Indian Railways have a thorough procedure to transport your bike in the train from one station to another. It can be done in two ways – one is like a luggage or like a parcel.
Luggage means you can take your bike with you on the same train, whereas, parcel means that you hand over your bike to the Indian Railways authorities and they’ll send your bike by whichever train they find best.
Ways to transfer your bike through Indian Railways
When you want to book your bike as a Luggage
1. You need to go to the railway station from where you will be getting on the train with your bike. You can either pack up your bike a day earlier or, like me, be at the station at least 2 hours before your train departs. Now, get to the parcel office and take your bike with you.
2. Keep your original bike documents like registration, RC book and insurance and get xerox copies of it. Also get your own railway ticket and keep a xerox copy of it.
3. Get your bike packed as it done for a parcel. (Some important things related to this is declared at the end of the article because it is common for both types. So do read it)
4. Go to the booking officer and fill the form and book your bike as a luggage. You will get a receipt which will have the tracking number of your bike. This receipt and your train ticket are the most important things you need to carry along with your bike papers.
5. The helpers will take your bike to the parcel van of your train. You should accompany them as to make sure everything is done right. They will load your bike on the train and then you can take your seat and start your journey.
6. When you reach your destination, your bike will be unloaded from the parcel van of the train by helpers, and they will take your bike to the parcel office. Show your original receipt and train ticket along with bike documents to the officer who will then do the formality and hand over your bike to you.
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When you want to book your bike as a Parcel
1. Go to the parcel office a day before you want your bike to be transported. Charges are same as those when you transport your bike as a luggage.
All other procedures are same as for when you transport it as a luggage. So follow Steps 2,3 and 4 from above.
The key difference is that you need to buy a normal railway ticket but instead of getting any reservation or better class ticket, you can just buy a general class ticket which is way cheaper. This saves a lot of money.
Step 5: After packing and paperwork is done, the authorities take your bike in their possession and you receive a message of it on the mobile number you provided to them while booking the parcel. Your work is done now.
It may take a day, a week or even a fortnight before your bike is actually delivered. It depends on the fact that if there is enough space available in the parcel van.When there is space available, then your bike will be loaded and transported.
When the bike reaches the destination then you get a message that your bike has been delivered and is ready for you to take possession. Get to the parcel office of the station where the bike has been delivered, show them the documents and they will hand over your bike to you.
Important Points To Remember
1] Packing is done by 3rd party people, so you need to pay them to pack your bike. Charges are somewhere between 300-500rs. This seems crazy amount of money, especially when you are transporting your bike over short distances, but you don’t have any other option. But in my experience, packing has been done extremely well and I never had anything to complain about the quality of packing.
2] Fuel tank has to be emptied completely, not even a single drop of fuel is tolerated by the Indian Railways authorities. Also, if you are traveling on the train with your bike as a luggage, you can’t take that remaining fuel in a bottle with you. So make sure as to what you will do with the remaining fuel. You will be fined Rs 1000 or may even send you to jail for 6 months to 2 years if you are found with fuel or even your bike has some fuel in it.
3] You need to put a valuation on your bike. Some percentage of this adds up to your final charges as you get insurance on your bike, therefore higher the valuation, then higher is the insurance that you will have to pay. So you can negotiate about it to save a few bucks. Total cost is calculated using distance and weight of the parcel. A bike’s weight is considered as 300Kg by Indian railways, so you can’t argue about that. Know more here.
4] You can track your bike status at the parcel booking office using the number given on your receipt. There isn’t any system in place yet where you can track it using the internet. So you have to physically go to the station to enquire where you had handed over your bike.
Parcel Office Timings:
Booking as a parcel – 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday closed.
Booking as a luggage – It’s open 24 hours.