When it comes to rail travel in India, there are many advantages it has compared to other modes of transport. When you book a ticket for a trip to India, the quickest option is often a long journey and booking a plane ticket. But if you arrive by train, you will be taken directly to your destination, allowing you to see some of the scenery along the way.
Important Points to Keep in Mind While Travelling by Indian Railways
1. General compartments are not comfortable at all.
The general compartment is assigned to poor people or those who were unlucky to get a confirmed ticket in Sleeper class. There’s sitting or standing room only, and any spare floor space is occupied by those willing to sleep on it. Tickets can be purchased at the station counter, even if the train is standing on the platform ready to depart.
2. Take care of your luggage yourself.
It is very easy and usually cheap to find a padlock or chain to secure your backpack at the foot of the bed or in the sleeping compartment. You can even rest your bag chained to the train, which can reassure you that no one will leave with your luggage in the middle of the night. The entire bag should be locked with a padlock – on the surface, but small locks are attached to closed zippers, so no – you can rummage through your stuff.
3. Eat healthy and nutritious food.
If you need to have meals on trains, try to get something fresh from the station and don’t miss your train before it rolls off and starts moving. Or, if you want to avoid all these hustles, you can order fresh and delicious food on the train from RailRestro, an official catering and tourism partner of IRCTC. You must look for nutritious food options in trains to avoid any trouble while travelling.
4. Book your ticket in advance.
The Indian railway system is very huge and somewhat confusing, but you can follow a few simple tips and tricks that will help you prepare for your train journeys in India. A timely reservation is required if you have plenty of time while waiting for your tickets to be confirmed. The booking on trains starts 120 days before the journey date. So be ready to book tickets in advance.
5. Attention all foreign tourists!
All major train stations, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, have tourist offices, and you can get last-minute tickets through tourist quotas. It is best to book hotels before a trip to India, as you will experience less trouble and more hospitality. If you are not shy about budget, take a peek at India with luxury trains like the Maharaja’s Express. They are very clean and well maintained, making them a great choice for long-term travel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to Travelling in Indian Railways
1. What Are the Classes of Travel?
A typical Indian long-distance train has the following car configurations:
- Unreserved General Class Compartment (UR)
- Second Sitting AC (2S)
- Sleeper Class (SL)
- Three Tier Air Conditioned Class (3A)
- Two Tier Air Conditioned Class (2AC)
- First Class Air Conditioned (1AC)
- Executive Air Conditioned Chair Car (1A)
- Air Conditioned Chair Car (CC)
2. How Can I Find My Seat on the Train?
Indian trains are generally crowded with hundreds of people going everywhere and finding your seat is like winning the race. To ensure that you get the correct coach, berth and seat, look at the LCD screen on the platform where the coach position is displayed. Before the actual arrival of the train, you can see the coach position of your train.
Stand at the correct coach position and wait for the train to arrive. If you have a lot of luggage, don’t just rush enter into the coach. Allow other passengers to get down first. Then enter into the coach and find your seat number.
3. How Can I Order Food on the Train?
Though most of the trains have pantry cars attached to them to serve food, they do not serve quality food. If you want to truly enjoy travelling in Indian trains, avoid pantry car foods and order food on the train.
There are some authorized IRCTC e-catering providers like RailRestro who delivers restaurant-style food directly at your seat. You can order food from RailRestro from its official website www.railrestro.com or download its official mobile app from Play Store or App Store.
4. How Can I Make an Online Reservation?
You have to have a valid reservation ticket to travel in long-distance trains (except in unreserved coaches, where you purchase a general class ticket). Tickets can be booked online or offline. You can book your tickets online from the official website of IRCTC. There is also an app called ‘IRCTC RailConnect’ from which you can book tickets for your journey.
If you don’t have a smartphone or proper internet connectivity, you can make reservations for your journey by going to your nearest PRS counter and filling the reservation form.
5. How Can I Find Out If My WL Ticket Will Be Confirmed?
If at the time of booking, you couldn’t get a confirmed reservation, then don’t be disheartened. You can still get a confirmed seat because some of the bookings get cancelled. To check if your WL ticket got confirmed or not, you can use the ‘PNR status check’ option on RailRestro. All you have to do is enter your 10-digit PNR number and the current booking status will be displayed along with some other information like train name and number, journey date, time, etc.
If you want to know the probability of confirmation of your waitlisted tickets, you can use the PNR Prediction feature from RailMitra. It tells you the chances of confirmation of your tickets based on the past data.
6. What Are Tatkal Tickets and How Can they Be Booked?
Tatkal tickets are a certain quota of tickets which can be booked only on the day before travel. This is useful if you need to take unexpected trips or if demand is heavy and if a confirmed ticket was not possible.
Most trains are provided with Tatkal tickets. However, additional charges apply, making tickets more expensive. The charge is calculated as 10% of the basic fare for second-class and 30% of the basic fare for all other classes.