Shatabdi Express trains are a series of fast (called superfast in India) passenger trains operated by Indian Railways to connect Metro cities with other cities important for tourism, pilgrimage or business. Shatabdi Express are day-trains and they return to the station of origin the same day.
The Shatabdis are among the fastest trains in India and the Indian Railways considers them as prestigious. The Shatabdi Express trains run over short to medium distances while the Rajdhani Expresses are long-distance trains connecting the nation's capital New Delhi to capitals of states. Both series of trains have a regular speed of about 140 km/h. The 12001 Bhopal Shatabdi express, however, runs at a peak speed of 160 km/h which makes it the fastest train in India.
The Bhopal Shatabdi is the fastest train in India and it runs at an average speed of around 93.05 km/h between the origin and the destination though it runs at speeds at 160 km/h on some stretches between Agra and New Delhi stations. These trains are now using latest LHB Coaches to provide extra comfort in the train.
The Lucknow - Delhi Shatabdi has a recorded speed of 140 km/h although it lingers in the neighborhood of 130 km/h (81 mph) for most of the cruising distance.
The Pune - Secunderabad Shatabdi is the fastest diesel hauled Shatabdi. It uses a WDM 3A loco of Pune Diesel Loco Shed.
Shatabdi Express trains offer fast connectivity with only a few intermediate stops. They are fully air-conditioned and of a much higher standard than most Indian trains. Shatabdi travelers are provided with bottled water, juice, coffee or tea, and meals relevant to time of day of the journey.
Shatabdi trains are also further distinguished from other trains, in terms of convenience in boarding and disembarking. Most stations give them priority berthing at the better platforms, such as ones located close to the station building or waiting halls (generally platform number 1 at most of the stations.
Berths and seats in Shatabdi Express and Rajdhani Express trains have to be reserved in advance before boarding the train. There is no unreserved accommodation in these trains, unlike most of the other trains in India. A few Shatabdis have a current booking system where tickets can be booked within a couple of hours before departure.
As Shatabdi Express are day-trains and return to the station of origin the same day, coaches(called AC Chair Car or CC) on the train have only seats and not berths. All the Shatabdi Express trains have, however, one or two coaches of first class airconditioned seating. These coaches have wider leg room and offer better food compared to the normal Air conditioned seating(CC).
New on board entertainment systems have also been installed on some of these trains where the passengers can view movies and television serials directly via satellite. One of the first services to have this system is the Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express.
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