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#3 The ‘Grand Trunk Express’: Unveiling India’s iconic luxury train (Indian Railways Series)

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All Aboard the Grand Trunk Express

Let us take you on an exciting journey to unveil the story of one of India’s most iconic and beloved trains – the magnificent Grand Trunk Express. This luxury locomotive has been transporting generations of passengers on an unforgettable voyage across the heart of the country. 

A Historic Run

The story begins over 150 years ago, in the heyday of British rule. It was the year 1866 when the very first Grand Trunk Express chugged off from Howrah station to embark on its long haul to New Delhi. This train marked the first-ever direct rail link between Kolkata and India’s new capital city. 

Do you know that even today, the GT Express covers 1,449 km between the two metropolises in under 17 hours? Running at an average speed of 85 km/h, it remains the longest train route in India. Truly a record-breaker.

Travel Like Royalty

But what really sets the Grand Trunk Express apart is the royal luxury it offers passengers. The train has exclusive, fully air-conditioned first class coaches with plush berths and cozy blankets. Attendants decorate your personal cabin with flowers and provide an evening tea service. 

You will be amazed at the adjustable reading lights, smooth ride quality, and sparkling washrooms. No wonder it was the preferred train of choice for British officials and Indian royalty back in the day.

Changing Faces

Over the century, the GT Express has transported an incredible range of passengers. From common folks to celebrities to freedom fighters, all have undertaken this iconic train journey. 

You will be surprised to know that revolutionaries Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev first met on this train in 1929 while hatching plans against the British. And even after independence, generations have boarded the GT Express in search of opportunity and adventure.

Bridging Two Cities

For migrants, the bi-weekly Grand Trunk Express is what keeps their ties alive with family left behind in their villages. On every run, the train sees emotional reunions and farewells at both ends. 

Regular passengers form life-long bonds thanks to the train’s relaxed 48-hour journey. The rhythm of chai stops, card games, and meals from the pantry car unify total strangers into a makeshift family.

As the GT Express steams through the Indo-Gangetic plains, you can relish the changing sights and cuisine – Punjab’s makki di roti transforms into Bengal’s fish curries. The train is truly the tie that binds two of India’s greatest cities.

All Aboard

So as the evening sun sets crimson over the tracks, come aboard this luxury locomotive for an unforgettable voyage. As the Grand Trunk Express celebrates over 150 years of service, it continues to captivate new generations with its romance and history. Chugging steadily into the future, this train is a moving monument to the heart and soul of India.

Sources

  • Simmons, A. 2020. Trains of the Raj: A Journey Through India on the Historic Railway. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Deb, S.K. 2015. The Story of Indian Railways. New Delhi: Publications Division
  • Puri, B. 2007. Bhagat Singh: The Flames of Revolution. Delhi: Prabhat Prakashan
  • Luxury Train Travel in India. 2021. Discover India
  • Ghose, A. 2022. Tracking Time: An Emotional History of Indian Railways. Gurgaon: Hachette India

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