Ranked! The ACTUALLY fastest trains in India


Indian Railways is growing at a rapid rate. The infrastructure is now safer, clean and more efficient than the system of yesteryears. The Indian railways is now working towards increasing the speed of trains and cutting on travel time. This is one field where the Indian Railways is lagging far behind other developed countries. Some trains in India are capable of running at speeds over 180kmph they cannot do so because of the tracks and the quality of coaches.

Although numbers like 180kmps and 160kmph sound impressive they hardly tell the whole picture. These LHB coaches although rated for higher speeds are not comfortable at those speeds and hence the Indian railways is handicapped at a speed of 130kmph. A slow acceleration, as well as unsuitable tracks and interchanges, means that none of the Indian trains has an average speed of 100kmph. This list shows the fastest train in India based on their average speeds because that is what matters when it comes to train travel.

Vande Bharat, 95 kmph

Vande Bharat or Train 18

Vande Bharat has been truly a development in the right direction. With Train 18, now called Vande Bharat express, our Indian railways has learnt a lot and is poised to better things in the future. We could have easily thrown money at Japanese or German technology and asked them to build trains for us but Indian railways decided to build high-speed EMU on its own.

Now we have the R&D to manufacture a better train than Train 18 for its next version. The knowledge gained from this endeavour has been immense. Currently, the Vande Bharat between Varanasi and New Delhi is the fastest Indian train and rightfully so. This train covers a distance of 759kms in 8 hours with an average speed of 95kmph.

Gatimaan Express 92 kmph

Gatimaan Express

Gatimaan Express is the train with the highest top speed in India. It is however not the fastest between its origin and termination as we have seen above. The Gatimaan Express is currently the second-fastest train in India with an average speed of 92kmph. Gatimaan Express runs between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Jhansi a distance of 403 km that it covers in 4 hours 25 minutes.

When it comes to top speed however the Gatimaan Express outclasses Vande Bharat with a top speed of 160kmph. The difference between these two trains is the propulsion system. Vande Bharat is an Electric Multiple Unit meaning there is more than one propulsion system distributed throughout the train whereas Gatimaan is pulled by a single locomotive. Usually the WAP5 or WAP7 of Indian Railways.

The EMUs are generally quicker off the line than loco pulled trains and hence their average speed is better.

Mumbai Central New Delhi Tejas Rajdhani 89kmph

Mumbai Rajdhani with Tejas rakes

Rajdhani Express has been the pride of Indian Railways ever since the first one rolled in 1969. This train is among the high priority trains in Indian Rwilays and is always allowed to run on time. The 3rd fastest train in India is the Tejas Rajdhani which runs between Mumbai and New Delhi. It covers a distance of 1386km in 15 hours 32 minutes with an average speed of 89kmph.

Recently the coaches of this Rajdhani was turned into Tejas livery ones with automated doors. These trains are anti door plating coaches which I know many enjoy despite the involvement of the risk factor.

New Delhi Kanpur central Shatabdi 88kmph

Shatabdi Express function as a business train for people who wants to travel between two financially strong cities for business purposes. A peculiar thing about Shatabdi trains is that they don’t run overnight since they don’t have sleeper cars in them.

All Shatabdi trains are fast but the fastest Shatabdi train is New Delhi Kanpur central Shatabdi. It covers a distance of 440km in 5 hours at an average speed of 88kmph making it the 4th fastest train in India.

Mumbai CMT Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani 86kmph

Rajdhani Express

Another Rajdhani that graces this list is the Mumbai CMT Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani. It covers a distance of 1535 in 17 hours 55 minutes making it the 5th fastest train in India. This train runs with LHB coaches in classic red livery.

New Delhi Howrah Rajdhani 85kmph

Rajdhani Express trains are fast as you can see from the trend here. At 6th position is another Rajdhani namely the New Delhi Horah Rajdhani that passes through Gaya with an average speed of 85kmph. It covers a distance of 1451 in 17 hours 5 minutes.

Other Rajdhani, Sampark Kranti, Duronto, Garib Rath 83-82 kmph

Sampark Kranti hauled by a diesel loco

At the 7th spot, there are many Rajdhani, Sampark Kranti, Duronto and Garib Rath trains with an average speed of 83-82 kph. Since many trains run at these speeds we cannot single out one particular train for the claim of 7th fastest train in India.

It is also a good thing that many trains are able to run at these speeds which was a far fetched dream just a decade ago. Superfast train in 2000 ran at 60 odd kmph speeds making train travel slow and uncomfortable.

This article would soon need to be updated as Indian railways keep on growing at an immense pace. Trains like the RRTS around Delhi and the truly high-speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad would soon topple Vande Bharat from the top spot. It is time India got into the club of HIgh-speed trains with the likes of Japan, Europe and China. Those days are not far when you can travel to any part of the country overnight.

Until then these fastest trains in India will do just fine!

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