Howrah Junction, which sees tremendous amounts of train traffic every day, is divided into the neighboring Old and New Howrah stations. The main reservation office has a foreign-tourist section upstairs, open daily 9 am–1 pm and 1:30 pm–4 pm; you can buy tickets here with either foreign currency or a valid encashment certificate for rupees, so if you obtained your rupees from an ATM, go to the normal lines. There are also ticket offices on the first floor of Old Howrah Station, the second floor of New Howrah Station, and in Kalighat. Sealdah Station is used exclusively by trains to and from northern destinations such as Darjeeling. Tickets are sold on the platform level.
Getting to central Kolkata by taxi from here takes 20 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Once you get downtown, it's usually best to hire a car and driver, which you can do from the travel agencies and rental agencies. Expect to pay Rs. 1,000 for eight hours and 70 km (50 miles), with an hourly and per-kilometer rate beyond that. Hailing a plain old taxi can be cheaper. Take a cab to or from the area you're visiting, then walk or find a sturdy cycle-rickshaw.
Howrah Railway Junction. 1 block south of the west end of Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, West Bengal. 33/26382581; 33/26383542; www.irctc.co.in.
Railway Booking Centre. 6 Fairlie Place, North Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal. 33/22206811.
Sealdah Station. East end of Bepin Behari Ganguly St., North Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal. 33/2350–3535.