As the volume of passenger traffic increased in the route connecting the erstwhile and present capitals of the nation, trial runs for a high speed train in the popular Howrah - New Delhi route began in 1967. The route via Grand Chord, which was already in use for some of the fastest trains on the Eastern Railway, was chosen for the new train, which was to be called the Rajdhani Express.

The Howrah-Kalka mail was the fastest train at that time and had a maximum permissible speed of 100 KMPH. It was planned that the fastest train in the country, fully air conditioned and where meals would be served to the passengers was to run up to a maximum permissible speed of 120 KMPH.

Extensive work had to be undertaken all along the route to make the track suitable and safe for running a high speed train. In the absence of telephone communications and/or warning bells at most of the level crossings en-route, extensive drives were launched to educate and train the level crossing gatemen to ensure safety of road traffic.

Rajdhani Express had its maiden run from Howrah on 3rd March, 1969as a bi-weekly train between Howrah and New Delhi. Eastern Railway thus had the distinction of running the most prestigious train of the country for the first time. Presently this train runs on all seven days a week—6 days via Dhanbad and one day via Patna.


Guard, S. O. Levi giving the green signal to start the first journey of Rajdhani from Howrah

G. L. Tocher
 starting the inaugural

Pointsman Bhajan Ram, the oldest employee of Howrah station flagging off the first journey

Howrah Rajdhani

Sealdah Rajdhani


The Sealdah New Delhi Rajdhani Express was introduced from 1.7.2000 as a bi weekly and its frequency was increased to four days a week from 1st July 2001.

Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi comes to Eastern India

The concept of Shatabdi Express came in the 1990’s which spoke of a high speed fully airconditioned inter city trains with chair car accommodation and an end to end journey time varying between 5-6 hours. Eastern Railway started its first Shatabdi on 1. 7.95 between Howrah and Bokaro Steel City .

Another Shatabdi to Patna was introduced from 12.11. 2001.

A medium distance inter city train running from as state capital to a major town was a concept which came in 2002.

The coaches of the Jan Shatabdis have been specially designed and the purpose is to give the common man a super fast service at an affordable fare structure. The Howrah Malda Jan Shatabdi Express was introduced on 
th. of  June, 2002.

LHB coaches - Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi