Transporting your motorcycle by train

For motorcycle tourers from far flung areas of India (with respect to Ladakh), traveling to Ladakh  presents a unique challenge, and how to get your motorcycle closer to the mighty Himalayas, without riding it for days on end, in the boring plains.

If you too are thinking of this, then there are two options in front of you, one is using the Indian Railways to transport your motorcycle to the nearest railway station (Jammu, Delhi or Chandigarh) or using a transport/courier company to transport your motorcycle to a place of your choosing (subject to their operation area).

Transporting motorcycle through train is not only cheaper than using a courier company, it is faster as well! However, thanks to the bureaucracy involved, it can be a tiring and at times, frustrating affair. Here are couple of links for reference, which will help you cope better with this ordeal by letting you know the basic procedure involved in shipping your motorcycle through train; Transporting motorcycle by train and Rules and Charges of Bike transportation.

It is best to transport your motorcycle (if you are taking it as luggage with you) in a train which starts from the station you would be boarding from and ends at your destination station. This is necessary to not only ensure that you get enough time to load your motorcycle in the train, but also to ensure that there is enough space left in the parcel wagon to accommodate your motorcycle.

If the train does not end at the station you would getting off at, you might not have enough time to take out your motorcycle. Take for example, what happened to a friend of mine, who was bringing his motorcycle from Pune to Delhi. Due to the way luggage was stuffed in the parcel wagon, the wagon door could not be opened at Delhi railway station, where the train had stopped for around 20mins and in the end he had to travel in the same train till Pathankot, where the other side door of the parcel wagon opened and he could take out his motorcycle, though not before arguing and bribing railway officials, who wanted to ship his motorcycle back to Delhi, as that was supposed to be the destination station!

Also while your motorcycle is being packed, make sure you are present to inspect everything, to ensure it is properly done and the bike is loaded in to parcel wagon in a correct manner, else there is a chance of fairing and other items breaking/cracking due to improper handling by the porters.

However despite all the precautions you take, there is still a chance of something or the other going wrong, so make sure to factor in at least a few hours of buffer time, to get the motorcycle checked/repaired and for any major delays at the railway station.

Happy touring…


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