A Complete Guide on Indian Railways
India is a country of diverse culture and variety of landscapes. Trains are the best way to experience the diversity of India. A huge track of 64,000 kilometres is laid for 17,000 trains for carrying 18 million passengers daily. The comfort in the train can’t be provided by the flights as well. You may come across many rivers, mountains and rural villages while travelling by train. The difficult task is the arrangement of the train journey, which is a challenging task.
Also Read: General Information about the train
If you are a new traveller, you must know certain things while booking a train ticket. It is not a good idea to travel without reservation in India. While booking your ticket you must consider the level of comfort and budget. There are plans offered by Indian Railways to offer comfort even in a tight budget.
Different classes in the train are a first class air-conditioned, two-tier air-conditioned class, three-tier air-conditioned class, air-conditioned chair car, sleeper class, second class and unreserved. Few of the trains contain one or more other classes as well. Berth should be taken into consideration while booking a train ticket. 3 tier AC contains 3 berths on each side, which are placed one above the other. Top berth will give you the freedom from any kind of disturbances, but you must have the ability to climb the top berth.
Each compartment had side berths as well. There will be side beds one above the other. If you are travelling with another person, this is the best option which offers you absolute freedom for sleeping and stretching whenever you need. If you are near to 6 feet, you must avoid this because of the less length.
Boarding The Train
Before boarding the train, you must follow a few tips. For a rush free journey, it is better to reach the station 30 minutes before the train reaches. Make sure you confirm the right platform where your train routes.The platform is well equipped with boards for announcing the details of the departure trains and their timings. Know the exact coach location where you want to board, this will reduce the last minute rush between the travellers.
Coach number will be informed from the overhead indicators, which indicates the stop of a train at a particular place. After boarding the train, try to locate your seat number, which is to be arranged in a sequence.
Travelling Ticket Examiner
Travelling Ticket Examiner is also known as TTE will address all the questions related to berth, destination or any travel related questions. He will be busy before the start of the train by waiting for the last minute tickets, people on the shortlist and answering the travel related questions to the employees. After the train gets started, he will be busy by checking the tickets of the passengers. If in case of availability, you can also upgrade the class.
Tips for Travel on Indian Railways Trains
Train travel in India is like watching a movie from the window. Your trip to India will not be completed if you haven’t had a train journey. Constant chanting of snacks and tea will make you feel mesmerized. Train journey in India is inexpensive whether it is a long or short distance.
Here are some tips for travelling in Indian trains:
1. Keep Your Luggage Safe:
Don’t carry any expensive items with you while travelling in Indian trains. If in case, you must secure it with a lock. If in case you are travelling with another person, try to guard the luggage if another person uses the restroom.
2.Liquid Hand Wash:
After using the bathroom, don’t forget to wash your hands with anti-bacterial liquid hand wash. Make sure to wipe yourself clean and bring your anti-bacterial tissue paper.
3. Use Bathroom Early:
Make sure to wake up early in the morning to use the bathroom. A lot of people will try to use the bathroom between 8 AM to 9 AM. Don’t be stuck in a queue, wake up at 5 am and finish off all your nature routines.
4. Carry Your Own Food:
The quality of food provided in the trains may be quite low, hence it is better to bring your own food. If you are on a diet, make sure to carry your own food. It is better to avoid non-vegetarian while travelling by train.
5. Purchase a Good Book:
A good book will surely a true companion of your train journey. If you are lucky to get a window seat, then reading a book will make your journey fantastic with an ever-changing landscape.
6. Good Conversation:
A good conversation will kill time while travelling. Try to make a good conversation with your fellow passengers.There will be a certain precaution to be taken though. Don’t accept drinks or food from fellow passengers.
Also Read: Tips for Traveling with Palace on Wheels
Classes Of Travel On Indian Railways
There are 8 different classes of carriage on the Indian Railways. But every train uses only a few of these classes. Every class is described in short 2 or 3 letter word.
Second Class (2S)
These are the cheapest and lowest class of carriage in Indian Railways. It is usually for travelling a short distance and daytime travelling. It is not recommended for a night journey or long distance journey. It is not very comfortable for sleeping.
Sleeper Class (SL)
The sleeper class train is for Indian populations that are less monopolized because of low costs. An air-conditioned car consists of an open bed for six people on one side of the aisle and then a small bed for two people on the other side. At night, six beds can be converted into two beds 3 levels and two beds into 2-level beds. The mattress is soft with a plastic cover but no beds are provided.
AC Chair Car (CC)
This is the perfect class for travelling during the day time in hot climates. This is similar to the class used in most of the foreign countries. It contains a 3+3 comfortable airline seating with air conditioning and armrests.
AC Executive Class (EC)
This class is the most extensive class of seats on the train in India. Seats made from soft materials that are comfortably arranged in rows of only 2 + 2 with armrests, plenty of legroom and air conditioning. Food and drinks are also included in the price.
First Class (FC):
It consists of 4 and 2 locking compartments that can be locked individually which can be made into beds. However, there is no air conditioning, no beds are provided at the cost and there are no windows closed, so it’s quite dirty.
AC 3-Tier (3A):
This is similar to that of the sleeper class train but with an additional air-conditioning. It contains sealed windows, hence it is cleaner and free from all kinds of bugs, mice and dust. The closed doors and sealed windows offer quietness and peacefulness when compared with the sleeper class.
AC 2-Tier (2A):
It is very similar to that of AC 3, the only difference is it contains the main berth for 4 persons instead of 6 persons. This allows more headroom. The 3-level bed can feel very tight and unless you are a child, it is impossible to sit upright. Plus fewer beds bring fewer people to keep you awake at night by snoring and talking loudly.
AC (Air Conditioned First Class):
It will be twice the price of the AC 2 but is a more civilized and comfortable way of train travel in India. The hallway runs on the side of the car instead of the middle, with access to private birth and locked 4 and 2 people. Births include air conditioning, sheets, carpets and a private sink.
How to Buy Tickets
Purchasing tickets in India is easy with a reliable seat booking system. A train travelling in India is stress-free and well organised. Booking the tickets in advance has its own advantage like we can turn up to the station just before 30 minutes of the train departure.
Indian Railways are the 3rd largest railway network in the world. Checking and booking a train will be a difficult task. There are two official Indian websites for booking train tickets in India, IRCTC and Indian Rail. It is advised to book a few days in advance, as the train tickets will be often booked too early. IRCTC provides the option to book train tickets 120 days before the departure of the train.
Read More: How to Book the Train?
It is more important to check out the festival dates and marriage timings of the Indians. The trains will be usually rush these days, as more people travel to other places. If the booking gets completed, the rest of the things are easy. You just need to reach the station 30 minutes before the departure of the train. You should have a clear idea about the section of platform, coach and platform of your train departure. A list of passengers will be hanging on the respective coaches along with the seat numbers. Check your name in the list and make sure to find the right carriage.
Indian Railways also run some luxury trains like Maharajas Express, Palace on Wheels and Deccan Odyssey.