Shatabdi Express Journeys with Indian Railway

By Mridula Dwivedi September 22, 2015 34 Comments , ,

There was a time when trains used to be my favorite mode of travel. I still like it but I would happily take a flight over a train if it is available. Among all the journeys that I end up embarking on trains by the Indian Railway, I prefer the Shatabdi Express experiences the best. And there are many reason for this:

Short Journeys

Train Journeys

Most Shatabdi journeys are half-a-day journeys. By the time you start fidgeting, you are already halfway through to your destination! Now is that not a plus? My major quarrel with the Indian railways is that they do not keep the trains clean, not even the AC, not even the premium trains like Rajdhani. I can take all this for half-a-day, or at best overnight, beyond that I do not feel thrilled at the prospect of train travel.


As I have to get up really early to catch a Shatabdi Express train, it helps that they provide the breakfast. I know there are various horror videos about train food, but I still manage to eat breakfast most of the times. Dinner is another matter though. I have completely stopped eating dinner on the Shatabdi. I prefer to go home and eat, however late it gets. There have been some attempts to improve the breakfast, but most of the time it is quite uninspiring.

That Window Seat

Train Tracks

I love window seats, be it bus, train, plane, car, or whatever! When I book my train tickets, I make sure that I have a window seat. It is easier to pass time sitting by a window. This goes for a toss if my daughter is traveling with me. She doesn’t let anyone else sit at the window. It is all hers for all the journeys!

Reading a Book

Reading a Book!

In the 5–6 hours that a Shatabdi train takes to reach its destination, I can easily finish a 200–300 page book. In my student life, I read so many books at one go; now one of the places it still happens is inside a Shatabdi Express train. Otherwise, I hardly find time to sit still and finish a book at one go.

Falling Asleep

Most of us have to get up really early to catch a Shatabdi. While I prefer to read a book, I often end up falling asleep, particularly after breakfast! That leaves me somewhat fresh when I arrive at the destination.

As my father used to work for the Railways, it was a way of life for us. He is retired now. It really pains me to see that the maintenance of the Indian Railways has gone down so much. I still love to sit by the window and watch the world go by from a train. It’s just that I have a little patience for the filth that comes with it.

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34 thoughts on “Shatabdi Express Journeys with Indian Railway”

  1. Its been years I traveled in train. But I have lots of nice childhood memories from train journey. Nice photos as usual, Mridula and it was like traveling with you. wonderful experience πŸ™‚

  2. Train journeys have always been special. As kids we used to travel a lot especially the long distance ones which takes us from the northern part of India to the southern part (so almost 2 days in train!) where we could interact with strangers, read novels, etc ..but now things have changed…Its no more the same… though the memories are still intact … πŸ™‚

  3. My love for train journeys has grown over the years. While the filth is a deterrent, I am generally able to put up with it.
    The 2 biggest incentives of travelling by train in a country as vast and diverse as India is (1) the food, you get to taste every local cuisine/speciality and (2) the people you get to meet.
    Leaving with a quote from Paul Theroux which pretty much sums up what I feel, “there has hardly been a time when I have seen a train and not wished I was on it” πŸ™‚

  4. Its good that you write about Indian railways and your experiences with them once in a while (I remember reading your old posts on trains). I hope railway ministry start taking stock of feedback by passionate travelers like you and improve the conditions as train journey can be very comfortable particularly for families with young kids.

    1. True Roohi, my husband once dared to travel from Bangalore to Delhi with Chhavi but I have refused till now. I end up taking a flight!

  5. I always prefer Shatabdi Express whenever I’ve to travel by train. I think, if only we have a little more time, train journeys are much more comfortable and enjoyable than flights.

  6. I love train journeys .. reminds me of school summer holidays when we went all the way to Kolkata by punjab mail took 3 days to reach πŸ™‚

    and delhi chandigarh shatabadi is a blessing for me .. very dangerous to travel by road πŸ™‚


  7. I love train journeys too! Especially the long distance ones that cut across the length of India… love seeing the terrain change and the features of the people. Love eating all the specialities at the big stations… love crossing major rivers and tossing a coin to make a wish. But I can’t agree with you more on the cleanliness part of it… it just seems to be getting worse! πŸ™

  8. Love… Loveee train journey. The long distance journeys gives so many experience right from interacting with new people…to beautiful natural scenery.. and the fun of going by train in group (with friends/family) πŸ™‚ and I have started dreaming of vacations in my mind πŸ™‚

  9. Trains are lifeline of a common Indian Mridula ji . Shatabadi ka safar bahut achchha lagaa . you can always find these words as ΰ€¦ΰ€΅ΰ€Ύΰ€–ΰ€Ύΰ€¨ΰ€Ύ on both sides of the track specially travelling in northern India.

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

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