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How to Plan for the Best Train Travel in India

India is a mix of emotions, traditions, landscapes, and so much more. The snow-capped mountains in the north and the sun-soaked beaches showcase the dynamic scenery of the country. The natural beauty of India harbors some of the stunning architectural marvels – ancient temples, regal forts, and citadel topped plateaus.

But, India is not limited to just old and ancient. The country is moving forward towards modern times, with its high rise buildings and industries. However, its people are still attached to their roots. One of the most soul-stirring methods of exploring the dynamic landscape of India is through Indian Railways.

The train travel in India is a phenomenon that opens up doorways to Indian culture and society. If you want to know India and its people – Indian Train is your most reliable bet. Hop on the Indian train to witness the beauty of India - the contemporary and upbeat.

Here is some valuable set of information regarding the Indian Railways that can help you in planning the most comfortable and hassle-free traveling experience on an Indian train:

1. Finding the right route

Indian Railway connects almost entire Indian terrain. It covers close to sixty thousand kilometers and has more than six thousand stations. With train travel in India, you can go anywhere. You might find close to three to four different train routes for two different points, and therefore it is important to choose the route more carefully.

Check with the Indian Railways Help Portal, or visit the nearest train station to know about the available train routes to different Indian cities.

Read More: 8 Best Routes for the Train Journey in India

Checking Timings
Checking Timings

Confirm Train Number
Confirm Train Number

2. Checking timings and other vital information

Since its automation, the Indian Railways has become more travelers-friendly. With few clicks on the Indian railway portal, you can get the entire information regarding the train timings, fares, booking details, and several other sets of information. Also, the toll-free number of Indian Railway can be used to get the required information. You can also get detailed information on your connecting trains as well. 

3. Tickets

For train travel in India, a confirmed reservation is required. Indian Railway uses a computerized ticket booking system, which is 99% error-free and makes ticket purchases more convenient. If you are planning on traveling during peak tourist season, then booking your tickets in advance is advisable. The train tickets have to be booked 120 days before the trip.

Apart from the booking portal, tickets can be purchased from train stations. You can see the availability of seats on a giant screen, placed above the booking counter. Visitors can also head to the New Delhi International Tourist Bureau located at the New Delhi Railway station (New Delhi) or the Bombay CST foreign tourist counter at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (Mumbai).

PS: When tickets are purchased through the booking portals, travelers get an electronic ticket or e-ticket. One copy of the ticket is mailed, and PNR (Passenger Name Record) number is texted to the registered mobile number of the traveler. During the journey, the passenger has to show either of the details, shared by the Indian Railway, along with the required credentials to the ticket examiner.   

Read More: How to Buy the Train Tickets in India

4. Some words on train seat bookings

The computerized ticket booking system categorizes purchased tickets in the following categories:

Early Bookings

Most train tickets reservations are available 120 days before the date of the journey. International tourists can take advantage of the Foreign Tourist (FT) quota, where some number of seats set assigned for international tourists. These tourists can book their tickets at short notice and make the payment in international currencies.nceled.    


Reservation against Cancellation (RAC) & Waiting List (WL)

Passengers with an RAC ticket can board the train without confirmed seats. The seats are allotted only when a confirmed ticket holder cancels their ticket. In case, no tickets are confirmed in that case two RAC holders might have to share a berth for the journey.

A passenger with Waiting List (WL) ticket is not allowed to board the ticket. The ticket could be bumped up the reserved status in case a confirmed ticket is canceled.    


Tatkal tickets

With the Tatkal ticket scheme, passengers can book their tickets at shorter notice to board the train. But, Tatkal ticket fare fluctuates, so one cannot put an estimate on the ticket prices.  

5. Classes of Travel

The Indian Railways have classified eight types of classes based on the ticket prices and the facilities offered. Most trains contain a combination of five to six classes, but never all eight. They are

Agra Train with Air-conditioned
AC Class, Indian Train

•    Air-Conditioned First Class (AC1)
•    Air-Conditioned 2-Tier (AC2)
•    Air-Conditioned 3-Tier (AC3)
•    First Class
•    AC Executive Chair Class
•    Vistadome
•    AC Chair Class
•    Sleeper Class
•    Unreserved 2nd Class

•    Indrail Pass

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Indian Train Classes / Types

Facilities available

•    The Air-conditioned compartments:  

1.    Mostly found in long-distant Indian Trains

2.    Compartmentalized

3.    Expensive

4.    Has a sleeping compartment with four or two berths

5.    Comfortable seats

•    First Class and Sleeper Class :

1.    Sleeper coaches with convertible seats

2.    Non-air-conditioned

3.    Have two to three berths in each row

•    AC Executive Chair Class and Vistadome

1.    Comfortable legroom

2.    Has 4 seats in a row 

3.    Food and beverage is included with the ticket

•    Indrail Pass

1.    Similar to Eurail Pass

2.    Preferred by international tourists doing train travel in India

3.    Covers multiple destinations

4.    Tickets available to only international tourists

Some helpful tips for a comfortable Indian train ride:

• Start for the railway station early

• Take a book or your kindle for train travel in India

• Indian pantry serves food and beverages at a price, but you won’t find much variety – better carry your food

• Carry a sanitizer

• If you are traveling with expensive items like DSLR camera, laptop, or jewelry then it is better to secure your luggage – it will offer you some peace of mind

The train travel in India is always on the bucket list of travelers looking to discover the real India and its people. Do explore and learn something new about this diverse country.