A Quick Guide to Travelling with Indian Railways


A Quick Guide to Travelling with Indian Railways

For the longest time, the Indian railway has been an integral part of travel planning for the majority population in our country. Air travel is still considered a luxury by many because it is expensive. Buses are an alternative means of travel in India but with limited leg room and cramped settings. So, trains are still the favourite mode of transport for Indians because of their numerous benefits.

In recent decades, technological advancement has completely transformed Indian train travel. Online platforms like RailMitra will take your travel experience to the next level. It is a superior train enquiry service with smart tools for obtaining PNR status, train schedule, train between stations and so on.  

Read more to enhance your knowledge of train travel in India.

Indian Railway Facts 

The Indian railway ranks fourth amongst other rail networks globally due to its extensive network. Indian railways operate more than 20,000 trains daily on local and long-distance routes. Around 7400 stations are spread throughout the country over a total track length of 67 thousand kilometres. New destinations are included every year.

Classes in Indian Trains

Ensure a secure train trip by choosing a travel class according to your needs as a traveller. Depending on the budget, the Indian railway has categorised travel classes as follows:

For long-distance and overnight trains:

  • AC I

Two bunk beds are provided in this air-conditioned class, but there is no provision for side rows. Four beds create a coupe having broader seats with extra cushioning. There is an inside locking mechanism for the four-bed coupe. Pillows and bedding are supplied. AC1 is regarded as the most costly travel class on Indian railways. Moreover, ticket fares are sometimes on the higher side in comparison to plane tickets.

  • AC II

There are two inside rows and two bunk beds facing each other in this air-conditioned class. The beds are wider than AC 3 but narrower than AC I widthwise. Each passenger in this class has access to bedding and pillows. Coupes are missing in this class, but every block of four seats has a set of curtains and a headlamp for reading. It is more affordable than AC I and occasionally on par with airline fares in some important sectors.

  • AC III

Three tiers of bunk beds, including upper, middle, and lower, are present in this travel class. On the side of the bay, there are double rows of upper and lower bunks. (Three tiers of bunks are in the side rows of some “Garib Rath” trains). All AC III train passengers are given bedding, excluding Garib Rath trains, where bedrolls are chargeable. It lacks curtains. It is the most affordable AC class and busier than the AC II.

  • Sleeper class

Similar to AC 3, this class has three bunk beds next to each other and two bunk beds on the side row, but no air-conditioning. Passengers of this class do not receive beddings. Nonetheless, it is the most commonly used reversed sleeper class on the Indian Railways being the least expensive of all travel classes.

For short- or medium-distance train:

  • Executive Chair Car

It is the costliest sitting class. It is air-conditioned and seats are additionally covered with an extra cover.

  • CC (Chair car)

Individual seats with side rests are available. On both sides of the bay are rows of 3 and 2-seat configurations. There are luggage holders on top of the seats in this air-conditioned class.

  • Second class sitting

On either side of the bay are three separate sets of handless seats. The chairs resemble flatbeds from the sleeping class. It is the least expensive travel class.

Except for the Shatabdi, Rajdhani, Duranto, and Gatiman trains, every train has two unreserved cabins in addition to these reserved classes. You can purchase the tickets for those on the spot. Seats can be occupied as you arrive.

Types of Tickets

Train tickets are classified as follows:

  • Confirmed tickets (CNF)
  • Waitlist tickets (WL)
  • Reservation against cancellation tickets (RAC)

You can travel on RAC tickets as you are allowed sitting space, but you are not permitted to travel with WL tickets. Ensuring a confirmed rail ticket will make your journey more comfortable. You can know the ticket confirmation status by checking its PNR status on the RailMitra app. 

Quotas for Train Tickets

Here are a few types of ticket quotas:

  • General quota: It is applicable for all individuals and reserved on the premise of- first come, first serve.
  • Ladies quota: Special quotas for women are allowed on a few trains.
  • Foreign tourist quota(FTQ): This quota applies to more than 200 trains. Every major railway station has an International Tourist Bureau office to assist foreign tourists with FTQ bookings.

Types of Indian Trains

Here are the various train types in India: 

  • Trains with the best speed and cleanliness: Rajdhani Express, Tejas, Shatabdi Express and Duronto Express
  • Narrow gauge mountain trains: Also called toy trains of India, include the Nilgiri mountain railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty, Kalka to Shimla toy train, and more. You can reserve your tickets for these trains 30 days in advance from their departure date.
  • Luxury trains in India: These are appreciated for their 5-star stay. Some famous luxury trains in India include TheGolden Chariot, The Deccan Odyssey, and Palace on Wheels.

Food in Trains

As a train traveller, you can enjoy an assortment of cuisines on your journeys. Nowadays, ordering food on trains is quite straightforward via online portals and mobile apps. You must punch in your PNR number after going to the RailMitra website. Next, you need to select your preferred railway station for food delivery, the food supplier and the meal you want to order on the train. RailMitra is the most trusted food delivery app for train passengers.

Apart from RailMitra, you can order food from RailRestro. RailRestro is the dedicated e-catering company to order varieties of food on train

Safety Tips for Travellers on Indian Trains

  • Make sure to bring along a travel kit for your train journey. You should place a toothpaste, a toothbrush, tissue paper, antiseptic lotion, hand sanitiser, and handwash in your handy toiletry kit.
  • Wear washable shoes on train trips to prevent a nice pair of leather shoes from being damaged due to occasional water spillage in restrooms.
  • Politely refuse food from strangers on trains.
  • Choose an AC compartment, particularly during overnight or long trips if you are a solo female passenger travelling alone or with other females.
  • Remember to pack a valid photo ID and passport in your backpack if you are an international traveller.
  • Arrive at least 40 minutes in advance from the train departure time to avoid passenger rush when locating your platform and coach.
  • Be aware of the train’s halt time before stepping down and avoid moving too far from your coach.

If you are interested in exploring India’s rich cultural variations and exquisite landscapes, you should travel by trains. You will surely create some amazing memories during these train trips. And with train apps, your journey experience will get enhanced multifold.

For train passengers looking for instant train enquiry service with the click of a mobile, RailMitra is the perfect destination. The easy navigation and AI-driven interface of its website/app are the best in class. You can quickly find live updates on your PNR ticket, learn about train schedules and so on with RailMitra’s outstanding online tools.