A Pakistan Railways express train

Taking the train in Pakistan...

small bullet point  Classes of accommodation

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Karachi to Lahore, Rawalpindi & Peshawar

small bullet point  Karachi to Quetta

small bullet point  Quetta to Lahore, Rawalpindi & Peshawar

small bullet point  The Khyber Pass railway

small bullet point  International trains from Pakistan to India & Iran

small bullet point  Europe to Pakistan & India overland


Useful country information

Train operator:

Pakistan Railway Corporation - www.pakrail.gov.pk

Time zone & dial code:

GMT + 5.  Dial code +92.

Currency:

1 = approx 331 rupees.  $1 = 275 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.  UK citizens can now get an e-visa online, see visa.nadra.gov.pk - e-visas will be extended to other nationalities in due course.  Check travel advice at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before visiting.

Page last updated:

6 February 2023


What are Pakistani trains like?

Classes of accommodation

You can check train times and availability at the Pakistan Railways site, www.pakrail.gov.pk.

How to buy tickets

In theory, you can buy tickets at the official website www.pakrail.gov.pk, booking opens 90 days ahead.  However, you need a Pakistani national ID number and payment only works with Pakistani-issued credit cards, so it's a non-starter for most visitors.  The same applies to some other third party websites selling tickets online via the official system.

For visitors, the best bet appears to be contacting a local Pakistani travel agent.  Let me know if you find a good one!

An express train at Lahore

An express train at Lahore.  Photo courtesy of Chris Silvester.


Karachi to Lahore, Rawalpindi & 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.  Check times locally - with so few people going to Pakistan I have not spent much time updating these tables.

 Karachi ► Lahore ► Peshawar

 

Train No.:

27

41

15

7

1

101

103

107

 

Classes:

P,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

 Karachi (Cantonment)

depart

 06:00  day 1

 15:30  day 1

 16:30  day 1

 17:30  day 1

 22:15  day 1

-

-

-

 Hyderabad

arr/dep

 08:25  day 1

 17:40  day 1

 18:43  day 1

 19:43  day 1

 00:40  day 2

 -

 -

 -

 Rohri

arr/dep

 12:30  day 1

 21:45  day 1

 22:55  day 2

 00:30  day 2

 05:00  day 2

 -

 -

 -

 Multan (Cantonment)

arr/dep

     |

     |

     |

 07:20  day 2

 13:05  day 2

 -

 -

 -

 Lahore (Junction)

arr/dep

 00:40  day 1

 09:00  day 2

 10:40  day 2

 13:20  day 2

 19:55  day 2

07:00

16:30

18:00

 Rawalpindi

arr/dep

-

-

-

 19:10  day 2

 01:50  day 3

11:45

21:25

22:36

 Attock 

arr/dep

-

-

-

-

 03:17  day 3

-

-

-

 Peshawar (City)

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

 05:10  day 3

 -

 -

 -

 Peshawar (Cantonment)

arrive

 -

 -

 -

 -

 05:30  day 3

 -

 -

 -

A = AC sleeper, B = AC Business berths, P = Parlour car seats, S = AC Standard berths, E = Economy berths & seats, 2 = 2nd class seats. 

Check times at www.pakrail.gov.pk.

Train 1/2 = The KHYBER MAIL, most famous train in Pakistan, 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

104

108

 

Classes:

P,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

A,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

P,B,S,E

 Peshawar Cantonment  

depart

-

 22:00  day 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Peshawar City

depart

-

 22:12  day 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Attock 

arr/dep

-

 23:47  day 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Rawalpindi

arr/dep

-

 01:55  day 2

 08:00  day 1

-

-

07:00

16:30

18:00

 Lahore (Junction)

arr/dep

 06:00  day 1

 07:50  day 2

 13:55  day 1

 16:00  day 1

 17:00  day 1

11:50

21:30

22:25

 Multan (Cantonment)

arrive

|

 14:25  day 2

 19:35  day 1

 |

     |

-

-

-

 Rohri

arr/dep

 18:20  day 1

 22:45  day 2

 02:25  day 2

 03:30 day 2

 04:40  day 2

-

-

-

 Hyderabad

arr/dep

 22:15  day 1

 05:25  day 3

 07:33  day 2

 07:15  day 2

 08:35  day 2

-

-

-

 Karachi Cantonment

arrive

 00:45  day 1

 05:15  day 3

 09:55  day 2

 09:45  day 2

 11:05  day 2

-

-

-

 How much does it cost?

 One-way per person:

AC sleeper

AC Business

AC Standard

Economy berth

Economy seat

 Karachi - Rawalpindi by Tezgam Express

Rs 10,000

Rs 76,000

Rs 5,700

Rs 3,450

Rs 3,350

 Karachi - Lahore by Karachi Express

Rs 8,550

Rs 6,650

Rs 4,750

Rs 2,950

Rs 2,850

1 = approx 330 rupees.  $1 = 275 rupees.  You can check fares at www.pakinformation.com.

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


Karachi to Quetta

 Karachi ► Quetta

 

 

 Quetta ► Karachi

Train No.:

3

Train No:

4

Classes:

S,E

Classes:

S,E

 Karachi City depart:

18:00 day 1

 Quetta depart:

11:00 day 1

 Karachi Cantonment depart:

18:20 day 1

 Karachi Cantonment arrive:

08:30 day 2

 Quetta arrive:

15:40 day 2

 Karachi City arrive:

08:50 day 2

S = AC Standard berths, E = Economy berths & seats

Train 3/4 = BOLAN MAIL.   Check these times at www.pakrail.gov.pk.  Check fares at www.pakinformation.com.


Quetta to Lahore, Rawlapindi & Peshawar

 Quetta ► Peshawar

 

 

 Peshawar ► Quetta

Train No.:

39

23

Train No.:

40

24

Classes:

A,B,S,E

1

Classes:

A,B,S,E

1

 Quetta depart:

09:00

10:00  day 1

 Peshawar Cant. depart:

05:45

-

 Lahore arrive:

07:30

10:20  day 2

 Rawalpindi depart:

09:30

-

 Rawalpindi arrive:

13:40

-

 Lahore depart:

15:10

17:00  day 1

 Peshawar arrive:

17:50

-

 Quetta arrive:

14:25

17:40  day 2

A = AC sleeper, B = AC Business berths, P = Parlour car seats, S = AC Standard berths, E = Economy berths & seats, 2 = 2nd class seats

Train 23/24 = AKBAR EXPRESS.

Train 39/40 = JAFFAR EXPRESS.

Check these times at www.pakrail.gov.pk.  Check fares at www.pakinformation.com.


Khyber Pass

The line up the Khyber Pass from Peshawar to Landi Kotal, 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.


Pakistan to India by train

  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.

Update: Tension in Kashmir means all India-Pakistan trains are suspended at the moment.

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.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before travelling.

Europe to Pakistan overland

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 in Karachi & Pakistan

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

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 & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance...

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 and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  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 with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flagwww.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

  US flag If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility listMaya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you 5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Always carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or from Buy from Amazon.com.

 


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