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.
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!
A new weekly international train called the Thar Express started on 17 February 2006.
- Eastbound: The Thar Express leaves Karachi every Friday at 23:00, arriving at ‘Zero Point’ on the Pakistan/India frontier at around 08:00 next morning. After customs checks, the train goes forward to Munabao on the Indian side, arriving around 11:00.The Indian train departs Munabao at 19:00 after customs formalities, arriving Jodhpur (Bhagat Ki Kothi station) at 23:50 Saturday.
- Westbound: The Thar Express leaves Jodhpur (Bhagat Ki Kothi station, about 4km from the main station) every Saturday morning at 01:00 arriving Munabao at 07:00, leaving Munabao at around 14:30 on Saturdays, reaching Karachi at 02:15 on Sunday morning.
- The sleeper fare from Jodhpur to Munabao/zero point is about Rs170, and from Munabao/zero point to Karachi is about Rs230. No more information is yet available, but feedback would be appreciated! The train has one sleeping-car and several economy cars.
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.