Trains travel is considered most comfortable mode of
transports in India and also the finest medium to see India at ground level.
Even long distances such as Delhi to Mumbai can be covered with ease through
trains by using sleeper class berth and you will not get tired. Besides,
train travel is safe and cheap as you have to pay a reasonable fare.
Indian Railway network is the third biggest in world after Russia and China
having 63,000 km of rail routes and 6,800 stations. Maintained and run by
Indian Railways the trains in India connect almost all the state capitals
and other important cities and towns of the country. In fact, for tourists
no visit to India would be complete without the experience of travelling on
Types of trains in India
General Travelling Trains
- For travelling across India,
Indian Railways have a variety of trains including fast, superfast, express
and local trains. Passengers choose the trains according to their
requirements and budget. Shatabdi and Rajadhani are two high-class trains,
running at an speed over 100 km per hour, having all Air-conditioned
coaches. Besides, there are hundreds of superfast and express trains running
across the country. For short distance the Indian Railways run local
- Indian Railways run these trains
keeping in mind the tourism point of view. Most of the luxury trains offers
five star facilities to passengers on board. Running for a duration of two
days to one week, these trains take you on a once upon a lifetime journey.
You find a fine chance to explore the picturesque terrain anlongwith
enjoying royal hospitality. Palace of Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Heritage on
Wheels and Fairy Queen are some of the popular luxurious trains in India.
- Mountain Railways is an special
attraction of Indian Railway and also the most convenient way to visit the
hill stations of India. Developed by the British government about 100 years
back, during their rule over India, Mountain Railways now served as the main
mode of transport to hilly areas. Travelling on mountain rail is a thrilling
experience, as you get a wonderful chance to see the beautiful green
countryside and other amazing wonders of nature. In fact, three of the
Mountain Railways namely Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain
Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway have been declared World heritage
properties by UNESCO.
Accommodation Classes in Indian Trains
Usually there are six classes of accommodation found in Indian train, but
some other classes such as AC Executive class may be found in important
trains like Shatabdi Express. Below are the important classes, found in
trains of India
Air-Conditioned First Class (AC1)
AC1 class is the
most comfortable and luxurious way to travel in Indian Railways. However,
AC1 class is found only in the important trains including all Rajadhanis.
First class coaches are spacious and carpeted having 4-berth and 2-berth
compartments, with washbasin. During the daytime berths can be converted
into seats. Passengers are provided all necessary bedding materials such as
bedsheet, blanket, pillow and towel.
Air-Conditioned Second Class (AC2)
Second Class AC
are not divided into separate compartment like First Class, but are also
very comfortable to travel. The coaches are open-plan with berths arranged
in bays of four on one side and in bays of two on another side. For privacy
each bay is curtained and like First AC bedding is provided to passengers.
Air-Conditioned Three Tier (AC3)
Three Tier AC is
almost similar to Second Class AC, but it has three tiers of bunks
arranged in bays of six on one side and bays to two on other side. AC3
coaches are more crowed than Second Class AC and also lack the private
curtains. Bedding materials such as pillows, sheets and blankets are
provided to passengers. AC3 is a good option for families who are looking
for long distance travel in comfort.
AC Chair Class
AC Chair class is a fine choice for
day time short-distance travel. The class are found mainly in intercity
daytime trains consist of comfortable air-conditioned seating cars. Such
class are available in Shatabdi trains running from Delhi to Ajmer,
Chandigarh or intercity trains.
Sleeper class is used by the most of
the Indian people and found on all long distance trains except Rajdhani
Express and Shatabdi Express. The coaches of Sleeper class comprise of open
plan berths with upper, middle and lower bunks. The windows are fitted with
bars and also have a glass pane and a shutter which can be raised and
Unreserved Second Class
These coaches have wooden
or padded plastic seating seats suitable for only short journey. Unreserved
second class is not recommended for long distance journeys especially
Train Fares for sleeper class ranges from few hundreds to thousands,
depending on the class and routes. However, for unreserved second class
journey you have to pay very nominal fare. For more information about the
train fares visit the official website of Indian Railways.
How to reserve train tickets in India
For any long-distance and short distance journey, in Sleeper class or
Air-Conditioned Class, it is necessary to reserve a seat or berth. You can
travel by buying an ordinary ticket in these classes. Booking for
reservation open 90 days in advance, although the duration may be less in
some short-distance inter-city trains.
In Indian reservations are completely computrised and reservation facility
is available in all the important stations of the country. Due to huge rush
most of the express trains get booked weeks ahead before the departure. So,
you should make reservations well in advance, for hassle free journey.
Various types of quotas, such as tourist quota is also available in Indian
Tourist Quota in Indian trains
Several important India trains have a special quota of berths for foreign
tourists and IndRail passholders. A few tourist quota berths
remain available within a day or two of departure, so foreign travellers can
book at short notice. But, you may have to wait couple of days for getting
the berth for your desired destination. For tourist quote berth you have to
pay in US Dollars, Pounds, or Indian rupees backed by an exchange
The railway stations in major cities of India and tourist centres in cities
like New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Agra, Jaipur and Varanasi have an
International Tourist Bureau, where Foreign travellers can book tickets.
There is also a round the clock rail booking office at Indira Gandhi
International Airport in New Delhi. For more information on tourist quota
reservation visit the official site of Indian Railways.
How to book tickets - from outside India
Most of the important trains of India get fully-booked weeks in advance, so
it better to book tickets before you arrival to India. You can book train
tickets online at www.irctc.co.in, which is the official
government-sponsored sales website for Indian Railways.
Due to crowding of visitors, the website may respond slowly, so keep
patience and follow the information given on the site. You can buy a maximum
of 10 tickets in a month from this website for travelling across India. Your
ticket will not be sent to your desired destination outside India or you can
pick it up at the station. Only 'e-ticket' and 'i-ticket' options are
available to get the ticket from the website. You have make payment through
credit card such as Visa, MasterCard or Amex.
Some Important Tips for train journey in India
- Always check your coach and berth number printed on your ticket. The
reservation ticket also carries the details like age, sex, origin
station name and travel destination as well.
- Before boarding the train ensure your coach number and occupy the
seat mentioned in the ticket. For more conformation you may consult the
concerned office in the railway station or the Ticket Collector or
Conductor travelling alongwith the train.
- All the long distance trains have a pantry car offering breakfast,
lunch and dinner to passengers at nominal charges. Prefer the food of
pantry car and avoid outside food as they may be of bad quality.
- There are fair chances of stealing in Indian trains, so take care of
- Don't become much friendly with other fellow passengers, because some
of them may bribe you or cause other types of harm.
For more information about Indian Railways and its serivices visit the
official website : http://indianrail.gov.in