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India Rail Holidays

India Rail Holidays

Discover India by Train

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From the sky-scraping heights of the Himalaya to the paradisical beaches of Kerala, India is a land of mesmerising contrasts and sumptuous colours, a place of all conceivable landscapes, each epic and incredible, and a deep, tangible spirituality that will linger long in your soul even after you leave. Vibrant and thrilling, it’s full of iconic sights and magical experiences that are destined to become unforgettable memories – the glitz of Rajasthan’s maharajas, the ethereal beauty of the Taj Mahal, the hustle and bustle of street markets, the authenticity of life on Varanasi’s ghats, the calm of Kerala’s backwaters, to name just a few.

The amount of rail travel you'll be enjoying varies from tour to tour. You may be exploring a country travelling predominantly by train or perhaps just getting a flavour of how the locals get about with one or two select journeys. We've also included those tours that include a journey on iconic scenic trains. Take a look at the tour inclusions to see how many rail journeys you'll be enjoying in each instance. 

Our Rail Holidays

India's Railways

Travelling by Train in India

Travelling by Train in India

Travelling by train is a quintissential experience in India. Nothing like the over-crowded, people sitting-on-the-roof-and-hanging-out-the-door affair that many believe, the trains are comfortable, safe and offer a window into life on the subcontinent that you wouldn’t otherwise glimpse. Although not known for being on time, India’s railway remains an essential network for connecting people in the farthest corners of the land with cities and services. Rail holidays in India will always offer that extra element of adventure!
Shatabdi Express

Shatabdi Express

Premium day trains, Shatabdi Expresses connect major cities, making a limited number of spots en route. Air-conditioned with reserved seating, they are comfortable and fast, with older diesel and electric locomotives travelling at between 110 and 150 kilometres per hour, and the 2019 introduced high-speed locomotives travelling up to 180 kilometres an hour. Seats are cushioned with a recline and a tray table, and tickets include a food service that is delivered to your seat.
 
We use Shatabdi Express trains on several of our tours, travelling between Agra and Jhansi on Highlights of India, from Chennai to Bangalore on Kerala and the Southern Highlights, from Shimla to Delhi on Northern India Discovery and India by Rail.
Gatimaan Express

Gatimaan Express

A semi-highspeed service, these trains can run up to 160 kilometres an hour between Jhansi and New Delhi (with a stop at Agra for the Taj Mahal). Air-conditioned chair cars provide a comfortable ride and large windows offer great views over the passing landscapes. Relatively new with modern facilities, onboard a Gatimaan there is complimentary wi-fi, an app that gives access to music, tv and music and even bio-vacuum toilets! A dedicated train host will be on hand to assist and will bring you a meal in your seat as part of your ticket.  
 
We use a Gatimaan Express to travel between Delhi and Agra on our India by Rail tour. 
Vande Bharat Express

Vande Bharat Express

Similar to the Shatabdi Express services, the Vande Bharat are premium day trains, connecting big cities and state capitals on journeys less than 10 hours. They are semi-high speed but are actually one of India’s fastest trains, capable of reaching speeds up to 200 kilometres an hour. Launched in 2019, they boast plenty of modern facilities like wifi, an entertainment system, at seat plugs and reading lights plus bio-vacuum toilets and sensor-based taps. They are also air-conditioned. The seating is reserved and airline style, in a 2-3 configuration. A meal is included in the price of your ticket which is catered onboard and delivered to your seat. We use Vande Bharat services between Jaipur and Delhi and Delhi and Varanasi on our India by Rail tour.
Rajdhani Express

Rajdhani Express

A premium service that connects New Delhi to state capitals and big cities, the Rajdhani Express trains only stop at prominent stations and are given the highest priority of all the trains on the network. These air-conditioned, reserved seating, long distance trains have exclusively sleeper carriages in three classes, First Class (2- or 4- berth bedrooms), 2-tier (open berths with curtains for privacy) and 3-tier (open berths). Trains travel up to 140 kilometres an hour and food is served onboard at your seat.

Mountain Railways of India

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal. It travels into the foothills of the Himalaya, from 100 metres above sea level to 2,200 metres, passing through India’s highest train station at Ghoom (2,300 metres), using six zig zags and five loops. Today, a fleet of six diesel locomotives operate the service.

On our Northern India Discovery tour, you can ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway between Darjeeling and Ghoom.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

 Niligiri Mountain Railway passes through the tea valleys of the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, running between Mettupalayam, and Udhagamandalam (formerly Ooty) via Coonoor. It is India’s only rack railway, using an Abt rack and pinion system to climb the steep gradient between Mettupalayam and Coonoor. The line is operated partly by steam and partly by diesel locomotives.

Ride a section of the Niligiri Mountain Railway, between Ooty and Coonoor, on our Kerala & the Southern Highlights tour. 

Kalka-Shimla Railway

Kalka-Shimla Railway

The Kalka-Shimla Railway was built to traverse the mountainous route between Kalka and Shimla (the summer capital of the British Raj) in the Himalayan foothills. The line features 103 tunnels, 912 curves and 969 bridges and viaducts, and climbs 1,419 metres. Diesel locomotives are used to operate the line and the rolling stock features vistadome carriages.

Enjoy the views on the journey between Shimla and Kandaghat on our India by Rail and Northern India Discovery tours.