Speed has no sense of direction unlike the velocity. Relative speed is the speed of one object as observed from another moving object. Questions on train are the classic examples of relative speed and in all these questions it is assumed that trains move parallel to each other – whether in the same direction or the opposite direction. Thus, we shall see how the relative speed is calculated and using it we come to know the time taken by the trains to cross each other and some other like aspects.
Important Formulas  Problems on Trains
1. x km/hr = (x×5)/18 m/s
2. y m/s = (y×18)/5 km/hr
3. Speed = distance/time, that is, s = d/t
4. velocity = displacement/time, that is, v = d/t
5. Time taken by a train x meters long to pass a pole or standing man or a post = Time taken by the train to travel x meters.
6. Time taken by a train x meters long to pass an object of length y meters = Time taken by the train to travel (x + y) metres.
7. Suppose two trains or two objects are moving in the same direction at v1 m/s and v2 m/s where v1 > v2, then their relative speed = (v1 – v2) m/s
8. Suppose two trains or two objects are moving in opposite directions at v1 m/s and v2 m/s , then their relative speed = (v1+ v2) m/s
9. Assume two trains of length x metres and y metres are moving in opposite directions at v1 m/s and v2 m/s, Then The time taken by the trains to cross each other = (x+y) / (v1+v2) seconds
10. Assume two trains of length x metres and y metres are moving in the same direction at at v1 m/s and v2 m/s where v1 > v2, Then The time taken by the faster train to cross the slower train = (x+y) / (v1v2) seconds
11. Assume that two trains (objects) start from two points P and Q towards each other at the same time and after crossing they take p and q seconds to reach Q and P respectively. Then, A's speed: B's speed = √q: √p
Solved Examples
1. A train is running at a speed of 40 km/hr and it crosses a post in 18 seconds. What is the length of the train?  
A. 190 metres  B. 160 metres 
C. 200 metres Answer : Option C  D. 120 metres 
Explanation :
Speed of the train, v = 40 km/hr = 40000/3600 m/s = 400/36 m/s
Time taken to cross, t = 18 s
Distance Covered, d = vt = (400/36)× 18 = 200 m
Distance covered is equal to the length of the train = 200 m
2. A train having a length of 240 m passes a post in 24 seconds. How long will it take to pass a platform having a length of 650 m?  
A. 120 sec  B. 99 s 
C. 89 s  D. 80 s 
Answer : Option C
Explanation :
v = 240/24 (where v is the speed of the train) = 10 m/s
t = (240+650)/10 = 89 seconds
3. Two trains having length of 140 m and 160 m long run at the speed of 60 km/hr and 40 km/hr respectively in opposite directions (on parallel tracks). The time which they take to cross each other, is  
A. 10.8 s  B. 12 s 
C. 9.8 s  D. 8 s 
Answer : Option A
Explanation :
Distance = 140+160 = 300 m
Relative speed = 60+40 = 100 km/hr = (100×10)/36 m/s
Time = distance/speed = 300 / (100×10)/36 = 300×36 / 1000 = 3×36/10 = 10.8 s
4. A train moves past a post and a platform 264 m long in 8 seconds and 20 seconds respectively. What is the speed of the train?  
A. 79.2 km/hr  B. 69 km/hr 
C. 74 km/hr  D. 61 km/hr 
Answer : Option A
Explanation :
Let x is the length of the train and v is the speed
Time taken to move the post = 8 s
=> x/v = 8
=> x = 8v  (1)
Time taken to cross the platform 264 m long = 20 s
(x+264)/v = 20
=> x + 264 = 20v (2)
Substituting equation 1 in equation 2, we get
8v +264 = 20v
=> v = 264/12 = 22 m/s
= 22×36/10 km/hr = 79.2 km/hr
5. Two trains, one from P to Q and the other from Q to P, start simultaneously. After they meet, the trains reach their destinations after 9 hours and 16 hours respectively. The ratio of their speeds is  
A. 2 : 3  B. 2 :1 
C. 4 : 3  D. 3 : 2 
Answer : Option C
Explanation :
Ratio of their speeds = Speed of first train : Speed of second train
= √16: √ 9
= 4:3
6. Train having a length of 270 meter is running at the speed of 120 kmph . It crosses another train running in opposite direction at the speed of 80 kmph in 9 seconds. What is the length of the other train?  
A. 320 m  B. 190 m 
C. 210 m  D. 230 m 
Answer : Option D
Explanation :
Relative speed = 120+80 = 200 kmph = 200×10/36 m/s = 500/9 m/s
time = 9 s
Total distance covered = 270 + x where x is the length of other train
(270+x)/9 = 500/9
=> 270+x = 500
=> x = 500270 = 230 meter
7. Two stations P and Q are 110 km apart on a straight track. One train starts from P at 7 a.m. and travels towards Q at 20 kmph. Another train starts from Q at 8 a.m. and travels towards P at a speed of 25 kmph. At what time will they meet?  
A. 10.30 a.m  B. 10 a.m. 
C. 9.10 a.m.  D. 11 a.m. 
Answer : Option B
Explanation :
Assume both trains meet after x hours after 7 am
Distance covered by train starting from P in x hours = 20x km
Distance covered by train starting from Q in (x1) hours = 25(x1)
Total distance = 110
=> 20x + 25(x1) = 110
=> 45x = 135
=> x= 3 Means, they meet after 3 hours after 7 am, ie, they meet at 10 am
8. Two trains are running in opposite directions in the same speed. The length of each train is 120 meter. If they cross each other in 12 seconds, the speed of each train (in km/hr) is  
A. 42  B. 36 
C. 28  D. 20 
Answer : Option B
Explanation :
Distance covered = 120+120 = 240 m
Time = 12 s
Let the speed of each train = v. Then relative speed = v+v = 2v
2v = distance/time = 240/12 = 20 m/s
Speed of each train = v = 20/2 = 10 m/s
= 10×36/10 km/hr = 36 km/hr
9. A train, 130 meters long travels at a speed of 45 km/hr crosses a bridge in 30 seconds. The length of the bridge is  
A. 270 m  B. 245 m 
C. 235 m  D. 220 m 
Answer : Option B
Explanation :
Assume the length of the bridge = x meter
Total distance covered = 130+x meter
total time taken = 30 s
speed = Total distance covered /total time taken = (130+x)/30 m/s
=> 45 × (10/36) = (130+x)/30
=> 45 × 10 × 30 /36 = 130+x
=> 45 × 10 × 10 / 12 = 130+x
=> 15 × 10 × 10 / 4 = 130+x
=> 15 × 25 = 130+x = 375
=> x = 375130 =245
10. A train has a length of 150 meters. It is passing a man who is moving at 2 km/hr in the same direction of the train, in 3 seconds. Find out the speed of the train.  
A. 182 km/hr  B. 180 km/hr 
C. 152 km/hr  D. 169 km/hr 
Answer : Option A
Explanation :
Length of the train, l = 150m
Speed of the man, Vm= 2 km/hr
Relative speed, Vr = total distance/time = (150/3) m/s = (150/3) × (18/5) = 180 km/hr
Relative Speed = Speed of train, Vt  Speed of man (As both are moving in the same direction)
=> 180 = Vt  2 => Vt = 180 + 2 = 182 km/hr
Use Code STAYHOME200 and get INR 200 additional OFF

Use Coupon Code 
109 docs21 tests
