Useful country information

Train operator:

Pakistan Railway Corporation - www.pakrail.com

 

 

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT + 5.  Dial code +92.

Currency:

1 = approx 122 rupees.  $1 = 85 rupees.  Currency converter

Flights & hotels:

Flights to Pakistan (Skyscanner search)   Hotel search

Tourist information:

www.tourism.gov.pk  Tripadvisor Pakistan page  Health & vaccinations

Visas:

UK citizens need a visa for Pakistan, see www.phclondon.org.  Check travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk before visiting.

Page last updated:

19 December 2012


Train travel in Pakistan

A Pakistan Railways express train at Lahore.

An express at Lahore.  Photo courtesy of Marcel Ochsner.

Train times & fares...

Karachi - Lahore - Rawalpindi - Peshawar

Karachi - Quetta

Quetta - Lahore - Peshawar

Khyber Pass railway

International trains from Pakistan to India & Iran

Europe to Pakistan & India overland

What are Pakistani trains like?

Trains have several classes:

Most important trains also have a restaurant car.  You can check train times and availability at the Pakistan Railways site, www.pakrail.com.

IMPORTANT:  In summer 2009 (and still the case in 2012) it's reported that Pakistan is not allowing westerners to use trains or other surface travel within Pakistan, to avoid the embarrassment of having a westerner involved in any potential terrorist incident.  The correspondent was refused a visa for Pakistan when they realised he was entering overland and intended using surface transport.  I do not know if this is temporary or not.  If you have any more feedback, please please let me know!   It was later reported by the same correspondent (in October 2009) that the Pakistani consulate in  Birmingham also refused a visa on those grounds, but that the Pakistani consulate in Bradford had no problem issuing a visa for overland travel, and he can now travel(!).

Sponsored links...

 


Karachi - Lahore - Peshawar

This is the mainline across Pakistan, and route of Pakistan's most famous train, the Khyber Mail.  There are lots of trains, but only the most important trains are shown here.  All trains shown have a restaurant car.

 Karachi ► Lahore ► Peshawar

 

Train No.:

27

41

7

15

1

107

101

103

 

Classes:

P,L,E

P,L,E

A,1,L,E

A,L,E

A,1,E

P,L,E

P,L,E

P,L,E

Karachi (Cantonment)

depart

 07:00  day 1

 16:00  day 1

 17:00  day 1

 18:00  day 1

 22:00  day 1

-

-

-

Hyderabad

arr/dep

 09:45  day 1

 18:40  day 1

 19:45  day 1

 20:35  day 1

 00:50  day 2

 -

 -

 -

Rohri

arr/dep

 14:50  day 1

 23:20  day 1

 00:40  day 2

 01:05  day 2

 05:40  day 2

 -

 -

 -

Multan (Cantonment)

arr/dep

     |

     |

 07:20  day 2

     |

 14:03  day 2

 -

 -

 -

Lahore (Junction)

arr/dep

 02:45  day 1

 10:15  day 2

 14:15  day 2

 12:00  day 2

 21:40  day 2

07:00

07:30

16:30

Rawalpindi

arr/dep

-

-

 19:30  day 2

-

 03:10  day 3

11:00

12:30

21:30

Attock 

arr/dep

-

-

-

-

 04:30  day 3

-

-

-

Peshawar (City)

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

 06:20  day 3

 -

 -

 -

Peshawar (Cantonment)

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

 06:40  day 3

 -

 -

 -

A = AC sleeper, 1 = 1st class sleeper, L = AC Lower seats, P = Parlour car seats, E = Economy seats, 2 = 2nd class seats

Train 1/2 = The KHYBER MAIL.  Recommended for Karachi-Peshawar journeys.

Train 7/8 = TEZGAM.  Recommended for Karachi-Rawalpindi journeys.

Train 15/16 = KARACHI EXPRESS.  Recommended for Karachi-Lahore journeys.

Train 27/28 = SHALIMAR EXPRESS.  Recommended for Karachi-Lahore journeys.

Train 41/42 = KARAKORAM EXPRESS.  Modern spacious Chinese-built coaches, with AC Lower Class sleepers, no AC Class sleepers.

 Peshawar ► Lahore ► Karachi

 

Train No.:

28

2

8

42

16

104

102

108

 

Classes:

P,L,E

A,1,E

A,1,L,E

P,L,E

A,L,E

P,L,E

P,L,E

P,L,E

Peshawar (Cantonment)

depart

-

 22:30  day 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Peshawar (City)

depart

-

 22:42  day 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Attock 

arr/dep

-

 00:12  day 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rawalpindi

arr/dep

-

 02:40  day 2

 08:15  day 1

-

-

07:30

16:30

18:00

Lahore (Junction)

arr/dep

 07:00  day 1

 08:30  day 2

 13:50  day 1

 16:00  day 1

 18:00  day 1

12:30

21:30

21:30

Multan (Cantonment)

arrive

|

 15:30  day 2

 20:55  day 1

 |

     |

-

-

-

Rohri

arr/dep

 19:20  day 1

 23:50  day 2

 04:00  day 2

 03:20 day 2

 05:25  day 2

-

-

-

Hyderabad

arr/dep

 00:10  day 1

 05:25  day 3

 09:15  day 2

 07:55  day 2

 09:55  day 2

-

-

-

Karachi (Cantonment)

arrive

 03:00  day 1

 06:45  day 3

 12:00  day 2

 10:45  day 2

 12:50  day 2

-

-

-

 Approximate fares

One-way per person:

AC sleeper

AC Lower (berth)

AC Lower (seat)

Economy (berth)

Economy (seat)

Karachi - Rawalpindi

Rs 2,600  (21 / $30)

Rs ?

Rs 1,175  (10 / $15)

Rs ?

Rs 505  (4 / $7)

Karachi - Lahore

(by Karakoram Express)

n/a

Rs 1,945  (16 / $23)

Rs 1,315  (11 / $17)

Rs 795  (7 / $10)

Rs 715  (6 / $8)

Children under 3 free, children 3 but under 12 travel at half the adult fare.

Below:  The Karakoram Express at Lahore station.  Photo courtesy of Koen Berghuis

Lahore railway station, Pakistan


Karachi - Quetta

 Karachi ► Quetta

 

 

 Quetta ► Karachi

Train No.:

3

Train No:

4

Classes:

1,E

Classes:

1,E

Karachi (City) depart:

17:00 day 1

Quetta depart:

11:00 day 1

Karachi (Cantonment) depart:

17:20 day 1

Karachi (Cantonment) arrive:

08:00 day 2

Quetta arrive:

14:10 day 2

Karachi (City) arrive:

08:25 day 2

A = AC sleeper, 1 = 1st class sleeper, L = AC Lower seats, P = Parlour car seats, E = Economy seats, 2 = 2nd class seats

Train 3/4 = BOLAN MAIL

Below:  Descending the Bolan Pass on an express from Quetta to Rawalpindi.  Photo courtesy of  Dr John Stubbs.

On the train from Karachi to Quetta


Quetta - Lahore & Peshawar

 Quetta ► Peshawar

 

 

 Peshawar ► Quetta

Train No.:

23

Train No.:

24

Classes:

A,1,E

Classes:

A,1,E

Quetta depart:

10:00  day 1

Peshawar depart:

08:00  day 1

Lahore arrive:

09:00  day 2

Rawalpindi depart:

11:40  day 1

Rawalpindi arrive:

15:10  day 2

Lahore depart:

17:20  day 1

Peshawar arrive:

18:40  day 2

Quetta arrive:

17:00  day 2

A = AC sleeper, 1 = 1st class sleeper, L = AC Lower seats, P = Parlour car seats, E = Economy seats, 2 = 2nd class seats

Train 23/24 = QUETTA EXPRESS


Khyber Pass

Peshawar - Landi Kotal

The line up the Khyber Pass, built by the British in 1920, is now officially closed to passenger trains.  Special steam excursions used to operate from time to time until 2006-8, but the line was damaged by floods, quite apart from the security situation in the area.


International trains

  Border ceremony between India & Pakistan
 

Above:  The border closure ceremony at Atari.  You can attend this if you use buses or taxis to cross. Photo courtesy of Koen Berghuis.

  Train crossing the border between India & Pakistan
 

Above:  The Samjohta Express crosses the India/Pakistan border.  Photo courtesy of Sudhir Mehra.

Pakistan to India by train...

Lahore-Amritsar-Delhi...

A twice-weekly train leaves Lahore at 08:00 on Mondays & Thursdays (these are the confirmed days of running as at November 2008, previously it ran on Tuesdays & Fridays) for Wagah (the Pakistan side of the Pakistan/India frontier) arriving 09:15, departing again after customs checks at 11:30 (in practice usually after 12:00) for Atari on the Indian side of the frontier, arriving 20 minutes later.  The train has 2nd class non-air-con seats only, and it's composed of Indian Railways carriages for half the year, Pakistani coaches for the other half (I suspect that the days of running may vary depending on which country is providing the coaches - it my run on Tues & Fri for part of the year when provided by Indian Railways, please double-check locally).  There are connections for Amritsar arriving around 15:00, and for Delhi (please double-check connecting times locally).  The fare from Lahore to Wagah is 130 Pakistani rupees.  Tickets are not sold at Lahore's main station, but at Lahore Railway Headquarters, about 2km from the station.  You need your passport to buy a ticket.  The fare from Wagah to Atari is 16 rupees.

For details of the westbound Samjhota Express from India to Pakistan, and for information on train travel within India, see the India page.

However, Lahore-Amritsar can also be done daily, and faster, by bus or taxi.  Take a bus or taxi Lahore-Wagah, walk through the frontier to Atari on the Indian side, then take a bus or taxi to Amritsar for daily trains to New Delhi.  Going by bus or taxi also allows you to see the spectacular ceremony at sunset when the border closes.  Indian and Pakistani guards try to outdo each other with their performances, watched by Indians and Pakistani crowds - as a tourist, you may get to sit in the VIP stand!    See the India page.

Karachi-Munabao-Jodhpur-Delhi...

A new weekly international train called the Thar Express started on 17 February 2006. 

Pakistan to Iran by train...

Trains run from Quetta to Zahedan (Iran) twice a month, see the Europe-India overland page.  Alternative buses may also be available, please check locally.  You should check the security situation in this part of Iran at www.fco.gov.uk before travelling.

London to Pakistan overland by train:  Click here...

This is possible in 2-3 weeks, if you are adventurous and have the necessary organisational & planning skills.  See the Europe-India overland page.


More information please!

If you have any photos, travel reports or more information that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!


Hotels & accommodation in Karachi & Pakistan

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site, as it's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Flights to Pakistan

Overland travel by train & bus around Pakistan is an essential part of the experience, so once there, don't cheat and fly, stay on the ground!  But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach Asia in the first place.  For flights to Pakistan, start with Skyscanner.

skyscanner generic 728x90


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a 1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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