Last week I took the night train from Kolkata to Delhi and I thought I would just post a little about it here, in case someone is planning to take the same journey.
I fly a lot. Usually between 60 and 100 times per year because of my work in travel & tourism. Because of that I like to take long distance trains instead of flying at times. Especially if the train is with sleeper cars and dining. I just love this way of transporting myself. This is cosy slow travel with a view and not just another boring trip in a flying sardine can. This journey is not so much of a scenic journey, as it is mostly happening at night, but it’s a pleasant journey, where you can arrive to your destination after having a good sleep while being transported.
After having finished a bicycle journey from Delhi to Kolkata, I had to get back to Delhi to catch a flight back to Europe and i decided to treat myself to a 1st class ticket on the Rajdhani Express that travels from Kolkata to Delhi and vice versa, every day.
The Kolkata to Delhi train takes somewhere between 16 and 20 hours, as we are talking a journey of roughly 1500 kilometers. I took what is called the AC1, which is the best class. I was in a 4 berth sleeper compartment that I shared with some Indian businessmen. My bed was comfortable, with proper bedlinen and a pillow.
Food was also included on the train journey from Kolkata to Delhi and it was served in my compartment on little individual tables that the train steward brought us. All drinks were included too. Just be ware that alcohol is not served there and you are not allowed to bring your own booze either on to the train.
The train actually has an entire dining car where the food is cooked in massive pots and there must have been at least 20 people employed there. I was allowed to walk out there and have a look, but for some reason they did not allow photography there. I was quite an interesting kitchen on wheels they had there and the food they made on the journey was really good. The train steward will come by your cabin by the beginning of the journey and ask if you want vegetarian food or meat.
I had both dinner and breakfast included in my journey that went from 17:00 in the afternoon until 14:00 the next afternoon, due to a little delay because a train got derailed the day before I went on the journey. I also had some snacks and coffee on the journey that I did not have to pay for.
All in all, I thought that the train journey from Kolkata to Delhi was a very fine experience and I can only recommend it for people who like slow travel. The tickets for the journey should be booked at least a couple of days in advance, especially if you want to travel AC1 like I did. You can either buy them online or in one of the many local travel agencies.
If you plan to take the Rajdhani Express from Kolkata to Delhi, then have a fantastic journey. I surely enjoyed my journey with the Rajdhani Express.