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Know About the Highest Priority Trains of Indian Railways

Indian Railways is the fourth largest railway operator in the world after the USA, Russia, and China. The transport giant runs different types of trains on the rail network with different speed, route, and running time. It has categorized all the trains in the order of their priority on the railway network. To manage and operate such a vast network of trains, it has an operating manual for running different trains. Let’s see which train gets to go first and which one gets the green signal the last.

Although if we talk about passenger service trains, Rajdhani Express is the highest priority train in Indian Railways, there are some other trains for which even Rajdhani Express has to wait for them to pass. These are the highest priority trains in India in order of their precedence.

1. ARME, ART trains proceeding to the site of an accident

ARME is an acronym for Accidental Relief Medical Equipment and ART stands for Accidental Relief Train. No matter which train is running ahead of it, they have to stop and give a pass to these relief trains. These trains are stationed at important stations and their function is to carry medicines and medical equipment to the site of accidents so that prompt medical aid can be rendered and injured persons transported expeditiously to the nearest hospital.

Apart from these, trains departed for drought areas to deliver supply are also given the highest priority.

2. President’s and VVIP specials (Unless otherwise specified in the Time Table)

These are very special trains for the President of India and some other VVIPs. They are given higher preference than Rajdhani Express or any other trains for that matter. This train has got the highest priority to safety train in Indian Railways.

3. Suburban train in peak rush direction

Although suburban trains or commonly known as local trains are given the least preference, during peak rush hours they are allowed to overtake other trains running on the same route. This is done for the convenience of urban dwellers who travel from one part of the city to another.

4. Superfast trains

Superfast trains in Indian Railways are categorized in different types of trains depending on their speed, number of halts, and preference order.

Among all the superfast trains, Rajdhani Express trains are the highest priority trains of Indian Railways. The preference order of different superfast trains are:

Rajdhani Express

Rajdhani Express trains were introduced to connect various state capitals with the national capital Delhi. The word “Rajdhani” translates to capital in English. These trains get the highest priority in the Indian rail network. Rajdhani Express priority is high compared to other superfast or express trains because these trains are punctual and have very fewer halts.

Shatabdi Express

Shatabdi Express trains are small to medium distance running trains operated by Indian Railways. They connect Metro cities with other important cities for business, pilgrimage, or tourism purposes. Shatabdi Express trains are considered prestigious and get the second priority in Indian rail network after Rajdhani Express trains. The best Shatabdi train in India is the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express. Before the Gatimaan express was launched, New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was the fastest train in India.

Duronto Express

These trains were started in 2009 to serve long-distance routes with very few stops except technical halts. These trains are famous for providing services on par with Rajdhani Express at lower costs. Duronto Express trains are one of the fastest high priority trains for long-distance travel.

Tejas Express

It is India’s first semi-high speed train with full AC compartments. They can be categorized in premium trains of Indian Railways and offer different amenities. Tejas Express is one of the fastest trains in India and also one of the IRCTC high priority trains.

Garib Rath Express

Now travelling in Tier-3 AC coaches for long journeys is possible for middle and low-income families as well. The ticket fare of Garib Rath trains is less compared to the fare of AC compartments of normal express and superfast trains. It is one of the best express trains in India for long-distance travel.

Double Decker Express

These trains were started to ease the congestion and accommodate more passengers for the same route. As the name suggests, these trains have two-level seating arrangements for passengers. Double decker trains get high priority and they are equipped with modern facilities like WiFi-based information systems, automatic food vending machines, AC coaches, and many others.

Jan Shatabdi Express

Jan Shatabdi Express trains are a more economical version of Shatabdi trains. These were launched for low and medium-income families to complete their journeys in less time with more comfort. These trains get high priority over normal superfast trains.

5. Mail / Express trains

These are long-distance trains connecting one part of the country to another. Mail and Express trains are very similar in their route and running time, but there are some differences in their number of stops and running speed. Superfast express trains apart from listed above got the same priority as mail/express trains.

6. Military personnel special, if instructed by emergency control/DOM

As the name suggests, these trains are run especially for military personnel. When the training completes and military men are to be posted at borders, these trains are run by Indian Railways to safely and conveniently carry them to their desired location.

7. Fast Passenger train

These trains are often run between different districts of a state or between different cities of neighbouring states. They get high priority over normal passenger trains but less priority over superfast or express trains. Also, their number of stops en route is between an express train and a regular passenger train.

8. Special engaged by the public. (Precedence order may be revised)

These are special trains run by Indian Railways during festivals or special occasions like Diwali, Holi, etc. Special trains are not regular so they get less priority in the Indian rail network.

9. Passenger trains

Passenger trains are the most common means of transportation for going from one city to another neighbouring city. These are generally not long-distance trains in India so they get less precedence. Passenger trains consist of suburban trains, locals, and DEMU/MEMU trains. They stop at every halt and station and charge a minimum fare.

10. Mixed trains

A mixed passenger train will contain passenger seating/sleeping coaches as well as freight carrying coaches. These trains halt at all stations en route or may skip a halt on one way or the other. Some of the passenger train services on Chalisgaon-Dhule route are run as mixed passenger trains.

11. Military stores special

These trains are special trains carrying rations for military men. They carry food items, medical kits, and other necessary things for army men deployed at borders. They are run as per demand with less priority compared to other trains in this list.

12. Express or special goods train

These trains are also one of the special trains of India carrying goods and materials for a specific use. These are generally run on-demand and carry goods that are specific to an industry.

13. Freight trains

Freight trains carry all sorts of goods, including parcel traffic and small consignments, agricultural products, raw materials such as iron ore and petroleum and finished goods such as automobiles. These trains are very important for Indian Railways as they generate the highest revenue for the organization.

14. Accident relief train returning from the site of accident (unless otherwise ordered)

These are the trains going to marshalling yards or in loco sheds, so they get less priority in the Indian rail network. They are coming from an accident or other important sites where they had been sent for the supply of necessary things.

15. Shunting and van goods train

Shunting trains or vehicles run with or without an engine or any other self-propelled vehicle, for the purpose of attaching, detaching or transfer or for any other purpose. Van goods trains are just for additional braking for ‘unfitted’ goods trains. These trains get low priority in Indian railways trains network.

16. Departmental trains

Departmental trains run for the revenue or capital works of an open line, and also workmen’s and inspection trains, pilot or patrol trains run in front of trains for the protection of the latter, etc. These trains get the lowest priority in the India rail network.

Also read: Indian Railways Sign Boards and Their Meanings: Things to Know

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Author: Rohit Choubey


Rohit is an avid blogger as well an eminent digital marketeer. He has immense passion towards food blogging. His hobbies include travelling, cooking and watching movies. He is the content analyst for RailMitra.