Indian Railways is the biggest transportation organization in India. With a total route length of more than 67,000 km, the Indian rail network is the fourth largest railway network in the world. It has a very large network ofdifferent types of trains that run on different routes of India. But Indian Railways is not limited to India only, it runs several trains that go beyond India’s borders. We have curated a list of international trains from India that connects two different countries. Some of these international train routes in India are still operational to date and some are cancelled temporarily for political reasons.
Samjhauta Express: India – Pakistan
Samjhauta Express was started on 22 July 1976 after India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement. Initially, the train ran between Amritsar in India to Lahore in Pakistan. But later in the 1980s, the Indian government decided to terminate the journey at Attari, the Indian side of India-Pakistan border.
The distance from Amritsar to Lahore by train is 52 km. When the train service started, it ran on a daily basis but later it was made a bi-weekly train running on Mondays and Thursdays.
On 14 April 2000, the total distance travelled by the Samjhauta Express was reduced to a mere 3 km. It was decided that Indian Railways will run a train from Delhi to Attari and all passengers will alight for customs and immigration in Delhi. At Attari, they will change the train and take Samjhauta Express which will take them to Wagah, the Pakistani side of India-Pakistan border. The most important document that a passenger must have to travel in India to Pakistan railway route is a valid Pakistan visa.
Samjhauta Express Route: Delhi to Lahore
The operations of Samjhauta Express have been stopped several times because of the political tensions between both the countries.
Currently, Samjhauta Express has been cancelled as Pakistan decided to terminate the operations because of the tension created by the revocation of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir in August 2019. The India-to-Pakistan train route not only helps in transportation but also connects the two countries which were one prior to the 1947 partition.
Thar Link Express: India – Pakistan
It is another international passenger train running between India and Pakistan. Thar Link Express was started in 2006 and it is a weekly train operated by Indian Railways between Monabao and Jodhpur. The rakes and loco of Thar Link Express belong to Indian Railways.
At Monabao, the Indian side of the India-Pakistan border, passengers alight to customs and immigration. All the documents are properly verified there and then they are allowed to proceed to Khokhrapar, the Pakistani side of India-Pakistan border. From there on, passengers board the Thar Express, which is operated by the Pakistan Railways (PR) to reach Karachi or any other city en route.
The complete journey of Thar Express can be understood by the following diagram:
The Thar Link Express takes approximately 12 hours and 15 minutes to cover a distance of 381 kilometres, departing from Bhagat Ki Kothi railway station in Jodhpur every Saturday 01:00 IST and arriving at Munabao at 07:00 IST.
The Thar Express which starts its journey from Zero Point takes approximately 7 hours and 5 minutes to cover a distance of 381 kilometres.
Currently, the train has been cancelled by the Indian government amid political tensions with Pakistan over Kashmir.
Maitree Express: India – Bangladesh
The Maitree Express is the only train operating between Kolkata and Dhaka six days a week. Started in 2008, it is the first fully air-conditioned night train connecting Dhaka in Bangladesh with Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. After the partition of India in 1947, train services in the area got disrupted but the culture of both the countries never cut the cords.
The train runs six days a week, from the Indian and Bangladeshi end, with no trains available on Thursdays.
Dhaka to Kolkata train time table
From Bangladesh (Dhaka Cantonment to Kolkata)
13107 – Sunday and Friday
13110 – Monday and Wednesday
From India (Kolkata to Dhaka Cantonment)
13108 – Saturday and Monday
13109 – Tuesday and Friday
How to book a ticket for Maitree Express?
Buying a Maitree Express train ticket is not too complicated, but you must present your passport to the person who gives the ticket. Try to book several days in advance to make sure you get a confirmed seat. All bookings for the Maitree Express have to be done physically as the online booking facility is not available for this train. There is a two-hour document check, which all passengers must undergo. So, keep your documents like visa, passport, etc. ready.
The India and Bangladesh train route not only helps in transporting goods from one country to the other but also cement the friendly relation.
Bandhan Express: India – Bangladesh
It is another international passenger train running between India and Bangladesh. Bandhan Express starts from the Indian city of Kolkata and goes to Khulna city of Bangladesh. The Bengali word Bandhan means bonding when translated to English.
Started on 9 November 2017, Bandhan Express runs on the same route as the defunct Barisal Express used to operate on.
Since its inauguration, the train runs only on Thursdays but in February 2020, the frequency was increased and now the train runs twice in a week (Sunday and Thursday). It comprises 4 Executive Chair (EC), 4 AC Chair car (CC) and 2 Generator cum luggage cum guard van, hence, a total of 10 coaches.
Bandhan Express Route
How to book a ticket for Bandhan Express?
There is no provision for online ticket booking. A valid visa and passport are required before purchasing a ticket for the Bandhan Express train. If you want to go to Bangladesh through train, tickets are available at Khulna Railway Station in Bangladesh and at Chitpur Station in Kolkata, India. The immigration process takes place in Kolkata and Khulna.
These are some of the international train routes of India that are currently operational. Apart from that, there are some proposed international routes and cross border trains by the government of India.
Indian Railways plans to operate its trains to the following countries:
India – Nepal
The Jaynagar – Kurtha route from Jaynagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in the Janakpur Zone of Nepal is almost complete. The government will soon start trains on this route. An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the state government. No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this 34 km stretch.
Jaynagar is the nearest railway station to Nepal in India. This India to Nepal train route will increase the import/export and also enhance the friendly relationship between the two countries.
While there will be a passenger train on the initial run, the Nepalese have stated that they want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section.
Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu and Jogbani to Biratnagar.
India – Bhutan
Indian Railways is planning to operate trains to Bhutan. The proposed India-to-Bhutan train route will be a big achievement for both countries. It is also being seen as the answer to China’s presence in the Himalayan nation. This will help in building relations and transportation.
Passengers can reach Assam to Bhutan by train after the proposed plan to connect India and Bhutan through rail network is finalised. Apart from that, Indian Railways is also planning to run a Mumbai to Bhutan train. This will strengthen the existing relation between India and Bhutan further.
India – Myanmar
Indian Railways is planning to build an international rail network from Manipur in India to Burma in Myanmar. The proposed India-Myanmar train route is under construction that would connect Myanmar and India on a friendly and transportation basis.
India – Vietnam
The central government of India has directed Indian Railways to carry out plans to build a rail network from Manipur in India to Vietnam. The full planning and construction will be carried out soon.
India – China
The Indian and Chinese governments have agreed to build a high-speed railway route between New Delhi to Kunming in China for commercial purposes. The planning and construction for India to China train route will be carried out soon. New Delhi to Kunming train will prove to be a milestone in the Indo-China relationship.
India – Malaysia
As soon as the Manipur Burma train route is completed, the next task for Indian Railways is to build routes to Malaysia as well. The same process goes for the neighbouring country of Singapore. The grand plan is to connect all the South-Asian countries with India through a proper rail network.
India – Thailand
We can soon expect the India-Thailand train service. It is under consideration by the central government. It will help India connect with the South-Asian countries and do import/export easily and fastly.
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