Worth going by FC (non-AC)?

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#1 Nov 20th, 2007, 17:36
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#1
I was about to book a train (6629 MALABAR EXP) from Ernakulam to Kannur and would usually have gone for 2AC, but I notice it still has the old non-AC first class carriages available as well.

Are these more or less nice than 2AC? I think they're a bit cheaper, so I assume they're a bit worse. but it's the only class of train I've not tried (aside from 1AC) so wondered if it was worth going for, just for a different experience.

Anyone want to help me make my mind up?
Maybe it's not that important... it is a midnight to 7am train so it's not like there'll be a lot of chance to look out the window or anything.

Thanks!

(I have tried searching on the site, but 'FC' is too short as a term to search for and 'first class' throws up hundreds of results)
#2 Nov 20th, 2007, 17:41
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#2
These are like the 1AC you have travelled in with out the AC and have windows. If you are two persons and the 2 berth coupe you have the cabin to yourself.
#3 Nov 20th, 2007, 17:45
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#3
1AC is actually the only type of carriage I haven't travelled in - the tinted windows always put me off.

There are two of us so it sounds quite nice, usually I like the sociable side of Indian train travel, but boarding at midnight means that's less of an issue here.
#4 Nov 20th, 2007, 17:53
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#4
Since you are travelling midnight to 7 AM it would be better in AC2 as these are much less noisy & less dusty. Having the 2 berth coupe is good if you are travelling whole day and night. But as you said you miss the social side of train travel.
#5 Nov 20th, 2007, 17:56
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#5
Surprised they still exist - I thought most of them had been changed in favour of 3 AC. I had travelled First Class long time ago and the difference between FC and Sleeper were
- lesser berths per coach - more space
- no side berths as in sleeper or 3AC
- padded berths - at that time sleeper class had wooden berths with no padding
- 2/4 berth coupes - more privacy and security
- Bedding was given (as in AC these days)

I guess it is worth a try, specially in this season where one can probably do without AC.
#6 Nov 20th, 2007, 18:09
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#6
Thanks,
I think I'll probably go for it on the basis of it being a new experience and something that probably isn't going to be around much longer.
#7 Nov 20th, 2007, 20:06
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#7
I would take FC. These carriages are being phased out and a journey in them will only be a memory
#8 Nov 20th, 2007, 20:17
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#8
Yeah, I'd love to take a FC train trip, just because they seem so rare. So far, not a single train connecting any of the places I'm going seems to have it.

Anybody have a rough list of which trains still have FC? Is there a particular part of the country you're likely to run into it?
#9 Nov 20th, 2007, 20:35
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#9
I traveled in nonAC FC on a 17 hour trip from Rameswaram to Chennai. I loved it.

The cars are indeed "rougher" than 2AC, but I loved the fact that the windows had no glass so it did not filter my view of India. I have recently booked another train to ride in FC. I figure I won't need AC in January in tamil nadu.

I am sorry to hear those cars are being phased out.
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#10 Nov 20th, 2007, 21:37
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#10
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I just booked FC on the Malabar Express, will let you know how it goes. Very impressed by how easy e-ticket system is - that wasn't an option when we last went to India.

Anyone know what time sunrise is in Kerala, early January? As the train arrives at 6.40am I'm guessing there won't be that much view to enjoy... But I'm looking forwards to it anyway.
#11 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:44
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#11
For some reason FC is still around a lot in trains in South India. I wonder why... Less need for ACs? More traditional rich people living there? Who knows?
#12 Nov 20th, 2007, 23:46
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#12
The weather is agreeable these days...go for it (FC).
...and I took the road less travelled.
#13 Dec 3rd, 2007, 17:13
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#13
And what would you recommend, upper or lower berth? In sleeper I alway opt for upper for the reason of safety and privacy, but in FC? We just go from midnight to 5 am on that train, so sight seeing is not expected. It's just the question of being protected from dirt and knowing, when we are at Trichy, where we want to get of.

Any suggestions?
#14 Jan 17th, 2008, 19:37
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#14
I said I'd update this after trying it.

To answer whether it was worth going by old style FC - I would say no...

It was basically very like sleeper class in style/level of comfort, but less clean. You do get your own compartment with a lockable door, so we had a 2 berth compartment to ourselves. However the lock didn't work properly, so you're woken up all night by people opening the door, seeing it's occupied and then closing it again.

You also can't get any bedding - or at least one train employee said he'd get some but then never came back, then the conductor said it wasn't possible. I should probably have offered the first guy some money straight away.

So in conclusion, sleeper class is a far better option really. Still, it was an experience.
#15 Jan 19th, 2008, 13:31
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#15
I think, for non-AC travel, you have to reserve and pay for bedding when you reserve your travel. In AC, the beddng is included in the ticket.
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