In one of my earlier posts, I wrote that I traveled by the 6593 Nanded - Bangalore Hampi Link express from Vikarabad to Bangalore. And I returned by the 7604 Yeswantpur - Kacheguda Express. Did you know that the numbering of trains followed a pattern?
Why is it that a majority of trains touching Bangalore are either numbered 65xx or 62xx ? Or trains touching Hyderabad have a 70xx numbering?
Well there is a reasoning for that. The current pattern of numbering was implemented during computerisation of the Passenger reservation System (PRS) of Indian Railways. At that time, IR had 9 zones. However, in 1996, the then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar came up with the idea of creating more zones and six more zones were notified. This had to wait till 2002, when not six, but seven zones were carved out of the existing zonal structure. Anyways, the trains numbers were still retained which conformed to the earlier 9 zone plan. Newer trains however got into the new series.
Trains belonging to a particular zone had their numbers staring with specific digits.
0 - Konkan Railway and other passenger trains with reservation facility.
1 - Central Railway, West Central Railway
2 - All superfast trains encompassing all zones. Includes all Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi, Sampark Kranti and Garib Rath trains.
3 - Eastern Railway, East Central Railway
4 - Northern Railway, North Central Railway, North Western Railway
5 - North Eastern Railway and North-East Frontier Railway
6 - Southern Railway, South Westen Railway
7 - South Central Railway and a few trains of South Westen Railway.
8 - South Eastern Railway and East Coast Railway
9 - Western Railway, West Central Railway and North Western Railway.
Also, within each level, there are sub levels.
Trains starting with 7 are mostly trains of South Central Railway. The sub levels are based on the divisions within the zones.
70 - Secunderabad division
72 - Vijayawada / Guntur divisions
74 - Guntakal Division
76 - Hyderabad / Nanded Divisions
( Guntur and Nanded are newly carved out divisions)
75 - Erstwhile MG trains of Hyderabad division
77 - Erstwhile MG trains of Guntakal division
73 - Hubli division of South Western Railway ( Hubli div was in SCR earlier)
A similar pattern follows for all levels and zones.
Even in the Level 2 with superfast trains, there are sublevels corresponding to the main levels.
20 - Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi trains
21 - Central, West Central
22 - New superfast trains
23 - Eastern, East Central
.. and on and on for other sublevels.
Recently an issue has arisen with a lot of trains being made superfast, the sublevels for superfast trains are getting exhausted. For example, level 26 for SR and SWR is completely full and new SF trains in these zones are being allocated the vacant 22xx series. 28xx and 29xx series are slowly reaching capacity levels.
So, now you know what to expect when someone says he's travelling by 2628 express. Of course he's travelling towards Bangalore from New Delhi by the Karnataka Express!