Types of trains, seats and quotas available on Indian Trains 4

Indian Railways

Indian Railways

In India there are many different types of trains and different types of seats available for sale. So many options in both trains and seat types sometimes become confusing. In this article we will try to explain what are these different types of trains and the type of seats available on them so that you know what to expect.

The Indian Railways provide its passengers various types of trains which are unique in the type of journey it performs. Some are fast luxury trains where as some are normal trains; some are fast trains with limited stops whereas some are slow trains with stops in each and every village on the way. In the following section we cover these different types of trains and their uniqueness.

Types of trains in India.

  • Rajdhani Express: These are the fastest trains of India having an average speed of 130kmph. These are fully air conditioned trains. These trains connect two major cities in India on an overnight journey. These have very stops.
  • Duronto Express: These are similar to Rajdhani Express trains with two major exceptions. These trains run nonstop from origin to destination without any stops and these have both Air Condition and Non Aircondition coaches. These are primarily for people who want to travel from one point to other in the quickest possible time and for also people those who cannot afford the air condition seats and yet want to reach their destination soon.
  • Shatabdi Express: These trains are fully air conditioned trains connecting two cities during day time. These trains have only sitting facilities. These trains are also as fast as Rajdhani Express.
  • Jan Shatabdi Express: These trains are primarily same as Shatabdi trains but offer more affordability than Shatabdi Express. These have both AC and non AC classes.
  • Garib Rath: These trains are also fully air conditioned but with no frills and have comparatively less speed than Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express. These trains stop at a lot of places and generally run late most of the times.
  • Superfast Express/Mails: These trains have an average speed of 80kmph. These trains run on odd circuits. Though there are lot of stops, but it helps avoid changing trains in order to reach destination. These trains have both AC and Non AC accommodation.
  • Express trains: These trains have many stops, they stop at almost all major stations and these are the most common trains available in India.
  • Intercity/Passengers/Fast Passengers: These are the cheapest and slowest trains of India having stops at all the stations. Generally these trains have unreserved class but some night trains have sleeper and AC compartments also.

Having understood the types of trains, let’s try to understand the type of accommodation/seats available on Indian trains. Reading through the list below I am sure you will be overwhelmed by the various options available.

Types of seats available on Indian Trains.

  • 1A (First Class AC): This is the most expensive class, having fares almost equal to Air fare. These are fully air conditioned with an attendant to help the passengers. The charges of Bedding are included in the ticket. These coaches have full capacity of 18 passengers only. These coaches are carpeted and have privacy features like personal coupes. Max 4 people per coupe are allowed so at max you get to share the cabin with 3 other people.
  • 2A (Second AC/ AC two tier): These coaches are full air conditioned. These coaches also have attendants and the bedding charges are included in the ticket. These coaches have full capacity of 48 passengers. There are two bunk beds on each side. One is lower berth and the other is upper berth.
  • 3A (Third AC): These coaches are also full air conditioned. These coaches also have attendants and the bedding charges are included in the ticket. These coaches have full capacity of 64 passengers. There are three bunk beds on each side. One is lower berth, the other one is middle berth and final one is the upper berth.
  • 3E (AC three tiers Economy): Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, present in Garib Rath Trains. These trains usually have no reading lights or curtained off gangways.
  • CC (Chair Car): These are fully air-conditioned coaches with a total of five seats in a row. These types of seats are primarily found on trains that are day journey trains.
  • SL (Sleeper Class): The sleeper class is the most common coach; it carries 72 passengers per coach. This is similar to 3A class with the exception that there is No Aircon in these type of seats.
  • 2S (Second Seating): same as AC Chair car, but with bench style seats and without the air-conditioning. These may be reserved in advance or may be unreserved
Air-conditioned 3A Berth

Air-conditioned 3A Berth

First AC 1A Class

Types of quotas in train tickets:

There are about 12 categories OR quotas under which you can book a train ticket in India. There is a separate blog post for that, however we are going to discuss three main quota types here.

  1. General Quota: Also known as the ‘Quota for the Common Man’. The general quota has the highest number of seats allocated in every train. The ticket bookings under this quota open 120 days in advance, before the date of travel. Tickets can be booked online and at the train station using this quota.
  2. Foreign Tourist Quota: Some trains that are widely used by foreigners (non-Indians) have few seats reserved for Foreigners. You can book tickets under the Foreign Tourist Quota only from few designated tourist counters at select train station. These counters are open 24 hours.
  3. Tatkal Quota: The Tatkal Quota is primarily for those passengers with immediate or urgent travel plans. Booking for tatkal quota opens at 10:00 am on the previous day of journey from train originating station. Example, If you want to travel on 21st, then you can book under tatkal quota only after 10am of 20th. Tickets can be booked both online and at any train station.

Few tips for travellers:

  1. The beds are referred to as “berths”.
  2. Always try to reserve an upper level one. They don’t have to be folded down during the day like the middle level ones, or act as seats for all the passengers like the lower level ones.
  3. Travel in sleeper class (SL) is suitable for those on a tight budget, or those who don’t mind roughing it out. Best to travel in AC class and enjoy the train journey from the comfort of a weatherproof cabin. Hot winds during summer or cold winds during winters can cause a lot of discomfort especially in travelling in Non AC coaches.
  4. Those who require space and/or privacy, 2A or 1A is recommended.

With the information presented above, we hope that you will be able to make a better decision on choosing the type of train and the type of seat for your next train journey through India. If you ever need to clarify any doubt, just put a small comment below and we will be happy to answer your query. Like always, Indian Railway and we at Smyle Inn are always available at your service.

4 thoughts on “Types of trains, seats and quotas available on Indian Trains

  1. Reply asad perwez Oct 25,2018 11:20 am

    Hi can you please tell me how many berths are there in 1A category?

  2. Reply Probal Feb 29,2020 5:49 am

    What about IndRail pass ?



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