This blog is on New Delhi railway station , can consider it as a New Delhi railway station arrival/departure guide ,will try to cover most of the points which any traveller to New Delhi railway station have to face specially 1st timer and foreigners which are not used to Indian railway system .
There are few railway stations in Delhi from where interstate long distance train operates. New Delhi (NDLS), Delhi Jn (DLI) also known as Old Delhi , Hazrat Nizamuddin (NZM) , Delhi Cantt (DLE) and Anand Vihar Terminal (ANVT) are the main railway stations situated at different part of Delhi.
New Delhi is busiest among all and trains to almost all directions in India operate from here. Also with respect to tourist point of view its most important railway station in Delhi. Daily thousands of passengers arrives at New Delhi, many of those travellers are 1st timer at Delhi .In this post I am trying to share a comprehensive guide of New Delhi railway station, and also share all possible mode of transport to city and some common scams which you (specially foreign tourist) should be aware of.
New Delhi railway station is situated at North Central part of Delhi, very close to Cannaught Place. There are two sides of railway station, Paharganj (PF No 1) and Ajmeri Gate (PF No 16) so you need to choose your entry/exit according to your platform and destination.
Though now a day’s majority of travellers do online booking if still someone need to book from counter then there is a reservation office at Paharganj side, its outside of main campus in a separate building .Come out of railway campus and turn left, it’s in a campus less than 100 meter from exit gate on your left side.
The above reservation office is for Indians, foreigners need to go International Tourist Bureau* which is situated within the main building on Paharganj side. It’s situated on 1st floor of main building and remains open 24 hr and 365 days .There are hundreds of fake foreign tourist/ticket office around railway station and other parts of Delhi which should be avoided .Even when you be walking towards genuine tourist ticket office there are good chance that you would be stopped by a (so called) friend and try to persuade you that the this ticket office is closed and you need to visit another one outside the campus, just ignore them.
* International Tourist Bureau is a dedicated train ticked office for foreigner/NRI. Other than New Delhi it is operating in few other cities also like Kolkata ,Chennai ,Mumbai ,Varanasi, Agra Cant. In a city where ITB is not available foreigner have to use the common ticket office (called computerised reservation centre) .At many reservation centre of big cities there is one dedicated window for foreigner/NRI.
This video gives good idea about fake tourist office and how to reach the genuine one.
Unreserved Ticket Counter:
These are situated on both side of railway staion . Paharganj side situated at main building and at Ajmeri Gate side on 1st floor of main building.
Waiting halls are available on both side depending upon class of travel with wash room facility but as New Delhi is one of the busiest railway station all remains crowded , in fact during peak hours even normal chairs at Platform are difficult to get.
There is also an Executive lounge at Ajmeri Gate side which is paid, you may avail that if needed, mostly advance booking is not needed.
There are paid porters all over who can help you with baggage if you needed .There uniform is red shirt/kurta and have a badge. You don’t even have to find them, they would find you, if arriving to take a train they would be near drop area or metro exit .If arriving by train they would be 1st to enter the coach (even before train comes to halt).There is government rate for porter service but its useless, if taking their service do fix their price before allowing them to touch your baggage clearly stating what is your drop point, also if possible note or take photo of their badge number.
Left Luggage facility
Railway also offers left luggage facility (called as cloak room) for passengers at very reasonable rate , you need a arrival or departure ticket from New Delhi to use it .Its situated at PF No 1 and PF No 16,remains open 24 hr except for 15 minute during shift change 3 times a day.
There are many travellers who just transit through New Delhi daily, there stop at New Delhi are just for few hours or may be a day maximum and need a accommodation brief stopover. For them the options are:
Within railway station Building
There railway retiring room (Rooms and Dormitory) at both Paharganj and Ajmeri gate side. These are basic but best hassle free stay option during few hours of transit, not even have to come out of railway station building but this need to be book in advance online,extremely less chance of getting a room/bed by walking, preferably book just after booking tickets ,can’t be book before booking of ticket as system would ask for PNR and which station and when retiring room can be booked depends upon journey.
Within railway station campus
Ginger Rail Yatri Niwas is situated within the premises on Ajmeri gate site.Though names looks like a government property but it is budget business hotel operated by Tata group under their brand Ginger. Its a good budget property, clean and safe option to stay close to station and also to metro. Metro is 2 min walking from hotel,also have a decent in house restaurant. Anyone can book the property, train reservation not required.
Outside the railway campus
Paharganj have hundreds of budget hotels but in the same time it’s too crowded, also lots of scammers, pickpocketing is another problem like most crowded parts of Delhi .If staying in a Pharaganj hotel then exit from platform no 1 side .If your hotel is not too far from railway station specially on main bazaar road and having not too heavy baggage then can even walk to the hotel, safety is not an issue and the road remains busy till late evening .You can even take share e riksaw after exiting railway station at the starting of main bazaar road which goes till the end of main bazaar road to RK Ashram metro station .If the hotel is in other location like DB Gupta road or Arakshan road or having heavy baggage then can hire paddle riksaw/e riksaw or auto ,share e riksaw to RK Ashram metro station also available at starting of main bazaar road which goes through main bazaar road. If possible better to avoid Auto drivers which mobs you after exiting the station building ,you will get e riksaw/paddle riksaw just after coming out of campus ,do bargain and settle a price before boarding ,whichever mode you take.
Within Railway station
There are basic restaurant/food kiosk at platform 1 and 16,other than these there are numerous stall at every platform selling packed food and drinks .There are two food stall just near metro exit at Paharganj side.
Outside Railway campus
There are lots of eateries at Paharganj. When you come out of railway station campus these restaurants are 1st to be seen on the main road ,better to avoid those specially those which are situated just at main road, there are many complain of those scamming people, initially the staff would tell customer that thali is of X rupees but when you complete your meal the bill would be much more than the earlier price ,then they will say that the rates were of only basic items ,salad ,butter and many side items cost separately whereas during serving they won’t tell you ,in the end you may be paying double triple than the said rates. Also at the rate display board they quote rates for half plates but half plate are written so small that impossible for a new one to see ,he ordered considering rates for one plate and in the end pays double .I am not saying that all are scammers but majority are ,if you go little away from railway station would get better option.
When food is concerned Ajmeri gate side has very less option wrt Paharganj .There is Burger King and 2 food stall near metro entry (Yellow line) within the campus .Little further ahead Ginger yatri niwas has a restaurant .Outside the campus there isn’t any decent option near the exit. There are few street vendors and stall which is must skip, there are few small restaurants near UPSRTC depot when you walk towards Kamla Market after exiting the campus but again I would skip even in worst case. The Airport express metro station have a Cafe coffee day on -2 floor, non metro user can also use that.
Mode of transport
If your destination is not too far then Auto are good option for a solo or couple with baggage, .When you come out of platform (1 or 16) will be stormed by Auto (and Taxi) driver, though every registered auto/taxi have metre but no one will use it, just bargain and finalise the rate before boarding, the farther you walk towards exit better rate you will get ,if you are used to travelling in India and have little idea about rates then not a bad idea, otherwise take auto from prepaid booth, you just have to tell them the area or location ,they have fix rate of each area, you give money at (no card accepted) and they assign you an auto, sometime have to wait for auto their but safer and less hassle.
If destination is far away in Delhi or NCR or having big group/baggage then better to hire a taxi.Just as Auto driver you will be received by many Taxi driver, again either bargain with them and fix a price or go for prepaid cab.
The prepaid booth is situated at both Ajmerigate and Paharganj side.
App based cab
If having Indian Sim and smart phone with internet then best is to use Ola or Uber, economical than those black/green cabs, will get cleaner AC vehicle without hassle of bargaining and least prone to scam .They have pick up / drop lane just outside the main building (both side) within the campus if someone (mostly taxi/auto drivers) says that Ola/Uber not allowed at railway station just ignore them. Just come out of main building (both side) and you will see queue of cabs picking/dropping passengers.Just keep the area around railway stations are congested and anytime busy and crowded so sometime it take more time for a cab to arrive from even a small distance.
Delhi/NCR is having a good network of metro system connecting almost all part of Delhi and major area of NCR.New Delhi railway station is situated on Yellow line and Orange line (Airport) and the metro station is situated at Ajmeri gate side,both are situated within the campus.If not travelling with heavy baggage and have idea about your destination then can use metro ,for last mile connectivity can use e riksaw or auto which are easily available at almost all metro station.Just keep in mind that during peak hour the metro can be heavily crowded so may avoid that time.Metro operates between 6 am to 12 pm (subject to 1st and last stop of the route).
There is another line (orange) which goes directly to Delhi airport in less than 20 min,it operates 4:30 am to 11:30pm.Airport express metro is best option to travel between Airport and New Delhi railway station, fast ,less crowded, safe and economical. Keep in mind that the airport line goes via T3/T2,if flight is from T1 then have to disembark at Aerocity and then a short feeder bus ride to T1,regular buses are available ,if in hurry can hire auto/cab which are readily available at Aerocity.Other stop at airport line is Shivaji Stadium,Dhaulakuan and Dwarka (Terminates).
*Many tourist shared their experience having difficulties getting out of Airport express metro station and then walk to Paharganj via New Delhi railway station so I am sharing in detail how to reach.
The platform of New Delhi airport express metro station is on G-(minus) 3 level.After disembarking from train 1st have to take elevator/escalator to 1 level up and then have to walk towards exit,there is only one exit so till this point there shouldn’t be any confusion,everyone would be going same way.At exit after AFC gate (Automatic Fare Collection) gate there is a Cafe coffee gate on right side and on left side can see a hall and escalators/elevators going up on left and extreme left (at end of hall) airlines check in counter.Those going for railway station have to use the elevator/escalator going up and have to go 2 level up to G level.(There is another way going just opposite to escalator to Yellow line and can also exit to railway station campus but that is little confusing for new one so avoid it). When you are level G just have to take exit and you are just in front of New Delhi railway station.
Now next task to reach Railway station/Paharganj. After exit metro station can see railway station across road.You can also see Green/Red buses parked opposite side of the road,just have to cross the road in Indian side and can see a walk way going towards railway station,just follow that and then at the end of walkway find the pick up/drop lane of car/cab/auto,crossing that you are in front of railway station building.You can see main entrance on straight/left,a stair/escalator on right and another on extreme left.Those having train from platform number 16 should use main entrance,those having train from PF other than 16 should use any of the stairs/escalator or left or right and those going for Paharganj should take the stairs/escalator on extreme left only.The foot over bridge on the extreme left goes till Paharganj side and at the end you would be outside railway station building on Paharganj side.
New Delhi is well connected by DTC bus also but not suggested for someone new to India or travelling with heavy baggage. There is one route which can be used which is Airport ex 4,this goes till airport and economical and safe option to travel to airport during non operational hours of metro.This bus runs 24 hrs a day and have very limited stop,starts from ISBT Kashmiri gate,then New Delhi railway station , Dhaulakuan ,Terminal 1 and terminal 3 and vice versa.The bus stop is on Ajmeri gate side on main road in front of Airport express building. Travelling on DTC bus is safe but the stop where this bus stops doesn’t looks safe to me during night,if travelling from Airport its ok because you just disembark and proceed towards platform but waiting for bus to Airport may not be an pleasant experience specially for female travellers.
Hotel Pick up
Most of the hotels provide pick up service.Its the least hassle mode of transfer,if requested earlier the driver can meet you at platform too infront of your coach.Depending upon hotel it may cost you little more but good idea if 1st time to Delhi or arriving late night.
Now to most important topic ,probable scams at New Delhi railway station (and other station).There are few common scams which regularly happens to foreign tourist .Foreigners travelling through New Delhi (and even other railway station in Delhi) should have idea about those and try to avoid the situation .
Train cancel scam
This is most common scam happening at railway station for years.This scams happens throughout the year but during winter time when fog is a big problem in North India and there are delays (and even cancellation of few trains) and New Delhi railway station is chaotic and this is the time when scammers are most active.
A tourist arrives at railway station ,somewhere between baggage scanner to platform he is approached by someone posing as a railway officer (sometime approached as a friendly local also) and ask his ticket, tourist shows his ticket and in a moment he tell the tourist that his train is cancelled ,he need to book another train or have to take cab. The scammer told him about a Government tourist booking office which is outside railway station ,he even himself escort the tourist or his accompanied take the tourist to those fake tourist office and force to get taxi (they target mostly tourist going to Agra/Jaipur and nearby) at highly inflated rate .
Tourist should keep few things in mind. Tourist should keep few things in mind. When you reach railway station you should find train display board, these are electronic display board placed at various place at railway station including entry point of station building .This board displays train number ,train name ,arrival/departure time and platform ,if unfortunately its cancelled will be displayed .After arriving at designated platform you should check for your coach number.Even if the train hasn’t arrived there are coach indicators which display coach position of arriving train (both in hindi and english at regular gap).If you have any doubt best option is to ask security staff or someone local travelling with family or stall vendor .
Ticket is not checked at entry point (only during exceptional time mostly during heavy Holi and Chhath festival l when there is heavy rush for east bound train and sometime during independence day and republic day for security reasons) ,it would be checked only at train after it left Delhi.If some one stops you then most probably its a scammer.
There is another version of this scam is wrong ticket scam. The scammer will say that the ticket you are carrying is only for Indian ,foreigners are not authorised to travel with this ticket and then again same story of Foreign tourist office .They can also say that this ticked needs to be validate/check in a day before journey and as it hadn’t been done so the ticket is invalid.
These stories played by scammers are just rubbish .There are some quota for for foreign tourist in train tickets but it doesn’t mean that the foreigners can only travel on that quota ,foreigner can travel on general quota tickets too ,no problem at all.
The ticket you received booking online on mail (or hard copy if bought from counter) is itself a complete travel authorization, you don’t need anything else other than ID proof (Passport in case of Foreigners) .The ticket have train number ,name ,seat number ,coach number and arrival departure time ,If at the time of booking it’s on wait list and later confirmed even that time you won’t need any new ticket ,just check online your seat and coach number and write down ,rest same ticket is good to travel as it have your PNR number on it.E Ticket can also be downloaded from IRCTC website from the profile which was used to book the ticket.
The soft copy of mail/ticket is good for travelling but to be on safe side can have its printout.
These scammers are so good in acting that there are few cases where they had hijacked tourist going towards foreign tourist bureau just few metres before it and again same story of tourist office. They was approached by either so called railway officer or friendly locals and cooked up a story that this office is closed now and shifted to other place outside or some other story like that.
The foreign tourist bureau remains open 24×7 and it is situated within the railway premises on 1st floor.
One more thing for which you should beware of at railway station is of pickpocket and also of your belongings
One more scam you should beware of is hotel closed/burned down or curfew/riots scam.This happens more from Airport but also from railway station.They mostly target foreigners who dont have indian sim to call anywhere.A tourist take auto/cab around night for their booked hotel,after leaving the railway station premises and going little further the driver start to cook up story that the hotel they had booked is closed now or burned down,when they are confirm that the guest dont have mobile to call he ring someone saying a government office or the hotel and his partner on other side confirm that the hotel is closed ,then he took the tourist to the so called government tourist office and same story,later transferred to an inferior hotel with inflated transfer.Other type of this scam is curfew/riot scam,driver tell that there is a riot in the area and its under curfew,its not safe to stay there (and some times not even in Delhi),he even take cab/auto to a dead end with a locked gate or (unmanned)police barricade ,when tourist have no option than believing his story then again to a fake tourist office and same story of booking hotel and cab.
Thanks for reading and hope it helps for your future travel through New Delhi railway station.
*All information shared are as per preCOVID19 TIME.Currently all tourist visa are suspended and even railway service are not normal.Hope situation becomes normal soon in future .Will regularly update/edit this blog as per latest situation
Thanks and Regards