: Viveka Express
States Covered: 8 Indian states
Distance travelled: 4233 Kms
Time taken: 80 hours 15 minutes 55 stops
I wish that the journey never ends……… There are many more Special trains of India that are unique. But that will need more reams to cover and can wait for another day. What say?
Featured Photo by Train Chartering & Private Rail Cars