Indian Railway

To improve the efficiency of train operations, Indian Railways adopt new and creative methods. One such unique concept is the “Slip train” or “Slip coaches”. These coaches are designated to terminate its journey at a station prior to the final destination of the rest of the train. Indian Railways officials prefer to use the more accurate term “sectional carriage”. Slip coaches in Indian railways are left behind after being detached from the rest of the train. In India this is done only after the train comes to a halt; the vacuum and brake connections have to be tested before the rest of the train can leave.

A through coach is like a slip coach, except that it is later re-attached to another train after being detached from the first one. Thus, the passengers in the coach do not have to change trains for their destination, even if no through train exists for that route.

Now check the running status of slip trains or commonly known as link express trains easily. You can understand the concept of LMS slip coaches by the following picture.

A: The starting station

B: The destination station

C: The slip source (the point at which coaches are detached)

D: The destination station for slip coaches

You can imagine a train going from A to B with through coaches. At some point C, some of the coaches from the train are detached and sent to another destination D through C-D route. The coaches that got detached at point C are called slip coaches and the route C-D is called the slip route. Sometimes, the point C becomes the destination for some coaches and the slip coaches proceed to their destination at D.

Some Slip Trains or Link Express Trains in Indian Railways

1. One of the best example to understand slip routes is the train Prashanti Nilayam Express. In the train schedule, from Kacheguda to Yesvantpur JN, there is a stop called Guntkal JN. At this station, some coaches are left behind which will be picked up by another train 17225 or 18047. Those trains will take those coaches through the slip route either to Hubli junction in Karnataka or Vasco Da Gama in Goa.

2. For the picture below, the train starts from Manduadih, Varanasi and runs as 11108 (Varanasi – Gwalior Bundelkhand Express) till Mahoba Jn. At that junction, some coaches of this train are detached and linked to another engine. Those are called slip coaches and they head for Khajuraho with train number 21108 (Bundelkhand Link Express). The remaining coaches continue to proceed to Gwalior. The same thing happens for the return journey, as some coaches are added to train number 11107 at Mahoba Jn. Those coaches are from train number 21107 coming from Khajuraho.

3. Another example of slip coaches train in India is 15014 Ranikhet Exp. from Kathgodam. It has 2 SL coaches and one AC-2T coach that are slip coaches for Dehradun. These are detached and attached to the 14265 Mail. Another slip coach (SL) for Jammu Tawi is detached and attached to the 13151 Express.

4. The very famous Howrah-Jodhpur Express is also a link express train. It runs as Howrah-Jodhpur Express (12307) from Howrah till Merta Rd Jn. This junction is the slip source for the train. There are few passengers for Bikaner, so some of the coaches of Howrah-Jodhpur Express are detached and sent for Bikaner by another engine and pilot (12307-slip train). The remaining coaches continue to run for Jodhpur.

History of Slip Coaches

The concept of slip coaches and slip route is not new, it has its origin from an earlier era. A long time back it was the practice in the UK to uncouple some cars or coaches on the run, without stopping (this was called ‘slipping’ the coaches), at some stations. In such an operation, the slip coach had its own special guard who controlled the detachment and then braked the coach as it travelled under its own momentum towards the platform at the station. This avoided delays for the main part of the train which did not have to stop at the station. This practice continued for quite some time in the UK (until the 1960s), and the slip coach usually refers to this practice in British terminology.

However, Indian railway in coach slip means coaches that are detached even though they are not slipped on the run.


1. What is a slip train in Indian Railways?

In IR, sometimes to save cost and time, few coaches do not go to the final destination of the train. They are detached from the train and left behind. Those coaches are called slip coaches of train and they might be picked up by another train or that could be the final halt for them. The train which has slip coaches in it is called slip train.

2. Do I need to change coaches while travelling in a slip route train?

No, you don’t have to change to any other train at any station. During reservation itself, you will be placed in the respective slip coach.

3. What is the difference between a slip coach and through coach?

A through coach is similar to a slip coach but it is later reattached to another train so that it can proceed to another destination. On the other hand, slip coaches may or may not be sent forward after they are detached.

4. What if I get a reserved ticket in one of the slip coaches when I had to go to the final destination?

This doesn’t happen as the IRCTC reservation system is foolproof. During reservation, it makes sure that coaches detached have no passenger for the final destination.

5. Is slip route applicable for General/Unreserved classes?

No, slip route is applicable only for reserved coach or train. General/ Unreserved coach will always go from starting station to the final station without any detachment of coaches anywhere. This is because, in general coaches, it can’t differentiate or enforce passengers to sit there.

6. How to identify which is a slip coach in a train?

Typically, guard coaches are at both ends of the train. If you see any guard’s coach attached in between the other coaches, then you can identify the slip coaches in that train. The remaining coaches from the guard’s bogie towards the end are the slip coaches.

So, next time you travel in any of these link express trains, don’t be confused and bewildered. Now that you know all about slip coaches and link express trains in Indian Railways, share this info among your friends.

Read Also: Difference Between Junction, Terminus, and Central: Everything You Need to Know

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