what class where?
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what class where?

Traveling to india for the first time in march with two mates,and looks like we'll be traveling all over the place by train.

There's gona be a whole range of journeys, as short as Dehli to Agra, and possibly as far as Goa to Delhi.

I've been tryin to do my research on the costs and conditions of different classes but haven't had much luck. Ive heard first/the highest class train travel can be anything from 2 bunks and a fan, to your own carraige with a candle-lit, three-course dinner (or thereabouts). I also heard the lowest classes are no-gos, but we'd be willing to travel wherever however, aslong as we get there.

So yeah, any reccomendations for short distance journeys, night trains, info on costs, conditions or any links to this kind of info would be much appreciated. cheers :)

8 Replies

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Indiamike has a whole article on trains - all the different classes, with pictures. I've gone 20,000 km by train in India, and it's the best intro. I've seen to the subject - check it out. :)

As for the lowest class, you needn't worry about that. It's actually rather uncommon these days. I prefer 2nd class non-A/C (i.e., fans), either sleeper or chair car, depending on the length of the trip. Others like fully A/C sleepers. The opinions of dozens of people are to be found in the relevent threads.

Which class you guys should choose depends entirely on what your budget is and what your comfort needs are. I like to rough it, myself, but India is tough on some people, and I'm not an opponent of splashing out for comfort if it's what you need to get you through the day, and you can afford it. Whatever money you spend, after all, keeps someone employed.;) Also, the Indian Railways don't really turn a profit, at least not with their passenger service. The fares are quite reasonable, and the higher fare you pay for the expensive class helps subsidize the lower classes used by the masses. So it's all good.

The Delhi-Goa run is a long, long, long ride. Might want to be aware of that and plan accordingly. I'd do it 2nd class, just to soak up more of the atmosphere of the country, but other people would scream and have a fit unless they had 1st class, fully A/C Rajdhani class the whole way.

Another thing to ask yourself: Are the connecting journeys part of your trip, or just connections to be undertaken with maximum speed and minimum fuss? Your answer to that, again, helps you decide which class to choose.
| Visionary

Originally posted by: indiaprof View Post


Also, the Indian Railways don't really turn a profit, at least not with their passenger service.

Good Day Professor, Indian Railway does make a hefty profit. Read this, http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/bud...H-ENG-0809.PDF

They made a cash profit of Rs 25,000 crore in FY 08 - 09 which is massive in any language. But you are right in it that most of it is contributed by the freight.
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Yeah, I didn't say it wasn't profitable. :D

The freight industry has boomed with India's industrialization. And even though trucks carry a lot of freight, they're not very efficient compared with the trains because India essentially has no highways. For many years, though, before the economic surge, it was touch-and-go, with heavy state support. They sure don't plough that freight profit into the expansion of the passenger service, though. I think much of it is absorbed just maintaining the whole monstrous system. It's one of the largest employers in the world, after all. In fact, it's practically a world unto itself. I suppose it makes sense, though: look after the rails and bridges first, worry about the railway cars second.

If you took the Indian Railways out of India and put it down on its own island somewhere it could be a small country.
| Visionary
Oh absolutely, they do such a good job. I think they do put money to improve passenger amenities, but because they are starting from so far back, it just doesn't show.

Things weren't always this good and it wasn't long ago that the IR accounts had red ink all over it.

Even then, i don't think they are doing a very good job. I recently read that some of the projects taken up by the Railways have had major cost and time over runs. So you can imagine how much better they could do if the management were more astute.
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Yes, there have been occasional "flurries of activity" because some neta from the Centre or some CM made a stink. They clean up the cars, may be add some new ones, paint them blue, etc. (Remember when they were all ochre? I think I liked that better... a little more honest.) But when you're not going to do basic things like fill the water tank for the loo when the train reaches its destination... well. Enough said.

I think part of the problem with the management of the Railways is that these posts are not seen as posts in a public corporation, but as a sinecure in a basically colonial institution. The Railways are conceived not as a profit-making entity, but as part of the state infrastructure, to carry on indefinitely whether profitable or not. And there's no choice, of course, because the country would fall apart without its trains. How they manage to sort out 11,000 plus trains a day, though, seems borderline miraculous.
| A-sitting-on-a-gate
Indiaprof, asking people on their first visit to India to go 2nd class from Goa to Delhi in March is almost akin to murder! :)
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haha i'll bare that in mind dipydoo.
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Originally posted by: dipydoo View Post

Indiaprof, asking people on their first visit to India to go 2nd class from Goa to Delhi in March is almost akin to murder! :)

One of my first journeys on Indian Railways - a long time ago - was an overnight Nagpur to Mumbai 2nd class sleeper trip. Unfortunately it was during a major anniversary for the Ambedkar dalit/Buddhist movement with a mass rally planned in Mumbai. So a thousand or so people just got on the train without reservations and refused to leave. Seem to recall that the journey took 16 hours and that there were around 200 people in our 72-berth 3-tier sleeping coach [shock]. Nice friendly people though who kindly let my wife and me share an upper berth all by ourselves while almost everyone else was forced to sit up all night. An interesting introduction to travel in India ...:)

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