Travel in India has a wide variety of options including air travel, road travel, and rail travel. All the mode of travel offers the best comfort based on the traveler’s requirements. However, travel by train especially during the daytime is an enthralling experience for any visitor to India. Indian Railways operates trains in India. New Delhi is the headquarter for Railway Board which manages the day-to-day operations in India.
Travel by train is categorized into two different types i.e. non-air-conditioned travel and air-conditioned travel. The coach composition of ordinary/express/superfast trains are usually as per the below-
- First Class Air-conditioned Coach
- Air-conditioned Two Tier
- Air-conditioned Three Tier
- Non-air-conditioned sleeper class
Many travelers usually prefer to travel by air-conditioned coaches which otherwise offers superior comfort. Further Indian Railways also operates premium air-conditioned superfast trains in India. They include Rajdhani Express that connects New Delhi with the rest of the state capitals and Shatabdi Express which connects major cities to other popular towns within a span of 6-8 hours. Shatabdi Express are fully air-conditioned trains that offer seating comfort through chair car coaches and are most preferred by travelers to perform short day journeys between major cities.
The other popular category of trains includes Duronto Express, which connects major cities and towns. The journey usually lasts for about 1-2 days and is completely air-conditioned. The comfort and facilities offered onboard Duronto Express is similar to the services offered by Rajdhani Express. You can read more about traveling by Rajdhani Express in this blog
More about Shatabdi Express
Shatabdi Express under the Indian Railway network began its operations in 1989. The year 1989 marked the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. The term ‘Shatabdi’ refers to ‘century’ and Shatabdi Express was thus named to pay tributes to the leader. Almost all the Indian states have Shatabdi Express connectivity.
Shatabdi Express operate on three types of chair car classes-
- Anubhuti Coach
- First Class Executive Chair Car
- Air-conditioned Chair Car
Anubhuti coach was recently introduced under the First Class air-conditioned category. The facilities and superior comfort offered onboard the Anubhuti coach is excellent. The seat configuration consists of a 2x2 arrangement in a coach. The seats offer superior comfort with the facility of push-back and tray holders. A complimentary water bottle, newspaper, and a reading light is offered to the passengers during the journey. Food is also available to the passengers with the choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian food. Food is inclusive of ticket prices and is also an optional component, as the passengers may even opt-out of food during the journey at the time of booking the ticket.
First Class Executive Chair Car-First Class Executive Chair Car coaches fall under the premium category of train coaches. The facilities offered here are similar to the Anubhuti coach with exception of seats that are configured as per ICF/LHB standards. The tray table is provided opposite to the seat which is a foldable material. Food is also available and is included in ticket fare and is similar to Anubhuti coach. As also food is optional and passengers can avail to opt-out of food at the time of booking a ticket.
Air-conditioned Chair Car- Air-conditioned chair car offer basic accommodation and comes with air-conditioning facility. The AC coaches are manufactured as per LHB standards which is an advanced version compared to ICF rakes. The seating arrangement is either 2x3 configuration or 3x2 configuration in a coach. Food is offered as an additional component and is included in the ticket price. As usual, passengers even have the option of not availing of the food while booking a rail ticket.
Food in Shatabdi Express
Food is an important component of Shatabdi Express. Shatabdi Express operates several trains from major cities and almost all of the trains end their journey within half a day’s time and the journey time is usually 6 to 8 hours. Passengers are provided four-course meals and snacks as per the train running time in the day. The different types of food served include-
- Welcome Drink- Upon embarkation
- Breakfast- 6am to 10am
- Lunch- 11 am to 3 pm
- Evening Tea- 4 pm to 7 pm
- Dinner- 7 pm to 9 pm
Anubhuti Coach and First-Class Executive Coach passengers are offered food in bone china cutlery and ticket prices are higher than air-conditioned chair car. The passengers in the air-conditioned chair car are served food in disposable aluminum trays. The passengers have an option to choose from vegetarian food or non-vegetarian food from the menu.
The vegetarian breakfast menu onboard Shatabdi Express for First Class passengers usually consist of the following items
- Cereals served with hot milk
- Welcome drink
- A Banana
- Choice of idly/vada/poha/upma/cutlet/paratha or any other dish
- Tomato sauce
- Fruit jam
- Choice of hot coffee/tea
The lunch/dinner menu onboard Shatabdi usually consists of the following items-
- Tomato/Sweet Corn Soup
- Two Rotis
- Dal gravy
- Dry vegetables
- Paneer Subji
- Jeera Rice
- Mixed pickles
- Salt/Sugar packets
Shatabdi Express Network
Shatabdi Express has an extensive network across all the railway zones. Shatabdi Express caters to tourists and businessmen, amongst other travelers who intend to perform the journey within a short span of six to eight hours. Shatabdi Express runs from every major capital city in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai Central, Bengaluru, Secunderabad.
They connect to some of the prominent cities like Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Ajmer via Jaipur, Pune, Ranchi, Patna, Lucknow, Kanpur Central, Bhopal, Agra, Gwalior, Naharlagun, Kalka-Shimla, Kathgodam, Dibrugarh, Puri, etc.
Shatabdi Express has been running successfully since 1989, and Indian Railways is at the forefront to introduce more services on different routes. The popularity and brand identity make Shatabdi Express one of the best modes of train travel in India.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Varun Dambal (author) from Bangalore on May 18, 2021:
Liz Westwood from UK on May 18, 2021:
I have learnt a lot about travel by train in India from reading your informative articles.