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I'm going to be arriving at Delhi Airport in the afternoon, and plan to take a night train departing from Delhi Cantt station (DEC).

My current approach would be to take the airport metro to Dwarka Sector 21 and walk 2.2km or take the 717 bus to Shahabad Muhammadpur Halt (SMDP), where I can catch a train to Delhi Cantt.

However, train schedule information for that line on that day isn't available (yet?), and I don't know the area. Is that a sensible plan? Can I assume the 54411 to run daily (as the IRCTC website doesn't know 5xxxx trains apparently)?

  • How much time do you have between your flight's arrival until your train from Cantt departs? Is it a domestic arrival or an international arrival? – gparyani Mar 21 '18 at 22:19
  • @gparyani, International arrival scheduled at 13:00, the train leaves at 21:19. – Simon Richter Mar 21 '18 at 22:24
  • Its a sensible plan. But if I remember that area correctly, this is a really crappy walk, going through the backacking ghetto area with touts, cows, pickpocketers etc. Dirty, too. If you have a roller bag, I wouldn't do it. And avoid it if it rains or rained recently. – George Y. Mar 22 '18 at 4:33
  • The train in question is a passenger train (Numbers like 5xxxx are for passenger trains). The information on net tells that this is an intercity unreserved train. Those trains have the lowst priority on Indian rail network and it is possible the train is very late, not running or packed (as it is preferred mode of transport between distant cities for the masses due to very low fares). I would not recommend this train to you if you are not familiar with Indian conditions. – RedBaron Mar 22 '18 at 7:06
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Is this a sensible plan?

If you are not familiar with Delhi, I'd say NO.

Delhi's public transport (apart from excellent Metro network) is not easy to navigate. The buses have a high probability of being late (with no live indicators) and being over-crowded. Signages will be in Hindi and there is no indication of when the next bus is expected at the stop. You have to buy a ticket on-board and language barrier may be a hindrance.

Walking may be difficult (especially in summer) and if you have luggage.

The train you have in mind is an unreserved passenger train that operates between two big cities on two sides of the capital. Such trains have the lowest priority on the rail network and are used by workers who work in Delhi and live in those cities for daily commute. There is a news item about how these trains are over-crowded and an (essential?) nightmare for travellers. So I would not recommend this train unless you have prior experience of riding unreserved inter-city trains in India.

Alternatives:

  • As pointed out by jpatokal in his answer you can use Ola/Uber/prepaid cab from Airport to Delhi Cantt. railway station. Google maps puts the distance at around 15km and travel time of around 30-40 minutes.

  • You can take the Airport Express metro line to New Delhi and get down at Dhaula Kuan. Then take an autorickshaw to Delhi Cantt. Maps says the distance is around 6kms. Remember to negotiate a fare with the driver before starting your journey (if the driver is not using a meter).

  • Delhi Cantt. is part of Delhi metro's under construction pink line and news reports say this section is operational. I have not used this part of metro but wiki (and news reports) say that there is an interchange facility at Dhaula Kuan station for pink line. EDIT: As pointed out by @jpatokal, the interchange is not ready yet and even when ready, it will be quite a walk.

    If you have time to spare you can try the following route: Take the Airport Metro Express to New Delhi and get down at Dhaula Kuan. Interchange to Pink line station "South Campus" (not currently possible). This station is currently acting as terminus. Take the train to Majlis park and get down at next station (Delhi Cantt.). Unfortunately, Delhi cantt. metro and railway stations are almost 4 kms apart, so again you'll have to take the auto.

  • The connection between the Airport Express and Pink Lines is not ready yet, and apparently the distance between the two is almost a kilometre (!). – jpatokal Mar 22 '18 at 15:03
  • @jpatokal You are correct. The walkway is not yet although might be ready by June (if news reports are true) – RedBaron Mar 23 '18 at 6:36
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Unless you're already familiar with public transport in Delhi, I would simply take an Uber/Ola or maybe an autorickshaw from the metro station direct to Delhi Cantt.

Delhi is not suitable for pedestrians or an easy city to navigate, so walking is not a good option. It will also be extremely hot if you're planning this within the next few months.

Signage for both buses and bus stops is both minimal and often Hindi only, so taking a bus from an unfamiliar location to another unfamiliar ovation is going to be challenging. In addition, buses are often packed to the rafters and mostly not air-conditioned.

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    +1. I'd go for Uber/Ola or a prepaid cab as standard cabs/autorickshaws have a high probability of overcharging (especially when the passenger is a foreign national). – RedBaron Mar 22 '18 at 7:15
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    +1 but in the case of not having a functional phone, I would recommend taking a prepaid taxi that you can book inside the airport before exiting the arrivals hall. Further, last time I checked there was also a Uber/Ola booking stall inside the airport arrivals area that you can use in the case of not having a phone. – crayarikar Mar 22 '18 at 8:29

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