There are two railway stations in the Mumbai area from which you can catch trains to Pune - CST (formerly Victoria Terminus - VT) and Dadar Station. The line starts at CST, which is in the central Mumbai area. Although Dadar station is nearer to the airport than CST, only get on at Dadar if you don't have much luggage - the train only stops for 3 minutes! (Also the Deccan Queen train doesn't stop at Dadar). Either way, you book the ticket to start from CST. From the airport, a taxi (prepaid at the airport booth) to CST in Mumbai costs about Rs250 - Rs300 and takes one to two hours, depending on the traffic.
To travel by train you must have a ticket AND a reservation. Seats on most trains are reserved several days in advance. The best is to book reserved train tickets in advance through Travel Masters.
They will meet you at the airport with your train tickets.
Tickets can also be purchased from the first-class booking office at either station. If necessary, it is perfectly OK to get on any train with a ticket and buy the reservation from the conductor on the train (you will pay a penalty of Rs180 or so for not having a reservation, but ALL the seats are often full). DON'T get on the train without a ticket!
Another option if you are in Mumbai a while is to book a ticket yourself at the "Foreigner" booking window at CST. Here tickets are held for foreigners, but you have to book 10 hours or more before the train departs. They sometimes want to see your bank exchange certificate before accepting your money.
At the Station
Indian train stations are an adventure in themselves! Expect lots of people, colors, smells and confusion. When your taxi stops, you will be surrounded by porters (they have red turbans and an armband with their number). TAKE YOUR TIME and check your luggage out of the taxi carefully! This is the moment things can get forgotten. You have to stay in charge or you will be swept off in a sea of porters! Choose one porter (or two if your luggage really needs two - you will need to pay each porter), show him your ticket and he will find your train and your seat. If the train is not in yet, he will wait with you on the right platform. Make sure the porter puts the luggage in a place where you agree.
The government rate for a porter is Rs16 for up to 120kg on a trolley (less if carried). Expect to pay at least Rs50 - Rs60, maybe a bit more if you really need to. The porter will probably ask for Rs150, so this may be your first go at bartering. Start at say Rs45 and then go up a bit. Expect to be told that your price is "last years' price!". If you need help, look for a traveler in a business suit (business people usually speak English!), they can translate for you.
Food and Drink
There is a snacks service on the train. We haven't heard of problems. But it is wise to be careful. The drinks seem safe. Wipe cutlery, cups, etc with your wet-wipes. The canned and bottled drinks are fine, hot cooked food is safer than cold food.
The Shatabdi train is air conditioned throughout. There are 2 classes - Executive (about Rs750) and AC Chair (about Rs365). Both are fine.
The price includes breakfast, tea, coffee and mineral water. Just buy any class ticket to Pune at the ticket office, get on the train and pay the difference. Apparently, there are always seats available. For current timings see the schedule.
The prices we show are for A/C Chair Class (CC) or for 2nd Class A/C Sleeper (2AC), when CC is not available. Cheaper tickets are available, for about one third of these prices, but we recommend this standard.
Trains depart at regular intervals from 6:00 a.m. through 11:30 p.m.
The following is the current train schedule.
Book with Travel Masters: click here