by Jeff Smith
https://www.thrillist.com/amphtml/trave ... n-railways
Ask anyone: India's expansive train system offers a one-of-a-kind experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who use it for travel. From the bustling stations and the apparent chaos that surrounds them to the rhythmic chugging of the locomotive, each journey is a sensory feast that can't be replicated anywhere else in the world. Whether you hope to wind around lush hills, along peaceful coastline, or past tea plantations and waterfalls, you can do so on Indian Railways (IR), the fourth-largest train network in the world.
The train system was created during the British Raj in the 1800s, with the goal to move people and goods from remote parts of India to bustling port cities like Mumbai, Goa, and Chennai for worldwide export. The first commercial railway line opened in 1851, running between Bombay (Mumbai) and Thane, and the first passenger train was inaugurated in 1853, covering a distance of just 21 miles. Today, the Indian rail system has over 41,000 miles of track and more than 7,000 stations all over the country. It is one of the busiest networks worldwide, hauling over six billion passengers and millions of tons of freight annually. More than just a transportation option, it is a lifeline for many Indians, since owning a car is a luxury not everyone can afford.
One of the most popular options is the Rajdhani Express, which connects major cities in India with the capital, New Delhi. These trains are superfast and fully air-conditioned—a must, especially during summer when much of the country experiences a heat wave. They offer comfortable seating, meals, and bedding for the overnight portions of the journey. If you are looking for trains that connect major cities with one another, then opt for the Shatabdi Express. These trains are also air-conditioned and run daily, providing passengers with meals and snacks during the journey.