Backpacking in India: Getting A Night Train from New Delhi to Mumbai

Backpacking in India: Getting A Night Train from New Delhi to Mumbai

Backpacking in India: Getting A Night Train from New Delhi to Mumbai

My first stop in India was New Delhi and I loved it there. I was based in the popular Smyle Inn and Hostel. It seemed to be a perfect first introduction to Indian life. Delhi’s chaotic street life is a backpackers dream, my passion for travel was pumped vivaciously on the streets of this sprawling metropolis.

It's New Dehli Baby. It's New Delhi, Oooh!

It’s New Dehli Baby. It’s New Delhi, Oooh!

New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India

And then on my fourth day, I decided to head south west to Mumbai. I wanted to get a night train so I checked out the options and got it booked. Here’s a full guide to booking it and getting the train to Mumbai.

Sunset in New Delhi, India

Sunset in New Delhi, India

How to book a night train from New Delhi to Mumbai
To book your train ticket, head to the main entrance of New Delhi train station.

New Delhi train station

New Delhi train station

I was staying nearby at the recommended Smyle Inn and so I headed along the Main Bazaar Road to New Delhi station. Literally a 7 minute dander.

New Delhi Train Station, India

New Delhi Train Station, India

If you are going to New Delhi train station from the Metro Station, you will need to pass through the security barrier and up the steps, walk all the way to platform 1 and take a right at the exit.

International Tourist Bureau

International Tourist Bureau

There are two ticket offices for booking train tickets in India.One for foreigners and one for locals. Obviously this is my travel blog for backpackers so most of you reading will need to go to the ticket office for foreigners. It is well sign posted in English as International Tourist Bureau and is on the first floor of New Delhi train station. Go up the stairs and into the ticket office.

International Tourist Bureau

International Tourist Bureau

Collect a piece of paper with a number on it and wait your turn. When your number comes up, head to the counter. All the staff in the international ticket office speak good English. They are incredibly friendly and helpful. Tell them the date of the train you want and the operator will give you the options. In my case I wanted a night train from New Delhi to Mumbai on Sunday 28th February 2016.

My ticket waiting in line to see an operator

My ticket waiting in line to see an operator

There was only one option – the train that leaves New Delhi at 16.25 (4.25pm) and arrives in Mumbai at 8.35 am the next day. Great, so now I know the train I wanted, I am given a choice of three classes:
– 1st Class ticket – 3,20 Rupees
– 2nd Class ticket – 2,500 Rupees
– 3rd Class ticket – 2,080 Rupees.

Inside the International Tourist Bureau

Inside the International Tourist Bureau

As a long term budget backpacker, I opted for the cheapest ticket in third class. The ticket includes all your bedding, dinner, breakfast and a bottle of water. You can choose your bed as well. I opted for top bunk (out of 3). On night trains I normally prefer top bunk.

Filling in the form to get my train ticket

Filling in the form to get my train ticket

Payment is in Indian Rupees only and cash only too. The vendors will have change.

Payment in Indian Rupees only

Payment in Indian Rupees only

You need to fill in a form in Hindi or English and show the girl your passport. Your passport number goes on the train ticket. You’ll be given your printed ticket with exact times, train number, carriage number, bed number. But no platform number of course, that will be decided on the day. I booked my train ticket two days in advance of my journey. You can probably get away with booking it the day you travel or even an hour before boarding, but my tip is don’t bank on it.

Ticket from New Delhi to Mumbai

Ticket from New Delhi to Mumbai

Ticket confirmed!

Ticket confirmed!

Leaving New Delhi train station
I arrived at New Delhi train station 41 minutes before my train was due to leave. Inside the main entrance I checked for the platform number of my train. It was platform 3. The timetable is written in Hindi and English.

Timetable in New Delhi

Timetable in New Delhi

I went through the security bag checks and looked back at the madness of New Delhi with an emotional smile.

Stairs to the platforms

Stairs to the platforms

Ready to leave New Delhi station

Ready to leave New Delhi station

I got to platform 3 and my train was already there. A huge number of carriages, the train was red. Down the steps to the platform and I saw carriage A1.

Carriage A1

Carriage A1

I walked further down until I came to carriage B4.

Platform 3

Platform 3

Checking my name on the list

Checking my name on the list

Each carriage has a piece of paper on it with a full list of names and beds of the passengers. I found my carriage and name first time with ease. A few selfies and a travel video and I boarded my carriage and found my bed 22 straight away.

My name on the list

My name on the list

I took my shoes off and put the sheets on the bed. A train worker came to do a ticket check about 5 minutes before the train left. At the same time he asks if I want meat or vegetarian for both breakfast and dinner. I choose meat.

Sheets for the bed

Sheets for the bed

Onboard the night train

Onboard the night train

Night Train Journey from New Delhi to Mumbai, India
The train leaves New Delhi station on time at 16.25. My entire carriage is Indian people and me. I didn’t see any other foreigners on this train. The train is also not full.

On the night train

On the night train

At 17.00 dinner is served. It’s good! I get a 1 litre bottle of water, a spicy bhaji, a melon juice carton, a tomato sandwich, a packet of peanuts and a sweet Indian dessert treat!

I get given a bottle of water

I get given a bottle of water

What I assume is dinner

What I assume is dinner

Twenty minutes later, the train steward asks if I want tea or coffee, I go for coffee. It comes in a pack with a cup and a flask of hot water.

Coffee on the night train

Coffee on the night train

By 18.00 the stewards have collected all the rubbish from the dinner and it’s time to relax for the night. There have been no further stops since leaving and then a surprise at 19.00, it’s crazy!

After what I assumed to be dinner, soup arrives.

After what I assumed to be dinner, soup arrives.

The stewards bring us all a cup of tasty soup! I assume this to be supper and afterhand I lie down again. Then at 20.00 a piping hot full in Indian dinner arrives!! Amazing! What I had assumed was dinner earlier (and was content with by the way – a more than adequate meal given some of the train/bus snacks I’ve had in the past.), was actually just lunch!

Then dinner arrives!!

Then dinner arrives!!

Now at 8 pm after darkness has set in is the real dinner. A tasty Indian feast. Paneer, spicy veg, roti and rice washed down with a yoghurt drink similar to Ayran. Is that the end of the night’s food?!

Eating dinner on the night train

Eating dinner on the night train

No! At 8.30pm we are brought a tub of vanilla ice cream.

Ice cream

Ice cream

At 10 pm we make a stop and a hat trick of new passengers get on the train replacing those that got off. Of this new hat trick, one old Indian guy gets on. Grubby, dirty and smelly and sadly he’s in the top bunk opposite me. At 11 pm he falls asleep and starts snoring louder than anyone else I’ve ever heard before. He’s the only one snoring in our carriage of 68 beds and he’s next to me. I was pretty angry about this in fact. He snored CONTINUALLY once every second for the next EIGHT HOURS! He also farts continually and I can smell excrement, he probably shit his pants too!

The guy opposite me who snored and farted constantly for 8 hours.

The guy opposite me who snored and farted constantly for 8 hours.

So on arrival in Mumbai, I’ll have been awake for 24 hours.

Failing to get any sleep

Failing to get any sleep

At 5.30 am I am asked if I want a coffee or a tea. I take coffee. 5 minutes later I’m given a flask of hot water. The coffee comes with two Marie Biscuits. Then the steward brings me a local newspaper in English! Its called the Economic Times. Amazing! I read it for half an hour. Most of my other passengers are still asleep. Around 6 am, breakfast comes and it’s good. Indian treats, bread and jam and a Mango Juice.

Newspaper

Newspaper

Coffee

Coffee

Breakfast

Breakfast

Arrival in Mumbai, India
Ahead of schedule and just after 8 am, we arrive in Mumbai Central station. It has been an amazing journey but I am knackered as I walk through the streets to find my hotel! For third class, this train was so much luxury! In Mumbai, I recommend staying at the Travellers Inn – perfect backpacking base.

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Arrival in Mumbai, India

Here are some of my videos from the night train:

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17 thoughts on “Backpacking in India: Getting A Night Train from New Delhi to Mumbai

  • Amazing !!
    I hope you are having a great time in India. If I had known you were coming to Delhi I live, I would have told all the great places only a insider can know.

    I am sorry that you had a unpleasant experience with that guy in the train.

    Now that you are in Mumbai , do remember to travel by a local train to get a real taste of life in Mumbai but don’t get on the wrong compartment as many are reserved for women and handicaps and there is a big fine even if you step in by mistake.

    Have great fun.

  • Your video of the snoring man was one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a while lmao!!
    I managed to sneak in a tour of the Dharavi slums when I was in Mumbai a while back. Must do.

  • Amazing read. And you managed to make Indian Railways sound like something at par with the developed countries’ railways system. Most people compare rail journeys in India to jail journeys. Lol Have a fun-filled stay in Mumbai!

  • Hi Colin, thanks for the comment mate, haven’t watched the video back yet, but yeah it was crazy sh*t! The slums sound good thanks for the tip. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Hi Shaurya, Thanks for the comment, yes the train was a funny crazy experience! I’ve been on the local trains in Mumbai and loved them too. Can I contact you if I come back to Delhi at the end of my time in India. Safe travels. Jonny

  • That was a funny experience for sure. Here I was thinking, “Wow! What impressive first class service Jonny is getting for third class carriage! I would have not expected that at all.” And just as I was about to think your first introduction to India was running smoothly, in comes the Old Man experience! Oh boy.

  • Pleased to know your first contact with India was a memorable experience. Enjoy the rest of your trip. If you are in Mumbai today, let me treat you to few beers in Café Mondegar, Colaba. Enjoy!

  • Hi Jeetendra, Thanks for the comment. What a shame I missed you in Mumbai – it’s a fast moving life when I travel non-stop and we had just 2 and a half days in Mumbai in the end. Best wishes and safe travels. Jonny

  • I snorted with laughter at that old man snoring, it sounded like someone trying to cram out a large shit! Your angry face was so funny! Bad luck man 🙁 Hope you enjoy India!

  • Hey Paul, thanks for the comment. It must have came out ok on the video then, haven’t watched it back yet as I’m still busy backpacking. Yeah India is going well. I’m becoming a hippy in Goa now. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Thank you so much for giving the information to book a train, trip and also thanks for giving tour information.
    thanx again.

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