India has the largest network of railway tracks in Asia and the second largest in the world. There are more than 4,000 railway stations in India and more than 2.5 crore people travel each day in these trains. This magnitude of travel needs proper management and infrastructure at each junction and our famously huge railway stations come into play for just that.
Also see: Most Beautiful Rail Routes in India
Biggest Railway Stations in India
1. Howrah Junction, Kolkata
Howrah Junction railway station is the oldest railway station in India, opening in 1854, and is also one of the busiest one. To tackle the huge crowd and arrival of trains, this station is huge in size and has 23 platforms and 26 tracks. Located on the west bank of the Hooghly River in Kolkata, the passengers may have a hard time getting through all the other passengers getting on and off of various trains from across the country. Howrah station is divided in Terminal-1 and Terminal-2, with the first 15 platforms in T1. More than a million passengers and 670 trains depart or arrive at this station each day which is the highest handling capacity of any Indian railway station.
2. Sealdah, Kolkata
In the same city as Howrah station, Sealdah railway station is three platforms shy of the previous one. With 20 platforms serving day and night to the urban travelers, it is a major terminus in regular travel. This too is divided into two terminals, the North one has 13 platforms and South section has the rest of the 7 platforms. The station is a bit younger than Howrah at 157 years old and set up in 1869. Sealdah too experiences a crowd of one million each day, making it one of the busiest in India.
3. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
The famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai has 18 bay platforms and is the largest in Mumbai. Of the 18, 11 platforms serve for long-distance inter-state trains while the rest 7 are for local suburban trains. CST was formerly known as Victoria Terminus and remains a historic monument in Mumbai as well as one of the most recognizable areas of the city. It was built in 1887 and was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It is the headquarters of Central Railways section of Indian Railways and sees nearly 1,250 trains arrive and depart each day, totaling to more than a million passengers per day.
4. New Delhi Railway Station (Main), New Delhi
The 16 platforms of the New Delhi railway station handle over 350 trains daily and make for one of the largest railway stations in India. In fact, it holds the Guinness Book record for the largest route relay interlocking system in the world. Relatively younger than the previous stations on this list, it began operation in 1926 and currently serves as the central railway station in Delhi. It stands between the Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj and sees more than two lakh passengers travel each day.
5. Chennai Central Railway Station, Chennai
Formerly known as Madras Central, the Chennai Central railway station is one of the busiest and central railway hubs in Southern India. It has 15 railway platforms for long-distance trains including 3 platforms just for local suburban trains. This nearly 150-year-old structure is also one of the most recognizable landmarks in Chennai since being opened in 1873. Half a million passengers travel through this station each day and that makes it one of the busiest railway stations in South India, and India as well.
6. Gorakhpur Railway Station, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh
Gorakhpur Railway Station is a prominent junction for Northern Indian Railways since it connects trains and train tracks from all over the country. It is also famous for consisting of the world’s longest railway platform, having a total length of 1,366 meters. Situated in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, it is the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway. It has 10 platforms and 26 tracks currently.
7. Kanpur Railway Station, Kanpur
Kanpur Central (also known as Cawnpore North Barracks (CNB)) is one of the busiest stations and one of the five Central Indian stations in India. In terms of passengers, it sees one million each day and in terms of trains more than 600 trains pass through each day. The station has ten platforms, but more than 580 railway stations are directly connected to it nationwide, making them the biggest number of connections to a single station in the country. It opened in 1930 and still remains a vital junction for Indian railways.
8. Vijayawada Railway Station, Andra Pradesh
Opened in 1888 in Andhra Pradesh, the Vijayawada Railway Station has 10 platforms, one of them being among the longest in the country. The traffic of passengers is lower than the ones above in the list, at one lakh, but it has over 400 trains passing through each day. And the freight and express trains make up a lot of the train traffic additionally, thus making it one of the busiest in the country. With a standard station layout, the junction has an old and traditionally British look from the outside.
9. Kalyan Junction, 54km from Mumbai
Younger than other stations on this list, Kalyan Railway Station was built in 1954 and serves as a major railway station in Mumbai on the central line of the suburban network. Despite being away from a major city, the station sees a daily traffic of one lakh passengers and 300 trains, since it lies at an important location. It has 8 platforms that receive both suburban and long-distance trains.
10. Nagpur Railway Junction, Nagpur, Maharashtra
One of the oldest operating stations and tracks in India, Nagpur Junction Railway Station connected to Mumbai in 1867 for the first time. Still being one of the busiest junctions in India, it is located near the Howrah-Mumbai and New Delhi–Chennai main lines. There are eight platforms here and a total of 260 trains travel through here, as well as more than one lakh passengers.
India has several other prominent railway stations such as Kollam Junction, Kharagpur and Bilaspur Railway Station that are some of the busiest in the country. People use railways every day to either travel for work or leisure and thus a huge network of tracks helps a lot.