Train fares.

#1 Jun 1st, 2004, 09:35
Join Date:
Sep 2001
  • steven_ber is offline
Thank you SHIMLA & Volga Volga for your valuable contributions to this thread.

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Train fares.

I will try to explain Indian train fares and how best to take advantage of the complex rules, though I must confess; my knowledge of Indian Railway rules is not great, but I’ve banged my head against that particular brick wall for long enough to learn some useful things.

First, I will answer a question that I’ve been asked by a few members: -

“How do I budget for train costs”

The simple answer is: - you don’t need to!

Class of Accommodation on a train generally reflects a person’s budget; someone staying in a Rs 1000+ hotel will normally travel in air-con class on a train, an overnight express train generally means covering about 650 km in 11 hours and the fare is Rs 742 for 3A and Rs 1138 for 2A.

Someone staying in a budget hotel would normally travel in Sleeper Class with no air-con (Rs 283 for the same overnight journey).

So the cost of the train ticket is only what would have been paid on a hotel.

If you travel during the day you are not saving the cost of a hotel, but Sleeper Class is fine for daytime travel (if you book side berths) and is only about Rs 160 for a 6 or 7-hour journey (about 350 km), or if you prefer air conditioned travel, the same journey would cost Rs 325 in an AC Chair Car.

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Click on the following links for some basic fares, there are additional charges to be added to all the basic fares, most are indicated in the diagram at the bottom of this post.

Mail/Express & ordinary passenger trains, up to 1000 km.

Mail/Express & ordinary passenger trains, more than 1000 km.

Rajdhani Express fares.

Shatabdi & Jan Shatabdi Express fares.

1A = First Class air-conditioned (AC1)
2A = 2 Tier air-conditioned (AC2)
3A = 3 Tier air-conditioned (AC3)
FC = First Class NOT air-conditioned
EC = Executive chair class, air-conditioned (Available only on Shatabdi Expresses)
CC = Chair class, air-conditioned
SL = Sleeper Class, NOT air-conditioned
2S = Bookable second class seat, NOT air-conditioned
II = Unreserved 2nd class, NOT air-conditioned

Detailed information including photos of the above classes of accommodation

Our member 'Beach' has also posted loads of good info in the following thread.

Knowing the Indian Train.

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I have added distances in the following thread to help get a general idea of the fares.

Train Information.

Take a look at the distance and fares of the Calcutta – New Jalpaiguri route and the Mumbai – Goa route, same distance but different prices.

Certain sections of Indian Railways add a surcharge to help recoup construction or running costs, these areas include the Konkan Railway (Panvel to Kankanadi (Mangalore)), most of the mountain railways (Kalka – Shimla, Siliguri to Darjeeling, Mettupalaiyam – Ooty, Pathankot – Joginder Nagar, Neral – Matheran), I am sure there is a section around Ambala (Haryana) that also has a surcharge, but I have no details about it.

The surcharge is added by multiplying the distance to be travelled, e.g.

Konkan Railway – Actual distance X 1.4 = chargeable distance.
Kangra Valley Railway - Actual distance X 1.5
Kalka – Shimla - Actual distance X 2 (FC), Actual distance X 3 (II)

There is a full list of all the extra charges for these sections in Royston Ellis’s ‘India by Train’, If anyone has this book and forwards me the details, I will add them to this post.

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As you will see from the fares tables, the further you travel, the cheaper the fare (per km.), examples of this follow. (Additional charges not included)

The Himsagar Express (train 6317) starts from Kanniyakumari at the southern tip of India, and arrives at Jammu Tawi 3 and a half days later, a ticket for the whole journey of 3750 km would cost: -

2A = Rs 2729 (Rs 73 per 100 km)
FC = Rs 2387 (Rs 64 per 100 km)
SL = Rs 601 (Rs 16 per 100 km)

A more likely journey from Delhi to Varanasi (distance 764 km) would cost: -

2A = Rs 1137 (Rs 149 per 100 km)
FC = Rs 829 (Rs 109 per 100 km)
SL = Rs 253 (Rs 33 per 100 km)

A journey of 200 km from Mumbai to Pune would cost: -

2A = Rs 430 (Rs 215 per 100 km)
FC = Rs 298 (Rs 149 per 100 km)
SL = Rs 91 (Rs 45 per 100 km)

There are two ways to take advantage of the cheap long distance fares: -

1... ‘Break of Journey’ rules. (B.O.J.)

A passenger holding a single journey ticket for any distance between 500 to 1000km is allowed to break the journey once after covering a distance of 500km from the starting station.

A passenger holding a single journey ticket for a distance of over 1000 km is allowed to break the journey twice, the first break may be taken after covering a distance of 500 km from the starting station and the second break anytime thereafter.

Some rules to remember: -

1…A ‘break of journey’ can be at any station (after 500 km) on route, and can last for 2 days, not including day of arrival and day of departure, meaning you can have 3 nights stay.

2…Your ticket needs to be endorsed by the Station Manager/Ticket Collector at the station where you break your journey; the endorsement will consist of the Station Code, Station Manager's initials and the date.

3…Your ticket will be a single ticket from the starting station to your destination, but you need to make reservations for all parts of the journey at the same time as you purchase your ticket.

4…Break of journey tickets cannot be used on Rajdhani, Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi express trains.

5…Any stop to change trains at intermediate stations for less than 24 hours is not considered a break of journey (this can be really useful).

Looking at a particular route, e.g. - Calcutta – Varanasi – Agra – Delhi (1450 km) can show an example of the advantage of ‘break of journey’ rules. (Additional charges not included)

Single tickets in 2A = 1037 + 1026 + 430 = Rs 2493 (Rs 1676 using B.O.J. rules).

Single tickets in 3A = 648 + 641 + 256 = Rs 1545 (Rs 1048 using B.O.J. rules).

Single tickets in SL = 231 + 228 + 91 = Rs 550 (Rs 373 using B.O.J. rules).

Another route, Mumbai – Madgaon (Goa) – Ernakulam (Cochin) – Kanniyakumari. Chargeable distance = 1960 km.

Single tickets in 2A = 1165 + 1221 + 570 = Rs 2956 (Rs 2054 using B.O.J. rules).

Single tickets in 3A = 728 + 763 + 356 = Rs 1847 (Rs 1284 using B.O.J. rules).

Single tickets in SL = 259 + 272 + 127 = Rs 658 (Rs 457 using B.O.J. rules).

I have given details of how to book a ‘break of journey’ ticket on the following thread: -

Understanding Reservation Forms.

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2...Circular Journey Tickets (CJT)

A CJT is an extension of the Break Of Journey ticket, with no distance restrictions and more flexible time restrictions, making it the ultimate cheap ticket on Indian Railways.

You are allowed a maximum of 8 breaks of journey and the CJT’s validity is distance based.

You are allowed 3 days for every 400 km.
2000 km = 15 days,
4000 km = 30 days,
6000 km = 45 days,
And so on.

Although there are a number of standard set CJT’s issued by most regional train companies, most of them are unrealistic, Southern Railways are the exception.

You can come up with your own itinerary, breaking your journey at any station for as long as you want (though bear in mind the validity of the ticket).

Safety charge & Super fast charge (if applicable) need only be paid once; Reservation charge is extra for each reservation.

A couple of examples: -

Delhi, Bundi (507 km), Udaipur (249 km), Ajmer (for Pushkar)(304 km), Jodhpur (246 km), Jaisalmer (294 km), Jaipur (607 km), Agra (358 km), Delhi. (200 km).

Total distance = 2765 km = 20 days.

Cost is worked out as follows: -

Total distance is halved, then fare for that distance is doubled, it’s easier to understand if you think of it as a return ticket, then the normal additional charges are added.

Total distance is 2765 km, half of that is 1383 km, the cost for travelling in 2A for 1383 km is Rs1640, Rs1640 X 2 = Rs3280, add 1 X SF charge (if needed) Rs30, plus 1 X safety surcharge of Rs80, plus 9 X reservation fee of Rs25 (Rs225), so total cost of this CJT would be: -

2A = Rs 3615
3A = Rs 2365
SL = Rs 950

Another route, Chennai, Madurai, Varkala, Ernakulam, Udipi, Madgaon, Hospet (Hampi), Mysore, Chennai. (Chargeable distance 3503 km, Validity 26 days) The total cost would be: -

2A = Rs 4155
3A = Rs 2703
SL = Rs 1070

The real advantage of a CJT is when you’re travelling over long distances as the validity increases, the following CJT is an example of this, and just shows how bored I was at work today.

Delhi, New Jalpaiguri, Calcutta, Chennai, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Delhi. (Chargeable distance 9246 km, Validity 69 days) The total cost would be: -

2A = Rs 6683
3A = Rs 4207
SL = Rs 1566

The problem with CJT’s is booking them, you have to take your itinerary to the station master, he will go through it and decide if a CJT can be issued, he will most likely not give his decision till the next day, you then go and buy your CJT then go and make the reservations, If your lucky the whole process could take only a couple of hours, but 4 hours is more likely.

A few rules to remember: -

If the class of accommodation you have paid for is not available on a particular train, you have to travel in a lower class or pay the difference to travel in a higher class (if available).

You do not have to travel 500 km before the first break of journey.

You can’t go over the same route twice, unless there is no alternative.

You have to start and finish your trip from the same City. *

There are other rules, to many to mention, if you want to use one of these tickets, reply to this thread with your Itinerary and I’ll work out if it will be allowed.

I think 'actual distances' rather than 'chargeable distances' are used for BOJ tickets and CJT’s.

*Although the rules say that you must start and finish your trip from the same City, nobody will force you to use the last leg of your ticket, although this would mean paying for an additional journey. The additional cost would be small (% wise) and you would get the added bonus of the whole ticket being valid for a longer period.

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Senior Citizens

Men & Women aged 60 and above get a 30% reduction in basic fare on all Mail/Express & Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains; I believe this is the only concession extended to foreigners.


Children below the age of 5 can travel free (but their name and age still have to be added to the reservation form), children aged 5 – 11 travel at half the adult fare (paying the full reservation charge), 12 years and above pay full adult fares.

If your child is below 5, it may be a good idea to carry something that would prove their age.

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One little tip; -

If you want to travel a small distance, just buy a second class unreserved ticket, then go and sit in Sleeper Class, you can pay the extra on the train, if Sleeper Class is full you can stand or sit on the floor, but if Sleeper Class is full, you can be sure unreserved second class is even worse.

This works particularly well on sections where many long distance trains are coming to the end of their journey, a good example would be Agra to Delhi, there are long distance trains passing through Agra every couple of hours, lots of people are getting off the train at Agra leaving empty seats for the final leg to Delhi.

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The following links are just to show what a difficult job a booking clerk has in India, the list is just amazing.

Concessions: - 1 2 3

Additional charges.

The table below shows most of the additional charges that are added to the basic fare to give the final ticket price.

M/E = Mail or Express train. (All the trains in ‘Trains at a Glance’ or on the Indian Railways website are Mail or Express or Superfast trains).

Ordy = Ordinary passenger train (not mail or express).

Minimum distance/fare – Tickets will not be issued for less than these distances or fares, however, a lot of the local railway companies have additional distance restrictions on certain long distance trains, If your travelling less than 200 km from the originating station, chances are you will not be given a ticket for a long distance train.

Reservation charge – to be levied on every reservation made, however, Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains have the reservation charge included in their fares.

Supplementary charge = Super Fast (SF) charge , - SF charge is added to all trains that average more than 55 km per hour over the whole of their journey, (any Mail or Express train whose train number begins with a 2), however, Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains have the SF charge included in their fares.

Safety surcharge – to be levied on every ticket (including Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains), though the cost will not be shown on the ticket (the reservation and SF charges are), Actual distance rather than chargeable distance is used to work out if your journey is above 500 km.

Understanding Reservation Forms.

Train information.
Attached Images
extra-charges +.jpg 
Last edited by steven_ber; Oct 28th, 2004 at 00:26..
#2 Jun 1st, 2004, 11:15
Join Date:
Jul 2002
Umeĺ , Sweden
  • vistet is offline

Re: Train fares.

Originally posted by steven_ber
I must confess; my knowledge of Indian Railway rules is not great...
Modesty is one of the signs of a true guru.

A nice touch would be to add some photos of the different classes, coaches etc.
I´m sure the photos are out there already among the ´mikers ; the way I remember it bijapuri had a nice previous shot in his profile, for example.

Edit :
of course it was already there : "detailed information.. including photos" link. Posting pre-morning coffee syndrome.
#3 Jun 1st, 2004, 11:26
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  • guerik is offline
If that's not a great knowledge, I don't know what is
Thanks for sharing it with us, I found out a few ways to save some extra rupees there! Beer's on me if we're ever in the same town (or train).
#4 Jun 1st, 2004, 12:11
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  • steven_ber is offline
Thanks for the kind comments.

A nice touch would be to add some photos of the different classes, coaches etc.
I had planned to take photos of all the different classes of accommodation on my last trip; however, the fun only begins in India when you ignore your plans.

I actually started this thread about 6 months ago, I knew that when I posted the thread I would get questions about the rules, and believe me, there are many more rules than I have posted (but most wouldn't concern tourists), I spent 2 months sending e-mails, joining Indian Railways forums, sending various questions, I eventually give up, I just couldn't get answers (it took 4 e-mails to get a straight yes or no to the question "is the safety surcharge included in the Rajdhani fares"?)

There must be a rulebook out there somewhere; I'd love to see it.

Beer's on me if we're ever in the same town (or train).
Beer, well actually Johnny Walker, Tequila, plastic cups, a couple of Indian soldiers, and a late night journey through Bihar on a warm night in a FC compartment, the memories come flooding back.
Last edited by steven_ber; Jun 2nd, 2004 at 23:41..
#5 Jun 2nd, 2004, 12:04
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  • guerik is offline
I think I can even stretch to IMFL for this thread!
I'll probably keep my shirt on, though
#6 Jun 2nd, 2004, 13:18
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  • tstan is offline
Great work on the travel info Steven - a great aid to help new travellers to fight their way through the maze.

With Shimla's help, you might be able to bring some pressure to bear on the new Indian government to extend a tunnel from Assam to Chiang Mai!
#7 Aug 16th, 2004, 09:41
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Sydney, Australia
  • jarman_ah is offline
Hi, steven!

My itinerary always seems to be changing -- now that the cheap Deccan Air fares have been added to the mix, I think our most time-efficient way of organising our first series of train journeys is to fly to Delhi and start there. With this is mind, I have the following itinerary, which I thought might be suitable for your "Circular Ticket" information, so I'm taking you up on your offer (above) to peruse and give an opinion (I confess the whole process seems unbelievably complicated, and without your help I think I'd have to give up the idea of the CJT):

Day 1: Train Delhi - Agra (train no 2430). Night Agra.

Day 2: Train Agra Fort - Jodhpur (overnight) (train no 2307).

Day 3: Arrive Jodhpur 1015. (No further travel this day).

Day 4: Leave Jodhpur 0600. Train 4054 to Jaisalmer (arrive 1155).

Day 5: No train travel

Day 6: Jaisalmer - Jaipur overnight (Train 4060)

Day 7: Arrive Jaipur 0520. No further travel that day.

Day 8: Jaipur (leave 1620) - Delhi (arrive 2112) train 2414.

A few points:

(1) On overnight trains we'll try for Class 2A; in at least one case (Jaisalmer-Jaipur) I think that 3A is as good as it gets.

(2) At age 62 and retired, I think I qualify for a Seniors Discount, but I don't know if that can be combined with the rates for Circular Tickets.

(3) Does this circular ticket count as ONE ticket for the purposes of booking under the limit of under 4 per month (if this rule still applies)... if not, then I guess I "bust" my limit just with this eight-day itinerary!

(4) We are talking two people here. My HOPE with these tickets is we can order them by internet and pick them up at Delhi Reservations Centre about an hour before the first train departs. If this isn't possible we will have one free day in Mumbai prior to this so I guess we can have the tickets couriered to their Mumbai collection centre (I have the address) or to our hotel (which is likely to be the YMCA opposite the station).

Thanks so much for helping (yet again!)

#8 Aug 16th, 2004, 11:10
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  • joki is offline
Thanks so much for helping steven_ber.
Great job!!!
#9 Aug 16th, 2004, 15:17
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  • steven_ber is offline
jarman_ah, forget about a CJT ticket, they cant be booked from abroad or over the internet, looking at your journeys, a CJT wouldn't be worth the agrivation of booking it.

A single on the Shatabdi to Agra (Booked over the Internet), then a 'Break of journey' ticket (BOJ) from Agra Fort to Jaisalmer, reservation upto Jodhpur for the first part of the ticket, then the second part to Jaisalmer.

A BOJ ticket could also be used from Jaisalmer to Delhi, reservation upto Jaipur on the first part of the ticket, then to Delhi on the second.

BTW, 3A is almost as good as 2A, and certainly better value for money, you should consider getting both BOJ tickets in 3A.

BOJ tickets cannot be booked from abroad or over the internet, you would need to book them as soon as you arrived in Delhi, though it could be close with 2307.
#10 Aug 16th, 2004, 15:30
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Nashik, INDIA
  • SHIMLA is offline
Originally Posted by steven_ber BTW, 3A is almost as good as 2A, and certainly better value for money, you should consider getting both BOJ tickets in 3A.
3A is better than 2A if you get the side berths(SL/SU), as you then pay less for almost the same comfort as 2A. The only thing lacking is the curtain !
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#11 Aug 16th, 2004, 17:59
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  • mahmud is offline

What a post

What a post. Off course, It will help me in my ensuing visit in India. Thanks
#12 Aug 17th, 2004, 04:54
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  • jarman_ah is offline
Hi, Steven!

Thanks for that advice. I will read up on the rules for Break of Journey tickets.
Possibly I could organise these at Mumbai Central Station on the Monday, before catching the afternoon Air Deccan flight to Delhi (I agree with you that the time is a little tight!)

I will also study the 3A vs 2A distinction. I guess this comes down to what is available... if I am going to wait until the day before to book tickets, I may well have to take whatever is left!

I very much appreciate your help in all of this... frankly, I feel very sorry for the people who are currently planning a trip to India and who HAVEN'T discovered this forum and your many useful posts. You have made all the difference.

#13 Aug 17th, 2004, 05:31
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  • jarman_ah is offline
Hi, again, Steven and Shimla!

Just an addendum to my reply above -- it just occurred to me after I pressed "send":

I arrive Mumbai Sunday Oct 17 at 1600 -- no time that day to do any train organising, as the office will be closed. I thought I'd spend the night at the YMCA, as it's cheap and close to the station for morning organising. I have a good half-day on Monday 18th do do this, as our Deccan flight to Delhi doesn't leave until 1600.

Now, the plan is to front up at Mumbai Reservations on the Monday morning, having booked (as you advised) to Delhi-Agra ticket for that same evening (train 2430, which runs from Delhi at around 8 p.m. and arrives in Agra about 10 p.m... hope Deccan runs on time!) I will then ask them to arrange Break of Journey tickets BASED ON THIS FIRST NET-BOOKED TICKET... I will want Agra-Jodhpur on train 2307 and Jodhpur-Jaisalmer on 4054. (I will also ask them for BOJ tickets for the return -- trains 4060 Jaisalmer - Jaipur and 2414 Jaipur-Delhi). Now, will they refuse to do this on account of any one of the following:

(a) The net-booked ticket isn't actually in my hand, as it has to be picked up in Delhi;

(b) You can't organise ongoing BOJ tickets in Mumbai if the ticket actually starts in Delhi -- you have to go to Delhi to do that

(c) This is India, and nothing ever goes smoothly and logically

(d) Special restrictions apply during Dussehra

(e) Some other reason that I haven't thought of yet.

As you can see, I don't want to arrive there with perfect plans in hand and then watch in horror as everything comes undone! Just as a matter of interest, are places on trains harder to get around October 20 - 24 because of Dussehra and increased population movement?

Many thanks --

#14 Aug 17th, 2004, 07:30
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Nashik, INDIA
  • SHIMLA is offline
Hi Alan!

1. You can book BOJ tickets at Mumbai even if the first ticket is not with you at the time of booking the BOJ.

2. Instead of collecting your first net booked ticket physically at Delhi, you may have it delivered at YMCA, Mumbai.

3. The Dussehra period( 10 days leading up to it) is a busy period only in West Bengal, as the Durga Puja is their most important festival. You will not have problems travelling by train in the rest of the country. In fact Dussehra time is examination time for the schools and colleges in the Western part of the country and if I'm not wrong, in the Northern too.
#15 Aug 17th, 2004, 14:29
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  • steven_ber is offline

No need for this reply as SHIMLA has already answered, I couldn't resist it though: -

(a) no

(b) no

(c) "This is India, and nothing ever goes smoothly and logically", too true..

(d) no

(e) Go back to reply c.

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