July 06, 2008

The Number Game

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!


Anonymous said...

wow! how much research do u put in really!

i shud bookmark this one.

Cinderella. said...

Wow !!! I am always awed at the level of your knowledge and the effort you actually must be putting in to honne this hobby of yours...which is a very rare thing.

Kudos again !!

Taureandude_23 aka TD23 said...

hey Vrij
great info there. i keep learning new things bout the IR cus of this blog. The numbering system. now all of it makes sense. I used to think that the numbering cant be random there has to be some explanation, but now i come to know of it:d This explains why the number of the train im takin to Haridwar is 9019. 9=North Western Railway. well be prepared for a whole list of questions:D ill be noting down a lotta railway doubts during the 2 day journey:d
take care

Vrij said...

@ Veens

I have'nt put any research into this.. just typed it out as if I was narrating a story..

@ Cindy

Its not actually a rare thing u see.. there are more than 5000 such people in this world. It just seems so different bcoz most ppl talk about cars n bikes but dont think about trains..

@ TD

Thanx buddy.. and yep.. plz do collect as many questions as you can. That will be fodder for another post here.. btw, when r u travelling? Have a super trip. I would be expecting some megashots from ur cam!

Aaarti said...

This sure is a treasure chest of info about the trains... stuff that we dont notice, but which is quite simple and right there....

btw, got a query- is there anyway one can book tickets online and be assured of getting LOWER berth? [ie, without clicking on those options, cos that at times takes money, but doesnt book tickets when the berth options arent met...am lost, while booking for granparents...:(]

Princess Mia said...

oke i was able to relate to the rajdhani bit :)

ceedy said...

first time on you blog...interesting...

will try and refer to it when I visit india....

since you look like one who likes research...one question?

do you know where the mile marker for any city in India starts from??? is it the GPO....

Vrij said...

@ Aaarti

Thanks. While booking on irctc.co.in, there is an option which says 'Book only if I get a lower berth'. But that ensures only one lower berth. The online booking does not have the entire feature list which IRCTC is sure working on. Apparently, in a few months time, one would be able to access more features on the website.

Vrij said...

@ Mia


@ Ceedy

Welcome here.. and hope u keep visiting this place for more chai n biskuts :)

Mile markers are set from the main areas of a city.. certainly not the GPO. For example in Hyderabad, the 0 mile marker is placed opposite the state assembly, which was till a few years ago the centre of the city. In Bangalore, Corporation circle has the mile marker. That place too was the bang centre of the city till the suburbs started growing.

Pri said...

wow! that was an enlightening post indeed! :D

Chakoli said...


Vrij jee at its BEST:-))

that really good info...

I usually get confused with numbers...up or down...


Vrij said...

@ Pri

Thanx :)

@ Chaks

phir se maska laga rahi hai ;)
There is a story to the UP and Down numbers too.. but of late its become very confusing.

ceedy said...

Thanks...so it is different in different cities...more specifically towards the center....

Vrij said...

@ Ceedy

Spot on!

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