When travelling in India it’s a pleasure using the train. It is comfortable and often faster than a taxi. On this page:
- How to buy traintickets?
- How to make reservation on trains?
- What about the waiting list?
- Which classes are available?
India has a good maintained and stretched network with good connections between major cities. Indian Rail delivers every day an impressive achievement. The quality of trains and track are above your expectations. The image of crowded trains with people on the rooftop is based only on the communter trains of metropolic cities like Mumbai during rush hours. On the main corridors however the standards are acceptable. The Metro of Delhi is brand new and runs like a swiss watch. On the main lines the Indian railways use loco hauled trains composed with the distingished white/blue cars. You can compare this with the beautifull “grande-lignes” once used in Europe.
How it works
To travel by train you need both a ticket and a reservation. At the station you can try to purchase a ticket and reservation. On the larger stations you will find a special counter for tourists.
As long distance trains mostly are fully booked it’s better to book online in advance.
Once you have your ticket and reservation you should be in time on the station because it’s sometimes completely unclear from what platform your train will leave. On the platfrom itself you will find paper lists with names and coachenumbers. You can also count on friendly railway staff at every platform. On the car itself you will find the carnumber and a destignation sign. It looks a bit of a puzzle but it really works perfect.
When trains are fully booked you can buy a ticket and then you’re placed on the waitinglist. This might work although you better might take a cheap domestic flight.
Just buy more than enough traintickets and reservation in advance. (E-tickets). The system works perfect and refunding is until 24 hours of the scheduled departure time no problem at all. The official site of Indian railways contains lots of information about connections, schedules , train composition and so. (worth paying a visit) Unfortunately the site is sometimes slow and they don’t accept all credit cards for your online reservation. Official websites: http://www.indianrail.gov.in en http://www.irctc.co.in
Class of train coaches in India:
- First class Air-Conditioned (AC) (Code:1A)
- First class (Code:FC).
- Economy AC chair Car (Code:CC)
- Second Sitting (Code:2S)
- AC 1-tier sleeper (Code:1A)
- AC 2-tier sleeper (Code:2A)
- AC 3-Tier sleeper (Code:3A)
- Sleeper Class (Code:SL)
For long distances a car with AC is best. The first class is outstanding. Each coach has its own steward. Food and drinks are included. Unfortunately these cars are not available in all train. The AC night train coaches are all good and clean. The sleeper class coaches are open coaches with banks which can be changed to a kind of bed. Not quit comfortable but it’s fun to experience and suitable upto a 5 or 6 hour drive. In the sleeper class you can easily make contact and chat with your fellow passengers. It’s normal and indians like to talk and chat with tourists. Food and drinks are not included. Take it yourself or buy at the vendors passing every 10 minutes. Just take the highest class available and don’t try out 3th class. (No reservations, crowded and dirty)
What to bring with you to india ?
As less as possible! You have to take hardly any clothing as you can buy everything you need in India. And besides that you can make use of the laundry services of your hotel. Cheap and good! On the street a T-shirt will cost not more than 100 roupie and in the cities you will find the all the western shops of Adidas, Nike, Levi’s and so on. Leave your expensive clothing, jewelry, watches at home. Limit your packing to the most essential things.
To bring by yourself A good first aid kit and your own medicines and cosmetics. A smaller bag or backpack for your first aid kit, your medicines, passport, money and so on. I this bag you will always have a bottle of water per person. Take 1 or 2 towels with you Small compact photocamera A good first aid kit, your own medicines . Bankpas and additional creditcard. Retrieving money from an ATM-machine is no problem at all in India. At any corner in the citycentre you will find an ATM. A credit card is needed to book on-line additional hotels, train-tickets or flights. Swiss army knife or multi tool A flashlight, beceause the power will definitely go down at night.
Hotels and Hostels
You will find a lots of hotels in India. Reservation in advance is not really needed as you will have always plenty of choice. However to make sure that you have a good, safe and CLEAN hotel you can better make some reservations in advance. You can do this on-line.
Don’t accept any fuzzy conditions for cancelations
Booking.com is well known and reliable.
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