First-AC, 2 tier and 3 tier experience

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#1 May 18th, 2009, 01:28
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#1
Hi guys,
I will be travelling on the Nilagiri Express from Chennai to Metupalayam in First AC coupe and later on 2 tier AC on another route and 3 tier AC from Kerala to Chennai.

Can anyone tell me how each of these classes of travel is? I know they are AC and do know the number of berths each of these coaches have. But I just want to know your experience on 3 tier AC, is this very congested? I have traveled on sleeper (non-ac) and this is my first experience on AC coaches. I also want to know whether you can hear the sound of the train in First AC, 2 tier AC and 3 tier AC and see outside the sealed windows?

Thank you,
#2 May 18th, 2009, 01:52
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#2
I did all three on my trip recently with my wife and two kids. It was our first experience of train travel and we loved it.

Firstly we went on 1AC overnight from Udaipur to Jaipur and it was good, plenty of space and a lock on the door. We were in a 1AC cum 2AC carriage. You could hear the train but I'd say that you feel it more, the noise was never a problem. I'm a light sleeper and I slept okay - although I kept waking up to check my watch and that we hadn't missed the station.

We then did two back-to-back 3AC from Sawai Madhopur to Jaipur and Jaipur to Alwar. Both were very clean, quiet and a joy to travel on. The Jaipur to Alwar one was a bit confusing as each seat seemed to have two numbers, one proper one and one hand written one. But neither train was crowded so we just sat roughly where we should have been.

From Alwar to Delhi we took 2AC which gives you more privacy if you pull the curtain across but we didn't both. It certainly felt way more roomy but then again we didn't get to chat with people in the other two seats - there were four in my party.

None of our trips were full. All the trains were clean.

It was handy being able to lock the door in 1AC and we'd possibly use it again for (longer) overnights but I'd be happy to do overnights on both 2AC and 3AC.
For day trips I think I preferred 3AC as you get to talk to others easier.

Contrary to popular belief it is easy to see out of the tinted windows, even in the dead of night.
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#3 May 18th, 2009, 03:05
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You HOPE you'll get a 2-berth coupe, because the berth allocation (in 1A or FC) isn't decided till a few hours before the train's departure.

1A, then 2A, then 3A.......It's difficult to think of any situation in life where this would be the best way to go.

If you landed in India and travelled 3A, you'd think it was a fun way to travel with plenty of space and lots of interesting people all bursting to speak to you.

But after 1A, then 2A, you'll likely find 3A crowded with loads of people who won't leave you alone.

My opinions about each class could be controversial, but you must remember that their the opinions of a working class man who likes to chat to people on the trains, and It's no secret that my favourite class in the non air con Sleeper Class.

1A is very spacious, extremely secure, the ultimate luxury of Indian Railways, you could definitely swing a cat in a 4-berth cabin, if you want peace and quiet, 1A is the way to go, on the downside, it's poor value for money compared to the other classes, it can be cold (air con on full), and the temperature difference compared to outside the cabin is huge and in my opinion, a danger to health (if you go for loads of walks as I often do, other 1A passengers tend to be less talkative and this can be frustrating on long journeys, though to be fair, you can also get some real nice people in 1A, just not as regularly as you will in the other classes.

2A, good value for money, very comfortable, and basically 1A without the closed cabins, it's only the passengers who spoil this class, there are many 1A wanabee's who create their own 1A cabins by closing the curtains down the aisle, creating a rather lonely atmosphere for a single traveller, I even took to calling it the 'Ignorant class' on my last trip, and eventually stopped using it, even though my journeys were all paid for (Indrail pass), the biggest pity about the ignorant class is that they all seem like such nice people when you get talking to them, strange, but again, a great choice if you want to be left alone.

3A, a crowded 2A would be the best description, though I don't find it crowded, there's no aisle curtains, so little privacy, but that's the magic of this class, everyone talks to each other, and the standard of English is good, if 2 of you are travelling, and you get side berths, there's really very little difference between the side berths of 2A and 3A (as long as Indian Railways sticks to it's word and doesn't use the side middle berths), 3A isn't the right class if you want to keep to yourself.


There will be many people who like the space and the quiet of 1A (in particular) and 2A, and their experience of those classes would be much more positive, and their opinions probibly more valid than mine for this kind of thread.

Regarding the windows, trains vary, some newer carriages have very clear windows (so locals try to close the curtains), and some have very tinted windows, most are somewhere in-between, but even the worst one's still allow you to look outside and it seems everything is good, till you walk down and look out of the open carriage door and suddenly everything seems brighter and a different colour.
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#4 May 18th, 2009, 03:34
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#4
I agree to the above. Just that 3a on some routes has THREE side berths which is frankly callous and painful. Otherwise, 3A most days, and 2A otherwise.
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#5 May 18th, 2009, 18:48
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#5
Thank you all for your replies. I am from India and traveled all the time in sleeper class which is great. I just wanted to check out the AC coaches as I always wanted to travel and now I can afford it. I don't have a problem if there are people travelling or whether they speak English or not. I would love to travel in First Class(non-AC) but I see that they are removing it slowly.

Steve when the tickets were booked for my first AC, the reservation guy said it is usually given on first-come-first-serve basis and that we can write a letter to the director or head of reservation requesting for one. And since we booked this in advance and gave the letter, he said that we will surely get it as we were the first to purchase tickets on the first-AC.

Oceanbridge I love the sound of the train, I think that is one of the best things Indian Railways can offer along with the scenery so the "noise" is not a problem for me .

hitanshu: 3 side berths in 3A? that is torture. I hope they remove it, I remember seeing some sleeper-class pictures with side berths.
#6 May 18th, 2009, 18:53
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#6

Difference between 3AC and SL

This may be off-topic a little but...

As I've never travelled sleeper class before, can someone tell me what the (objective) differences between 3AC and Sleeper class are.
#7 May 18th, 2009, 18:55
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by davef22 View Post Oceanbridge I love the sound of the train, I think that is one of the best things Indian Railways can offer along with the scenery so the "noise" is not a problem for me
Oceanbridge? Who's he?
#8 May 18th, 2009, 21:40
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steven_ber: it's interesting to see your reasons for not liking 2AC. I must say that I didn't have that problem during my (admittedly quite limited) travels in India recently. I found the people in 2AC to be very friendly and talkative, but maybe I was just lucky. A few people did draw the curtains as you say, but not many, and people often came from their seats in other parts of the carriage to chat.

Actually the only train journey where no-one talked to me was New Delhi - Kalka in CC on the Shatabdi, which takes just four hours. That train seemed to have a different kind of passenger - mostly younger and professional. It was much more like a train journey in the UK. The service was of a very high standard, but it didn't feel very Indian.
#9 May 18th, 2009, 22:48
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#9
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Originally Posted by OceanTragic View Post Oceanbridge? Who's he?
Hi am sorry. I mean't OceanTragic...my bad.
#10 May 18th, 2009, 22:49
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanTragic View Post This may be off-topic a little but...

As I've never travelled sleeper class before, can someone tell me what the (objective) differences between 3AC and Sleeper class are.
Most obvious might be the lack of airconditioning!

Also, no glass in the windows, no free bedding (though I believe you can reserve a bedroll with your ticket for a few rupees more), no place to charge your phone or laptop.

Not as much English spoken in sleeper class.

Many more people traipsing through the carriage, selling food, toys, magazines and all sorts of things.
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#11 May 18th, 2009, 22:50
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanTragic View Post This may be off-topic a little but...

As I've never travelled sleeper class before, can someone tell me what the (objective) differences between 3AC and Sleeper class are.
Sleeper class basically you do not have AC and it is opened windows. This way you can look outside and they have fans. It looks exactly like 3AC but no AC. Correct me if I am wrong and now they have middle berths on the side seats as well in the sleeper. Apart from this 3AC is usually 3 times the cost of an ordinary sleeper.
#12 May 18th, 2009, 22:53
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwomanusa View Post Most obvious might be the lack of airconditioning!


Not as much English spoken in sleeper class.
Hmm not really. It is the most common means of train-travel in India. This doesn't necessarily mean there are fewer people speaking English.
#13 May 19th, 2009, 01:43
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The biggest difference between 3A and Sleeper is that there are 8 sections (1 section = the 'inside' berths and the side berths) in a 3A carriage, and 9 sections in a Sleeper Class carriage, so the side berths are considerably shorter in SL.

These days, you mostly get places to charge your mobile or laptop(at one end of the carriage), but only 2 places per carriage, so it may be difficult to charge anything.

Sleeper Class just feels 'real', as it should be, you could never in a million years think you're in England when you travel in Sleeper Class, Sleeper Class is just alive, I wish I had a photo with me now (I'll have it in a month or so) of a group of people in Sleeper Class, they was about 8 people in the inside berths (as seats) and they just stretched a blanket out on top of their legs to make a 'table' between them, then they all started playing cards (mostly girls if my memory is correct), it's just so cute, so homely, and you see this kind of thing all the time, hammocks (made from a single sheet) hanging between the upper berths for babies to sleep in, Sleeper Class is just full of life.

This may seem like a really stupid comparison, but it's the only one I can think of, think of the difference between listening to music via your hi-fi speakers, and listening via your walkman headphones, at the start, the headphones sound better because they're right inside your ear, but pretty soon they become tiring, but you could listen via your speakers all day long.

This is kind of how I feel in a Sleeper Class carriage, I can just tilt my head back and face the outside world, and I can watch the world go by for hours, but when I try looking out of a window in AC (even a clear one), it just doesn't feel the same and I have to go and sit by the open door.

It's also about the air (good and bad) coming into the carriage, and all the hawkers, and the kind of Indian people that you just wouldn't otherwise come into contact with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davef22 View Post Hmm not really. It is the most common means of train-travel in India. This doesn't necessarily mean there are fewer people speaking English.
A smaller percentage, and the standard of English isn't as high as the air con classes, but that's half the fun for me.
#14 May 19th, 2009, 03:27
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post Sleeper Class just feels 'real', as it should be, you could never in a million years think you're in England when you travel in Sleeper Class, Sleeper Class is just alive,
Sounds good, looks like I'll have to give it a go whenever I next get to India
#15 May 19th, 2009, 11:07
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#15
main advantage of the 1AC is the lockable compartment which means you feel more secure when u visit the washroom especially when you are carrying valuables.
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