India Train Tours - Luxury Trains in India - Rail Tour & Travel in India

Darjeeling Toy Train Deccan Odyssey Heritage On Wheels
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Trains in India, Train Tours, Train Travel

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The most pleasant mode of traveling in India is by train. The journey by train is like a adventure for the tourists which provides a memorable experience. During your journey, you will pass through varied landscapes, cultures and histories, so different from the rest of the world. The Indian Railways are the second largest and Asia’s largest railway system in the world. About 62,300 kms of tracks have been laid between 7000 stations. About more than 11000 trains run every day which covers a total length of 65000 kms and carries over ten million passengers. Presently, the Indian railways also offers diverse tourist routes, magnificent hotels on the wheels with the five-star services and Rail passes, which are ideal for the extensive trouble free tours across the country. Some of the famous trains in India are the Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient, Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express. The Palace On Wheels and Royal Orient are the two famous luxury royal trains with the historic charm and various modern facilities. Below are some of the train tours in India offered by Indo Vacations!

 

Most Popular Indian Luxury & Royal Train Tour Packages

Kerala, Kerala Tours

Maharaja's Expres Train

Ladakh, Ladakh Tours

Royal Rajasthan On Wheels

Gujarat, Gujarat Tours

Palace On Wheels

Gujarat, Gujarat Tours

The Indian Maharaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerala, Kerala Tours

Deccan Odyssey Train

Ladakh, Ladakh Tours

The Golden Chariot

Gujarat, Gujarat Tours

A Spiritual journey

Gujarat, Gujarat Tours

Splendor of The South

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden treasures of Gujarat Journey

Indian Sojourn- Luxury Train Tour

Jewels of the deccan Journey

Maharashtra splendor Journey

   

Maharashtra Wild Trail

History of Indian Subcontinent - History of India
Welcome

Rajasthan

North India

South India

East India

North East

Kerala

Gujarat

Kashmir

Ladakh

Himachal

Sikkim

Bhutan

Nepal

Tibet

Adventure

Bird Watching

WildLife

Safaris

Temples

Goa/Beaches

Special Tours

Train Tours

Ayurveda

Yoga

Festivals

Hotels

Car Rental

View All Tours

References

More India Train Tours

Train Tour
32 Days / 31 Nights

New Delhi - Varanasi - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Shekhawati - Bikaner - Jaisalmer – Osian - Jodhpur - Pushkar - Ranakpur - Udaipur - Ahmedabad - Mumbai - Goa

 

South India Train Tour
15 Days / 14 Nights
Chennai - Madurai - Periyar - Trivandram - Cochin - Bangalore - Mysore - Chennai

 

West and South India Train Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights
Mumbai - Aurangabad - Hyderabad - Chennai - Mysore - Bangalore - Mumbai

 

India Train Tour
14 Days / 13 Nights

Mumbai - Ahmedabad - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Jaipur - Agra - Delhi

 

Rajasthan Tour by Train
13 Days / 12 Nights

Delhi - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Udaipur - Jaipur - Agra - Delhi

 

Rajasthan Train Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights

Delhi - Udaipur - Ranakpur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Jaipur - Ranthambore - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Delhi

 

North India Train Tour
11 Days / 10 Nights

Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Gwalior - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi

 

Royal Orient Tour
08 Days / 07 Nights
Delhi - Chittorgarh - Udaipur - Mehsana - Junagadh - Veraval - Sasangir - Dilwara - Palitana - Sarkhej - Ahmedabad - Ranakpur - Jaipur - Delhi

 

Palace on Wheels Tour
08 Days / 07 Nights
Delhi - Jaipur - Jaisalmer - Jodhpur - Sawai Madhopur - Chittorgarh - Udaipur - Bharatpur - Agra - Delhi

 

Golden Triangle Tour by Train 
08 Days / 07 Nights
Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Delhi

 

Heritage on Wheels Tour
04 Days / 03 Nights

Jaipur - Bikaner - Tal Chhapar - Shekhawati - Jaipur

 

Train Tour, Fairy Queen
 



 
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The normal public train system in India


For most of the visitors the train system in India seem to complicated. We at Indo Vacations are organizing train tours and would like to provide them some information and terms with which they will be encountered. Indo Vacations Guides and Drivers will be there to help you however the below given matter is a kind of rough Guide and has been collected from different sources.

A typical long distance Indian train has the following coach configuration: The driver and his assistant at the front in the engine carriage. The guard is at the tail end of the train.  Trains run on  Diesel or Electric depending on the route. There are different kind of classes and compartment which you may also find on the tickets issued to you. Below is an effort to explain to them.

AC 3-Tier Sleeper (3A) - This is the air-conditioned version of the Second Class Sleeper. Most of the express trains have about 2 to 3 coaches of this type. More comfortable than Second Class Sleeper and also a bit more spacious and as with all the following increasingly more expensive classes less likely to be rammed packed and thus much easier to relax and sleep. The windows are tinted and do not open, so you cannot enjoy the sights outside like in Sleeper Class - but it's easy to walk to the next carriage and hang out the door and return when you have had enough for the noise and heat. This is recommended if you need to travel in a bit more comfort, especially during the summer. Bedroll available inside the coach free of charge. Most of the facilities are comparable with Sleeper Class.

AC 2-Tier sleeper (2A) - Many express trains have a couple of coaches of this class. More luxurious than 3A. You can find the well-to-do Indian class in these coaches. This is a good asylum for those who don’t want to join the crowd or expect luxury rather than economy. All the facilities available in SL are available here also. Bedroll available inside the coach free of charge.

First Class AC (1A) - The highest luxury class on regular routes. Cost comparable with economy class airfare. A number of important long distance trains have these coaches. The elite class and business executives travel by 1A. You can travel in this class for days without even having eye contact with a co-passenger. People tend to mind their own business (the usual stuff of newspaper reading, staring at the laptop screen, acting sleepy etc).

AC Chair car (CC) - Generally attached to the day running trains only. Looks more like economy class in a plane, but with a slightly wider seat. Cost is a bit less than 3A. OK for decent day travel. Many day running express trains have this class.

First Class (FC)
- This is the legacy first class coach. Only a few meter gauge express trains have them. This is first class but non-AC! Cost between 2-Tier AC and 3-Tier AC. Spacious. You need to ask the station manager prior to getting on the train for a bedroll.

Express Trains - There are a number of special trains called Rajdhani (means capital) and Shatabdi (means centenary) express. These trains have only the luxury class coaches. And they are the fastest of all trains in India and well worth taking. Rajdhani Expresses run between Delhi and many important cities. Shatabdi Expresses run between important  tourist cities. Shatabdi is a day running (no sleeping berth)

Second Class (General Compartment) - 2 to 4 coaches in a train, usually 2 just behind the engine and 2 at the end of the train will be allocated general compartment. You'll can  make a reservation to travel in second class. or Just buy the ticket from the counter at the railway station if seats are still available. Second class General Compartment is one of the cheapest ways to travel in India and perfect for a short trip but not recommended for the tourists from abroad as you may not be used to the  overcrowded compartments and the loud conversations and arguments among the travellers r of many crying children.  If you manage to get a seat there is no guarantee that you can hold on to it. You need to "reserve" the seat you occupied by keeping your luggage or any other personal objects on the seat when you go to toilets etc.
An empty seat is open for anyone, including you, to occupy! The facilities are bare minimum. Food is available from vendors. 4 toilets (squat type) with water are attached to each coach. Fans are provided. Two washbasins are also provided at both the ends. Bring a small chain and a padlock to secure your luggage beneath a seat or to the luggage rack.

Depending on the season, route etc. second class coaches may get overcrowded: you can end up breathing through your neighbour's nose! These coaches get phenomenally overcrowded during the Indian summer season. There is a large passenger overflow into second class from other classes due to the overbooking of reservation seats. You can see some of the poorer of India in these compartments. People are generally accommodative and more than happy to talk to strangers. A foreigner generates a lot of curiosity. You take the first step in winning the co-passengers’ confidence. Use your commonsense to judge the situation. An indication of their interest in you is that you will be bombarded with questions. Be prepared to answer a lot personal questions. The first would invariably be ‘from where you are coming?’ ‘What is your profession?’ Then it could be how much you earn a month. Your answers can lead to sub questions! This is how they socialize.  A poorer Indian thinks that all western tourists are infinitely rich: they have loads of money that they don't know what to do with. Otherwise why should they travel around and waste a lot of money? It is surprising that even the well-to-do class of Indian society also at times think along this line. An average Indian is an infinitely inquisitive question bank. Don't get offended. This is their culture. Asking such questions is not considered impolite.

Sleeper Class (SL) - This class is the main chunk of a typical express train. About 72 passengers are accommodated in each coach. There are about 10 to 15 Sleeper Class coaches attached per train. You need a prior reservation to get into them. Reservations can be made from 60 days prior to the travel date but may soon be extended to 90 days in advance. Seats are made into berths in the night. The seats are grouped into sort of semi-private sections of 6 seats, 3+3 facing each other. Upper berth (UB), Middle berth (MB) and the Lower Berth (LB). The lower berth is the seat for all three during daytime. The upper berth is undisturbed and can be used for sleeping even in the daytime. The lower berth passenger gets the window seat during the daytime. Generally you can see a lot of co-operation among the "6 member berth family" in berth swapping, setting the middle berth etc during the journey. Then on the other side of the walkway there is a row of "Side Berths". They are twin seats facing each other. If you are more than 5.5 feet, these side berths are slightly short for sleeping. But both of these are window seats and you will offer little trouble for the other passengers if you want to get out of your seat. Don't get offended if an old passenger asks to exchange your lower berth with an upper berth.

Generally the younger people consent to this as a courtesy to the senior passenger. Try to avoid if possible the first and last 16 seats of the 72 seats in each coach. These are close to the doors and toilets. You may be annoyed by the traffic near the door and toilets, and disturbed at night by the light. Chains are provided to secure your baggage (bring your own padlock). Your luggage can be pushed under the seat.
These coaches are provided with 4 toilets (1 western style, carry your own toilet paper). The squat type is more hygienic in a train. Using them in a moving train needs some experience. This is a stainless steel toilet bowl with footrests set into the floor. There are two latches for the toilet. One is a twin latch that can be opened and closed from both inside and outside. The other can be operated only from inside the toilet. Lock this one when you are inside and leave the other one open. This gives the indication from outside that it is occupied. Early mornings are a bit crowded at the toilets. You can use the washbasin located outside the toilet for teeth cleaning, face washing etc. The toilets are more or less similar for all classes.

Your name is listed on a chart stuck next to your coach's door outside. A copy is also displayed at the departing station "Reservation Chart" notice board about an hour before departure. These coaches are indexed as S1,S2, S3 etc. Lookout for a square white paper label to the side of the door with the coach number marked on it. The same is printed on your ticket also. Most of the stations have a notice board indicating the position of the coaches from the engine. If this is not displayed ask any staff you see at the station for your coach’s location. If you can find out the location of your coach prior to the arrival of the train you can avoid madly running up and down along the length of the train with your pack. No bedding will be provided in this class, but without AC it is unlikely to get too cold.
The middleclass mass of India travel by this class. Next to your seat might be a newly married Tamil couple (who can speak reasonably good English), an old lady (who is not very happy with you in the beginning), her middle-aged daughter (who speaks only Hindi) and her inquisitive young boy (who wants to know where are you from). For a budget traveller Second Class sleeper is probably the most suitable mode of transport.


Break Van - These are the luggage vans attached at the end of each train. If you have any jumbo size articles (bicycle, Motorbike, camping equipment. etc) you can carry it in the break van of the train in which you are traveling. Luggage need not be booked with your reservation. Just come to the boarding station a bit earlier than the departure time and book your luggage in the break van. The Luggage Office is located near the platform. You need to show your ticket as proof that you are traveling in the same train. Go personally to the break van to supervise the loading and unloading of your luggage. This helps you to avoid any "missing" luggage. If you are not having anything put in the luggage van, but your luggage is more than the free allowance, you need to pay the additional charge at this office. Typically the free allowances are 35kg for second class, 40kg for II Sleeper & III AC sleeper, 50kg for II AC sleeper, 70kg for I AC. About 10kg more than this is OK. If you exceed above that, extra luggage charges must be paid.

Pantry Car - Most long distance trains have this facility. You can get meals, snacks, coffee, tea (chai), cool drinks etc. Staff come to your seat to take orders. Also you can go to the car and order directly. You need to pay for what you buy, except on Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains where meals are included. This is basically a vegetarian facility with egg. Chicken curry and other meals are available at stations for about reasonable money.  Prices are slightly higher for food than the local restaurants. You can get decent food in an express train.

TTE - You have to show the ticket to the TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) on request. He wears a dark blazer with a name badge over his white shirt and always carries a chart board with a huge clip over it. You can see a beeline of passengers behind him at boarding stations asking him questions about the status of the waiting list. You can ask him any questions from swapping your seat to the next coach where your friend's berth is, arrival & departure times, which train is the best to reach Shimla, how many children he has (it will be appreciated!) etc. If you want to extend your journey in the same train he can do the same and give you the receipt. He can also upgrade your class based on availability and you can pay and get the receipt during the journey itself.
If there is a medical emergency within the train inform the TTE. He along with other key staffs are trained to administer first aid. Also he can easily locate any doctors from the passenger list. Indian railways encourage medical practitioners to prefix their name with Dr. when booking the reservations. All the passengers are insured by the railways against accidents within the railways premises as per the rules. Typically a TTE is in charge of about 4 coaches. He travels along with you. For very long distance trains a new TTE takes charge every day. He locks the coaches from inside during the nights. Many night running trains have a few policemen as night guards. For any complaint or request during your travel, approach the TTE.

Vendors - Anything is available for sale inside a train and at stations. From safety pins to quiz books to bananas to shoe polishing services to dried fruits - you name it! But not all of them may be the railway’s approved vendors. A train is a big bazaar on the move. It is part and parcel of the system. When a train reaches a station the vendors cover the windows like bees on the honeycomb, everyone shouting what they sell. All the services are thoughtfully customized so that they can be easily sold through the 4 inch gap of the window grille! If you are sitting at the window seat, co-passengers may request that you pass their purchases. Generally the train stops for two minutes at a station, but at key stations it can be up to 30 minutes. A frenzy of activity (buying, selling, getting in, getting out) takes place in two minutes before the train slowly starts with a long whistle. Carry a bunch of coins and small change during travel.

Reservations
- Our staff can make a reservation for you at any of the Indian Railway reservation counters in India. There are hundreds of them all around the country. Large cities have counters located at multiple places for passenger convenience. Office network of Indo Vacations at the most of the locations help you to get the tickets booked. However we need to have you date of Birth and complete names to secure you train ticket bookings.

Cancellations can be done up to 4 hours before departure of the train. Note down the 10-digit PNR and the Transaction ID.  Each ticket can be for a maximum of 6 passengers.

There is an India rail pass available for foreign tourists which can be bought abroad. If you are not travelling so much then it is not worth getting one. We advice you to get the tickets booked well in advance. This is an easy way to book tickets if you are not curious to go to the reservation counters personally and stand in queue.  Counters are generally open 8.00am-8.00pm weekdays and 8.00am-2.00pm on Sundays.

When searching for the availability of a particular train online you may encounter a result like WL 40/WL 10. This may look a bit confusing for a new user, but if you know the Indian reservation system this is a useful bit of data. There are two kind of waiting list for Indian trains. Seats are reserved on a first come first served basis. Once all seats have been reserved you go into the 'Reservation against Cancellations' category popularly known as RAC. This is nothing but a waiting list in the conventional sense. You can still get inside a train with an RAC status ticket. You have a confirmed seat but the berth will be allotted based on the availability due to cancellations. After the RAC category is full, the real waiting list (WL) comes into the picture. WL40/WL10 means your actual waitlist position is 40th. Due to cancellation of tickets booked before you, the current status of your waitlist is 10. In other words, 30 bookings have already been cancelled before your enquiry/reservation (40-10=30).

Based on experience, regular travelers know how many sets normally get cancelled on a route. It’s a bit of a chancey issue, but about 200+ seats get cancelled for a Second class sleeper per train. You can take a chance accordingly. When you are searching for the seat availability if you come across with something like AVAILABLE- 0068, it means 68 seats are available for the day indicated. You will not have a seat allotted for you if the status is still under the WL. Contact the TTE to find out your chance of getting a berth. However you can travel with this ticket in the General Compartment.

Thanks to all of them who have contibuted the valuble information on this page !

 

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