Have you ever thought about How train numbers are decided? Indian Railways has a well-defined system for numbering the trains belonging to different areas.
How train numbers are decided?
Indian Railways is one of the largest railways networks in the world. Thousands of trains cover lakhs of kilometers with crores of passengers traveling every day.
For such a huge network, the booking system has to be efficient. Management of the trains is also very crucial. Therefore, every train is given an identity i.e a specific number.
Earlier there was a four-digit system that is now replaced with the five-digit system in December 2010. Each train number has some important information and each digit of the number has a different meaning.
The First Digit of the Train Number
The first digit ranges between 0 to 9 and each one of them has a different meaning. The first digit indicates the type of train.
|0||Holiday Special Trains|
|1, 2||Long-Distance Trains|
|3||Kolkata Suburban Trains|
|4||Other Suburban Trains|
(Chennai, New Delhi, Secundrabad)
|5||Passenger Trains with Conventional Coaches|
|6||Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU)|
|7||Railway services Diesel Multiple Units (DMU)|
|9||Mumbai Suburban/Local Trains|
The Second Digit of the Train Number
The second digit indicates the zone from where trains are operated. Refer to the list of zones in Indian Railways below.
Third Digits of a Train Number
The third digit indicates several things depending upon the first 2 digits. It may indicate a zone, a division, direction of travel, service between specific places, etc.
There are 19 zones in the Indian Railways.
|1||Northern Railway – NR|
|2||North Eastern Railway – NER|
|3||Northeast Frontier Railway – NFR, or NEFR|
|4||Eastern Railway – ER|
|5||South Eastern Railway – SER|
|6||South Central Railway – SCR|
|7||Southern Railway – SR|
|8||Central Railway – CR|
|9||Western Railway – WR|
|10||South Western Railway – SWR|
|11||North Western Railway – NWR|
|12||West Central Railway – WCR|
|13||North Central Railway – NCR|
|14||South East Central Railway – SECR|
|15||East Coast Railway – ECoR|
|16||East Central Railway – EC|
|17||Konkan Railways (Under CR)|
|18||Metro Railway – Kolkata|
|19||South Coast Railway – SCoR (Newest zone)|
Last 2 Digits of a Train Number
The last 2 digits are generally the random numbers given to maintain the uniqueness of the train numbers. There are some exceptions where the 4th digit also has some significance. Note: We have covered the generalized patterns in the numbering system. There are several exceptions specific to certain cases.