India’s railway network is slightly over 36 times the size of Malaysia’s railway network. India has around 67,000 km of railway routes and over 8,000 railway stations, whilst Malaysia has 1,830 km of railway routes and approximately 110 railway stations. Myanmar’s land area (329,847 square kilometres) is around a tenth a size of India’s (3,287,263 square kilometres) which means that India has near four times the amount of railway track per square kilometre compared to Malaysia. In India travel by train is a much more important form of transport than it is Malaysia
Another major difference between India and Malaysia’s railway networks is in terms of the much greater diversity of train services in India compared to those in Malaysia. Most of the train services operating in Malaysia run electrified tracks with standard travel speeds of 80 to 100 kph per hour on the main West Coast line in Peninsular Malaysia. Most train services in Malaysia, particularly on the KTM lines and suburban railways are air-conditioned and broadly comparable to European railway services. In India, however, there is a massive range of types of passenger services from very slow fan cooled trains running at 50 kph all the way up to very modern trains travelling at speeds of up to 180 kph.
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Popular Train Journeys in India
There are so many different journeys you can do by train India that you could spend years travelling its railway network and still discover new things. A small number of these train journeys, however, are particularly popular with foreign visitors.
- Kalka to Shimla: A journey of approximately 5 hours ascending 1,419 metres to reach what was the summer time capital of India due the time the country was part of the British Empire.
- Delhi to Chennai: A 35 hour journey connecting India’s capital city with the capital city of Tamil Nadu state on India’s west coast. The journey crosses the largely dry and hilly interior of India before emerging into the green and vibrant state of Tamil Nadu.
- Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram: A journey of between 45 and 53 hours taking passengers nearly the whole length of the country to the capital city of Kerala.
- Delhi to Agra: A journey which takes around 3 hours on one of the faster trains. This is a very popular journey because Agra is the location of the Taj Mahal, which is India’s most famous building.
In terms of train tours, the most popular train tours are around the state of Rajasthan with stops at major tourist destinations such as Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur.