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Riding on India's 'Intense' Trains

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A boy peers out of a window while his family travels by train in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Photographer Sara Hylton spent months traveling India's vast railway system. She said "the thing that stands out to me most about Indian trains is their intensity. ... Their scope and their culture is so much more intense than what I experienced on other trains. Everything feels multiplied." Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016

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India Trains 2

A view of the train station in Dibrugarh, one of the main train stations in the northeastern state of Assam. India's first passenger train began running in 1853, and today the country's railway system is one of the largest in the world. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A mother rests with her baby on the third and final day of their train trip to Kerala. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A view from a train near Bhubaneswar station, the capital of the eastern state of Odisha. Despite being the second-poorest state in India, Odisha received a 30% increase in the Indian Railway budget to expand its transport system for 2016-17, Hylton said. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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Passengers sit in the waiting area at Shoranur Junction, a railway station in Kerala that stands at the intersection of four railway lines connecting the east, west, south and north of the country. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A vendor shows textiles to passengers on India's longest train, the Vivek Express. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A passenger shaves before his train arrives at his final destination in Kerala. Many passengers spend several days on the train with no access to showers, and they must share common spaces such as a bathroom. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A laborer works along the railway in rural Punjab. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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Workers load goods onto a train at Guwahati station in Assam. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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Ravi, a food vendor at the Kota Junction train station in Rajasthan, sells bottled water and fried Indian snacks to travelers. Food options vary by state, particularly from north to south, Hylton said. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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PP Singh looks out the window on the Kochuveli Express. Unlike many other Indians, Singh and his family had the luxury of traveling in second AC, which offers bedding, air conditioning and more space and privacy. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

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A view of the Arabian Sea as a train passes through the southern coastal state of Goa. Image by Sara Hylton. India, 2016.

Canadian photographer Sara Hylton has recently been training her lens on railways. "A New Rail Line Across Kashmir," a Pulitzer Center-funded reporting project she worked on with reporter Maddy Crowell, explored the effects that a new rail line could have on the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, whose residents often identify with their regional governments or neighboring Pakistan more than India.

However, Hylton also journeyed beyond these two states, using her time in India to cover how railways shape life throughout the Subcontinent. Her new photo series "A Temporary Home" covers India's railways from Assam in the country's northeast to Kerala on its southwestern coast. As she explained to CNN's Harmeet Kaur, "Their scope and their culture is so much more intense than what I experienced on other trains. Everything feels multiplied."

Click here to read more about Hylton's reporting.