Trains in India – what’s worth knowing

The state-owned rail service company is called Indian Railways. It is one of the biggest businesses in the world – the Indian rail system is the workplace of over 1.5 million employees. Despite such an overflow of both workers and passengers, the Indian rail happens to function quite well – the seemingly complicated nature of the workflow of the business is actually much simpler than thought.

The country’s communication systems are excellent – thanks to the trains it is easy to reach any place in the whole of India.

Unfortunately, luggage theft is common. Remember to lock your luggage properly and consider additionally chaining it to a railing – in India, chains and locks can be found on virtually any train station, priced at around 20rs per piece.

The stations are overcrowded and often full of rats, but have a lot of tourist-friendly signs and conveniences. For example, if you’re looking to buy a ticket or to ask about something, don’t bother with standing in crazily long queues – just head straight to the “Supervisor” stand. This stand for the privileged is generally for military workers, pregnant women, senior passengers and, of course, foreign tourists.

In India there are 10 different classes of train, but usually a train is not built of more than a couple. Throughout the whole country, only six are common. And because of the rarity of the other four, I decided only to describe India’s main ones.

AC1 (Air-conditioned first class – with an abbreviation of AC1 or AC FC)

This is the most expensive option for the richest of tourists. It is made up of two-to-four person, fully air-conditioned wagons. The class is isolated from the other ones and has a full meal and clean bedding included in the price of the ticket.

AC2 (Air-conditioned 2-tier)

Air-conditioned, but open compartments equipped with 4 seats and 4 beds.

AC3 (Air-conditioned 3-tier)

Generally identical to AC2, but more crowded, with 6 seats and beds.

Sleeper Class (SC) – the absolute best option for tourists on a budget and travelers that want to see the real India. There might be no air-conditioning, but instead every compartment has functioning ceiling ventilators providing airflow. In the open compartments you can find six regular beds and two additional ones next to the corridor. Usually crowded, dirty, with used bedding – but that is what makes the tickets cheap. And, besides, you still get to see all the beautiful views.

Second Sitting (2S)

A good choice for short, daily commuter trips. Wagons with air-conditioning, not divided into compartments – just simple seats.

AC Chair Car (CC)

Air-conditioned non-compartment wagons with rows of seats. On some routes, a meal and water are included in the price of the ticket.

Any more, when you will travel in India you can use app Train Enquiry to find your train.

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