Ratnagiri: Gem mountain. Why this train was so named is not clear. However, after the Konkan Railway route opened in 1998, there was confusion amongst passengers, as this train went nowhere near the town of Ratnagiri in southern Konkan region. Therefore, the name Ratnagiri Express was dropped, and it remains the LTT – Varanasi Express.
Delhi – Sikar via Rewari – Loharu – Jhunjhunu (MG)
Shekhawati is an historical region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan. It encompasses the administrative districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Some parts of Churu and Nagaur districts are also considered in the Shekhawati region. The inhabitants of Shekhawati are considered brave, sacrificing and hard working people. The region provides the highest number of persons to the Indian Army. The region of Shekhawati is also known as Scotland of India because of its brave, sacrificing and painstaking Rajput people. This explains the name of the train, which means “Soldier”.
Chennai Egmore – Rameswaram (MG)
Adam's Bridge, also known as Rama's Bridge or Ram Sethu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between the islands of Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka. Geological evidence indicates that this bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. The bridge is 48 km long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 ft to 30 ft (1 m to 10 m) deep in places. It was reportedly passable on foot up to the 15th century until storms deepened the channel. The name Rama's Bridge or Rama Sethu (Sanskrit: sethu: bridge) was given to this bridge of shoals, as Hindu legend identifies it with the bridge built by the Vanara (monkey-men) army of Rama , which he used to reach Lanka and rescue his wife Sita from the Rakshasa king, Ravana. The sea separating India and Sri Lanka is called Sethusamudram, Sea of the Bridge.
Shane Avadh Express
Lucknow Jn. – Gorakhpur (MG)
The “Glory of Avadh” used to connect the capital Lucknow with Gorakhpur. Avadh is a region in the centre of the modern Uttar Pradesh state, centered on its capital Lucknow. The name is probably derived from the holy city of Ayodhya. The train originally connected Lucknow with Gorakhpur, before a series of extensions in both directions gave it its present day destinations.
Shekhawati is a semi-arid historical region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan. It encompasses the administrative districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Some parts of Churu and Nagaur districts are also considered in the Shekhawati region. The inhabitants of Shekhawati are considered brave, sacrificing and hard working people. The region provides the highest number of persons to the Indian Army. The region of Shekhawati is also known as Scotland of India because of its brave, sacrificing and painstaking Rajput people. Shekhawati derives its name from the Rajput Kachhwaha chieftain Rao Shekha Ji. Amongst the descendants of Rao Shekha Ji, the ruling clan is called Shekhawat. The story of Shekha's birth is interesting to understand the origin of Shekhawati. Mokal Ji and his wife were troubled as they had no son for several years. They heard about the miraculous powers of the Sheikh Burhan, a Muslim saint and decided to visit him. After they received the Sheikh's blessing a son was born to the couple. In honour of the mendicant, the couple named their son Shekha. Shekhawati means Garden of Shekha or Land of Shekhawat Rulers.
Bhavnagar Terminus – Ahmadabad (MG)
High up, on Shetrunjaya Hill, above the town of Palitana near Bhavnagar, is the abode of the 24 Jain Tirthankars. A cluster of 863 shrines, the architecture of the temples reflects centuries and generations of grandeur, wealth, religious leanings and aesthetic values. The main temple on top of the hill is dedicated to the 1st Tirthankara Lord Adinath (Rishabdeva). It is an arduous climb, anywhere between 3500 – 4000 steps. Standing atop at the summit, it is possible to view the Shetrunjaya River below. Devout Jains refrain from eating during their uphill climb, which may begin at dawn, as well as when they are descending just before dusk; they may sip on some boiled water. The temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods; hence, no one is allowed to stay overnight, including the priests.
Kalka – Lahore/ Amritsar (BG)
Shimla, earlier called Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the British Raj in India. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills" (a term coined by the British). Shimla is connected to the city of Kalka by one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes still operating in India, the Kalka-Shimla Railway.
Narkatiaganj – Jaynagar (MG)
Sitamarhi, the town after which the train was named, is the place where the Goddess Sita was born. The town is situated along the border of Nepal. Its history goes back to Treta Yug. Sita, the wife of Lord Rama sprang to life out of an earthen pot, when Raja Janaka was ploughing the field somewhere near Sitamarhi to impress upon Lord Indra for rain. It is said that Raja Janaka excavated a tank at the place where Sita emerged and after her marriage set up the stone figures of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to mark the site. This tank is known as Janaki – Kund.
Veraval – Ahmadabad (MG)
The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, is the most sacred of the twelve Jyotirlingas (lingams of light) of the God Shiva. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". Hindu mythology states that the Moon God Chandra, being arrogant about his beauty, was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha to wane. The Moon then prayed to Lord Shiva at the Prabhas tirth (a Hindu pilgrimage site) who then removed the curse partially, thus causing the periodic waning of moon. The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times, it has been rebuilt every single time, on the last occasion in November 1947.
New Delhi – Patna (BG)
This was the predecessor of the Magadh Express. Sonbhadra or Sonebhadra is the largest district of Uttar Pradesh, and lies in the extreme southeast of the state. The district headquarters is in the town of Robertsganj. The Son River flows through the area from east to west and the district is named after it. The area has now been transformed due to the Industrial Revolution with three cement factories, one of the biggest aluminum plants, a carbon plant, a chemical factory and three coal based thermal power plants, which generate 11000 MW of power.
New Delhi – Madras Central (BG)
The train used to connect Delhi with the southern metropolis of Madras. It appears to have either been replaced by the Grand Trunk Express or the Dakshin Express.
New Delhi – Pathankot/ Jammu Tawi (BG)
Etymologically Srinagar is composed of two Sanskrit words, namely, Sri (meaning abundance and wealth) and Nagar, which means a city. Thus, the word Srinagar signifies a place of wealth and abundance. Sri is also the name of the Goddess Lakshmi. The train is the predecessor of the Jhelum Express, as it was renamed after its extension to Pune.
Sealdah – Hasnabad (BG)
This was another passenger, like the Ichhamati Passenger, which was converted into an EMU service. The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" (Sundar, "beautiful" and ban, "forest" or "jungle"). The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers. The forest lies at the feet of the Ganga and is spread across areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal, forming the seaward fringe of the Delta. The seasonally-flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests. The area is known for the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), as well as numerous species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes.
Lumding – Manu (MG)
Before the extension of the railway line to the capital Agartala, Tripura was served by this train which terminated at the railheads Dharmanagar, and then Manu. The origin of the word Tripura is attributed to the legendary tyrant king of Tripura, Tripur. He was so powerful that he ordered his subjects to worship him as the sole God. People fled to escape his tyranny to the nearby state of Hiramba (Cachar). The word Tripura may also have originated from Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the land which is famous as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, pilgrimage centers of Shakti worshippers. According to another school of thought the name Tripura was probably given to the state in honour of the temple at Udaipur, Tripureshwari, the wife of lord Shiva.
Upper India Express
Sealdah – Delhi via Bhagalpur (BG)
One of the legendary trains of the past, sadly its run is now curtailed, and it is one of the slowest trains running between Sealdah and Varanasi via Bhagalpur. The significance of the name is unclear, because there never was a corresponding Lower India Express.
Puri – Hazrat Nizamuddin (BG)
At one time, there were two trains running between Puri and Nizamuddin. Kalinga Express was the slower train, and Utkal Express was the faster version. Later the two trains were amalgamated to form the Kalinga Utkal Express, which was recently extended to Haridwar. Kalinga was an early kingdom in eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa, as well as some northern areas of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a rich and fertile land and was the scene of the bloody Kalinga War fought by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great of Magadha in 265 BC. Utkal is another name for Orissa, the area around the Ganjam plains and the Mahanadi delta.
Siliguri – Agra Fort (MG)
Vaishali, near the present day city of Muzaffarpur, was the capital city of the Licchavis, one of world's first democratic republics, in the Vajji mahajanapada, around the 6th century BC. It was here that Gautama Buddha preached his last sermon before his death in 483 BC, and then in 383 BC, the Second Buddhist council was convened here by King Kalasoka. Also in 599 BC, the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira was born and brought up in Vaishali republic, making it an important place in both religions. At the time of the Buddha, Vaishali, which he visited on many occasions, was a very large city, rich and prosperous, crowded with people and with abundant food. There were seven thousand, seven hundred and seven pleasure grounds, and an equal number of lotus ponds. Its courtesan, Ambapali or Amrapali, was famous for her beauty, and helped in large measure in making the city prosperous. Vaishali derives its name from King Vishal of the Mahabharata.
Hubli – Guntakal (MG)
The Vijayanagara Empire was a South Indian empire based in the Deccan Plateau. Established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I, it lasted until 1646 although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara (the City of Victory), whose impressive ruins surround modern Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in Karnataka. The reign of Krishnadevaraya (1509 – 1529) is considered the Golden Age of South India that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor. Today the BG version of the train is known as the Hampi Express.
NAMES OF PASSENGER TRAINS
Bagha Jatin Passenger
467/ 468 Howrah – Bhadrak
Bagha Jatin (Tiger Jatin), born Jatindranath Mukherjee (1879 – 1915) was a Bengali revolutionary philosopher against British rule. He was the principal leader of the Yugantar party that was the central association of revolutionaries in Bengal. He was killed near Balasore in Orissa after an encounter with the British.
Delta Fast Passenger
319/ 320 Repalle – Secunderabad
It connects the thickly populated, fertile lands of the Delta of the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh with the state capital.
Haldighati Fast Passenger
1771/ 1772 Neemuch – Agra Fort
Haldighati is a mountain pass in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan. It connects Rajsamand and Pali districts, 40 km from Udaipur. The name is believed to have come from the turmeric – colored yellow soil (Turmeric is haldi in Hindi). The mountain pass is historically significant as the location of the historic Battle of Haldighati, which took place in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber, general of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
Kakatiya Fast Passenger
325/ 326 Secunderabad – Dornakal
Initially it used to run as an express between Secunderabad and Warangal, before it was extended to Dornakal. It is due to be extended to Bhadrachalam Road in the near future. The Kakatiya dynasty ruled most parts of what is now Andhra Pradesh from 1083 to 1323. Shaivite Hindu in nature, it was one of the great Telugu kingdoms that lasted for centuries. The Kakatiya’s ascent to power can be traced to the reign of the Western Chalukyas. Kakartya Gundyana, a subordinate of the Eastern Chalukyan monarch, Amma II (945-970), established the Kakatiya dynasty. The dynasty's name comes either from its association with a town known as Kakatipura (since the kings bore the title “Kakatipuravallabha”) or from their worship of a goddess called Kakati. A temple dedicated to goddess Kakatamma exists in Warangal; so Kakatipura could be another name for Warangal itself.
Kamla Ganga Fast Passenger
541/ 542 Darbhanga – Patna
This passenger train may have run as an express train in the past. It connects Darbhanga on the Kamla River with Patna on the Ganga River. The Kamala River originates in the mountains near Sindhuli Garhi in Nepal, and takes a southern direction. It enters India near Jaynagar and then flows through the plains of Darbhanga District. One of its branch leads to the Bagmati River whereas another leads to Kosi River
803/ 804 Guwahati – Haibargaon
The Kolong River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, which diverges out from it in Nagaon district, Assam, and meets the same again at Kolongpar near Guwahati. The tributary is approx. 250 km in length, and flows through the districts of Nagaon, Morigaon and Kamrup. The river flows through the heart of the Nagaon urban area dividing the town into Nagaon and Haibargaon.
805/ 806 Guwahati – Haibargaon
The Kopili River arises in the North Cachar Hills District of Assam and flows north and then westwards past the towns of Chaparmukh and Jagi Road on the Guwahati – Lumding line, to join the Brahmaputra River a few km upstream from Guwahati. The word "Kopli" or "Kupli" means a speedy river. The word "Kopili" originates from these two words. According to some Sanskrit scholars this relates to Sage Kapil hence the name "Kopili". They further connected the Hermitage of Sage Kapil on the bank of this river.
Mayurakshi Fast Passenger
217/ 218 Howrah – Rampur Hat via Andal – Siuri
Mayurakshi River (also called Mor River) is a major river in West Bengal, with a long history of devastating floods. It has its source on Trikut hill, about 16 km from Deoghar in Jharkhand. It flows through Jharkhand and then through the districts of Birbhum and Murshidabad in West Bengal before flowing into the Hooghly River. Mayurakshi literally means the eye of a peacock (mayur/ mor = peacock, akshi = eye). Mayurakshi though named after its crystal clear water of the dry seasons, floods its valley during the monsoons.
Mewar Fast Passenger
431/ 432 Udaipur City – Ahmadabad
Mewar includes the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Rajsamand and Udaipur. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later became a princely state under the British. It was ruled by the Chattari Rajputs of Guhilot and Sisodia dynasties for over 1200 years. Known for its long history of bravery, Mewar has been home to such valiant souls like Bappa Rawal, Rani Padmini (who committed Jauhar rather than submit to conquest by Alauddin Khilji), Rana Kumbha, Rana Sangha and Maharana Pratap.
661/ 662 Udhagamandalam – Mettupalaiyam
The Nilgiri Express (also known as the Blue Mountain Express, or Nilagiri Express) is named after the Nilgiri (Tamil, English - Nil - Blue; Giri - Mountain) Hills. The train is primarily intended for travelers to these hills, especially to the towns of Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri. Mettupalaiyam is at the foot of these hills, and the Nilgiri Express links to the Nilagiri passenger train operated by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) at Mettupalaiyam station, enabling passengers to complete the journey to Udhagamandalam (Ooty) by rail.
Pench Valley Passenger
285/ 286 Indore – Chhindwara
The Pench National Park is located in Chhindwara and Seoni districts of Madhya Pradesh and adjoining areas of northwestern Maharashtra. The vegetation here is typical of the southern tropical deciduous forest. It is home to various animals like gaur, sambar, blue bulls, macaque, langur, wild boar, bears, wild dogs, deer and leopards. A few tigers and civets can also be spotted sometimes. The nearest rail-head is at Ramtek. The Park is named after the River Pench which flows through this area. This is the 19th project tiger reserve in India.
309/ 310 Chakradharpur – Rourkela
Saranda forest is a dense forest in the hilly region of West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand. Saranda literally means seven hundred hills. The heart of the forest, Thalkobad is about 46 km from Manoharpur, and about 160 km from Jamshedpur.
Murtajapur – Yavatmal (NG)
Murtajapur – Achalpur (NG)
Shakuntala Express (actually passenger trains) plying between Murtajapur and Yavatmal, and Murtajapur and Achalpur in Maharashtra is over 90 years old, and is the only train connecting at least two dozen villages in remote cotton-growing areas that don't even have road links. Killick, Nixon and Company, set up in 1857, created the Central Provinces Railway Company (CPRC) to act as its agents. The company built this narrow gauge line in 1903 to carry cotton from Yavatmal to the main line to Mumbai (Bombay), from where it was shipped to Manchester in England. The Indian Railways has a contract to operate the line on a 60:40 profit-sharing agreement. Despite the train's popularity, Indian Railways are not too keen on renewing the contract, since the Shakuntala Express is running into heavy losses. But politicians in the region say they will fight for the train. This is one of only a few operational railway lines in India that remains with private owners, and perhaps the only one that belongs to a British firm. Its closure could mean an end to what's possibly one of the last remnants of the Raj in India.
703/ 704 Alipurduar Jn. – Guwahati
Shifung is the traditional Bodo flute. A long instrument made of bamboo, it has seven holes rather than six as the north Indian Bansuri would have and is also much longer than it, producing a much lower tone. Bodoland, the territory predominantly occupied by the tribal Bodos, is an area located on the north bank of Brahmaputra River in Assam, by the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Its territory overlaps with the districts of Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri, with Kokrajhar serving as the capital
Shirdi Fast Passenger
1333/ 1334 Mumbai C.S.T. – Sainagar Shirdi
Before the railway line was extended from Puntamba to Sainagar Shirdi, this passenger train used to stop at Kopargaon, and terminate at Manmad, both convenient railheads for Shirdi. Sai Baba of Shirdi (Unknown – October 15th 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was a guru and yogi, regarded by his followers as an incarnation of God. There are many stories and eyewitness accounts of miracles he performed. Baba reportedly arrived at the village of Shirdi in the Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra, when he was about 16 years old. It is generally accepted that Baba stayed in Shirdi for three years and then disappeared for a year. In 1858 Sai Baba returned to Shirdi with Chand Patil's wedding procession. After alighting near the Khandoba temple he was greeted with the words "Ya Sai" (Marathi: welcome saint) by the temple priest Mhalsapati. The name Sai stuck to him and some time later he started being known as Sai Baba.
Shiromani Fast Passenger
463/ 464 Howrah – Adra
Diwan Ajit Singh of Midnapore (Midnapur/ Medinipur) died in 1753 without leaving a male heir, and his two wives Rani Bhawani and Rani Shiromani succeeded him. The Chuars under Gobardhan Sardar took possession of Midnapur, the two Ranis fled to nearby Narajol where their relative Trilochan Singh ruled. Trilochan Singh restored Midnapur to the Ranis by entering into a settlement with the Chuars. Rani Bhawani died in 1760, and Rani Shiromani took over, but due to her inability to pay the Government revenue, the Midnapur Raj was finally transferred to the Narajol zamindars.
Suvarna Fast Passenger
523/ 524 Marikuppam – Bangalore City
Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) near the town of Marikuppam, was one of the major gold mines in India and is located in the Kolar district in Karnataka. It was closed in 2003 due to reducing deposits and increasing costs. The mine is considered the world's second deepest gold mine. Gold was first mined in the area prior to the 2nd and 3rd century AD (golden objects found in Harappa and Moenjo-daro have been traced to KGF through analysis of impurities, the impurities include 11% silver concentration, found only in KGF ore). During the Chola period in the 9th and 10th centuries, the scale of the operation grew, but large-scale mining only came in the 1850s under the British with more manpower and sophisticated machinery.
Utkal Sammilani M1903/ S1923 Passenger
After many years of conquest by first Mughal and then British rulers, the land of Orissa was divided under three different regions – Bengal Presidency, Madras Presidency and Central Provinces. With the growth of socio – political awareness amongst Oriya speaking people, many organizations came into existence, whose aim was i) unification of scattered Oriya speaking people, ii) economic progress of Orissa through development of industries, and iii) social progress through general, technical and female education. Madhusudan Das was the leader of the Utkal Sammilani movement (Utkal Union Conference), which was established in Cuttack in December 1903. In the following years, Sambalpur and surrounding states were transferred from Central Provinces, along with transfer of Ganjam and surrounding tracts from the Madras Presidency to the Orissa Division of Bengal Presidency. In 1912, the province of Bihar and Orissa was separated from the Bengal Presidency. Madhusudan Das was also a member of the administrative council of Orissa, Bihar and Bengal for around thirty years from 1896. He had served the office of the minister for self-administration and health for Bihar and Orissa from 1921 to 1923, the post which he eventually resigned owing to differences with the British. Finally his dream of a separate province of Orissa was fulfilled on 1st April 1936.
Vishwabharati Fast Passenger
215/ 216 Howrah – Rampur Hat via Bolpur
Vishwa Bharati University, Shantiniketan is a Central University for research and teaching in India, located in the twin towns of Shantiniketan and Sriniketan in West Bengal. It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Vishwa Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India. Until independence it was a college. Soon after independence, in 1951 the institution was given the status of a university, and was renamed Vishwa Bharati University.