The movie is about the inaugural journey, from Delhi to Mumbai, of the fastest train in India. Vinod Verma (Vinod Khanna) is an engineer with the Indian Railways, and he is the key person behind the making of this train, the Super Express. However, in dedicating time to this project he sacrifices his personal life, and his married life, (wife - Parveen Babi) is deeply affected.
His friend and colleague, Rakesh (Vinod Mehra), flies to Mumbai to be there to receive the train in Mumbai. Ashok (Dharmendra) an old friend of Vinod's travels by the train and meets his old sweetheart (Hema Malini) on the same train.
However, fate has something else in store for the passengers of the Super Express. Driven by jealousy, since his own model of a fast train was not accepted, Randhir (Danny Denzongpa), places bombs in the train and sabotages the brakes. During the run of the train, the bombs burst. Therafter, the train catches fire. The train can now not be stopped as the brakes are damaged.
Thereafter the movie shows how a plan is formed by Vinod, to save the train. He is assisted by Ashok, Rakesh, a petty thief (Jeetendra), and the train conductor.
Will they be able to stop 'The Burning Train' in time?