A tour to India without a train journey is like a great dinner without a dessert. If you are planning a long trip to India you can visit many places in train instead of flight as you can go to almost all places in India by train as there are more than 6000 railway stations and it has more than 1 million employees making it the biggest employer in the world.
1. Train details and fare
Before booking a ticket, you need to the train details,fare,availability etc.
To check the trains running between two places, visit the Indian railway’s official website and click the link Train between Important Stations. Select the source station,destination,class and journey date. It will list all the trains running between the two stations with the information below:
– Train No
– Train Name
– Departure Time
– Arrival Time
– Travel Time
– Days of Run ( Some trains will run only on selected days of the week)
You can check the availability by clicking ‘Get Availability’ button below. The fare for the ticket can be found by clicking the ‘Get Fare’ button.’Get Schedule’ lists all the intermediate stations between the source and destination.
2. Booking train tickets
You don’t have to wait in long queues to book the ticket after reaching India. You can plan the trip well in advance and book the tickets online from your country itself.You can book 90 days in advance prior to the date of travel and you will get tickets most of the time except festival holidays or other long weekends.
You should register in this site with your email address for booking tickets.After logging in, it will automatically go to the booking page where you have to select source,destination,date,ticket type and quota. You can choose the ticket type as e-ticket so that it will be emailed to you.Choose quota as general or ladies accordingly and click the ‘Find Trains’ button.
Then it will all the trains with the availability information for each class. (The class can be Sleeper,AC1,AC2,AC3,First class,AC executive chair,AC Chair and Unreserved. Except sleeper and First class the remaining are fully air conditioned.)
The ticket status can be either CNF,RAC or WL. CNF means the ticket is available and you will get a confirmed berth. RAC means you will get a seat for sitting but the availability of a berth is not guaranteed and can only be found during travel. WL means neither sitting nor berth is confirmed.You cannot travel with a WL ticket unless it is moved to RAC or CNF.
The booking in this site finally goes to the IRCTC website only but the site is more user friendly.
3. Food and Drink in Indian trains
You will not get food or drink in a sleeper class ticket but some trains provide complimentary food for AC coaches. Every train has a railway canteen and you can order the food from them. Usually a person will come and take the order in AC coaches. But you will get only Indian food like rice or roti.It is better if you buy water and food from outside if your journey is more than 8 hours.Also local people will be selling food packets outside the station and you can buy if your health won’t get affected.
4.Cleanliness in toilets
The toilets in Indian trains are not clean and hygienic even though the ones in AC coaches are better than the rest. You cannot expect the toilets like the ones in your country .Here it is nothing but simply a hole. So it is not advisable to use it while the train is standing in some station.Bring paper tissues or towels, hand washing soaps or gels and other things you may need because they may not be available and you cannot buy it also inside the train.
5. Delays in arrival
Most of the sometimes you can expect some 10 to 15 times delay to reach the destination and in the worst case it may be an hour or so. The delays arise due to rain or some malfunction in the tracks or other reasons. So always be prepared to expect this in your train journey.
6.Avoid stepping out at small stations
Don’t take the risk of stepping out from the train in a station where it stands for only 2 or 3 minutes as there is a chance of missing the train. If you are sure that the train will stand in the station for 10 minutes or more, then you can step out.
7. Make use of special Tourist Trains
Indian railways offers tourist trains for various pilgrimages as well as recreation places.The package includes sight seeing,food,water etc. You can check Rail Tourism India website for more details.
8. Always travel in AC coach
Don’t think of travelling in non-AC coaches as it won’t be comfortable for the tourists. So always travel in any of the AC coaches.
9.Avoid food by strangers
Don’t eat any food given by strangers although only decent people will be travelling in AC coaches.Few incidents happened in the past like making the passengers unconscious and stoling the valuable things from them.
10.Security in Indian trains
Generally the train journey in India is very safe.But prevention is always better than cure.
– Buy a pair of chain and padlock as many as your baggages and tie the baggage to the loop under the seat with chain and padlock.
– Keep your passport and other important things in a pouch tied to your hip.
– Keep the local contact address and phone number in all your bags.
– Don’t take heavy cash in your journey as ATMs are available in all major cities and you can withdraw money whenever you need.
– Don’t wear precious and costly jewelry.
– Always lock the doors in your compartment during night time.
– If you have lost anything unfortunately, inform the station and the next arriving railway station.