Posted by: tonkatsudelights | October 1, 2007

Onboard Shatabdi Express – From Kalka to Delhi


When I said to some people that I will take a train in one of my travel segment in India, they were surprised. And very much concerned, “Oh, are you sure it’s safe? And clean?”

Errr… yeah, of course! 

What they don’t know is that India does have a first class and luxurious train, connecting major cities in India, called Shatabdi Express. At 130 kmh it runs faster than most of the other trains in India. The fastest would be the Shatabdi Express that connects Delhi to Bhopal. It runs at 150 kmh.

I guess, most people’s image about train in India came from the movies or the news they watch on TV. Almost always, the trains depicted in those movies/news are the very basic economy class trains. Crowded. Non-air conditioned. Probably no meals served. No seat assignments. People just sometimes sit down wherever they can lay their bums on. Expect to have some animals joining you in the carriage.

Let me tell you, that is also how the economy class trains in Indonesia look like.

Shatabdi Express, though, is different. Its carriages come with air-conditioning. The seats are first class. Comparable to those airlines seats, with even more leg rooms. Or closer to our hearts, to those first class seats on sleeper bus to Malaysia. Reclined seats with foot rests. Yes, by now, I suppose you can imagine already.

Or, better still. Don’t have to imagine. Just look at the pictures down there.


The meals served may not be the best of all. But that will do. During the 4 hours’ trip from Kalka to Delhi, I was served a full tray of snacks with a pot of tea. Then soup and rolls. And finally, the main course itself. Which is, none other than chicken curry with rice and roti. Ehm… yeah, until now I still can not differentiate the different roti that they have in India…


They provided a mix of western and Indian snacks. I especially like their bhujia. The only problem is they provided too much snacks! I couldn’t finish them even until the time they took my tray away.

 –> Soup and roll are the only things I do not like on this meal. Soup is tasteless and the roll is cold and hard.

 –> The main course. Chicken curry, lentils, rice, yoghurt, and roti. I loooove Indian food! Hehe…

At the end of the journey I was stuffed alright. And tired of talking as well. For I spent those 4 hours talking and talking to my direct report. A nice Indian guy who needs to be a little bit more stern and aggressive.

Anyway, back to Shatabdi Express. All of the above, I paid only about US$40 for a one-way trip from Kalka to Delhi. I don’t know about what you think, but I think that is good value for money.

If Jet Airways flight is unavailable, I’d take Shatabdi Express anytime!



  1. wow… u ate all that in 4 hours?

    at 130kmh, can you see scenery? I love taking pictures of scenery – when everyone else on board were napping.

  2. ehm… yah… I couldn’t finish all, of course… Didn’t finish the snacks.. the soup and the roll… I think their main purpose is really to stuff people… hehe…

    no lah… i think generally people in india eat quite a lot… at least that’s what i would notice from the people around me…

    at 130kmh, on a train, it’s possible to see a faraway scenery. anything close by will be difficult to see, but if the scenery is far away, you can enjoy them… in singapore you don’t get to take a train ride across some mountains or valleys or paddy fields a lot eh? that can be quite a breathtaking view, you know… i love to take an early morning train when I was in Indonesia… and enjoy the view of the sunrise faraway…

    but but but… i’m not sure about taking pictures though… i never try before. but i guess if your camera is good, it shouldn’t be a problem, no?

  3. though they eat alot, i see they are mostly vegetarians. maybe, i’m wrong? not sure.

    never tried before. Buses don’t travel more than 90kmh I supposed. But, I’ve seen someone else posted pics from a fast speed train call “Maglev”. Guess it’s possible on high ISO in bright daylight 🙂

  4. hey would just like to know if there’s any difference between the first class of shatabdi and the normal chair car? if there is what is it? because the price is almost double..

  5. hey sorry i missed your comment cos i was already away on vacation. i’ve never seen the normal chair car by myself but according to some Indian colleagues they are different from the first class shatabdi. sorry if i can’t help you any better!

  6. Chair cars in Indian trains are usually present when the train completes its entire journey during the daytime itself.Shatabdi is a fully air-conditioned train and hence the chair cars are air-conditioned as well. The normal chair car in Indian trains would mean a Non Air-conditioned chair car.

  7. There are few AC chaircar trains also run by northern railways. These trains are not similar to shatabdi trains as they take more time and no food is served.

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