IRTC Log In: Safety tips in the Indian train lines
Trying to stay safe shouldn’t be limited when riding a bus, taking a taxi or driving a car but also when riding a train. When it comes to riding an Indian train, safety should be your number one priority since the country is notorious for having jam-packed trains that eliminate personal space and privacy.
If you’re planning to ride the train when you visit India, IRTC Log In is here to give you a list of safety tips that you should follow to make sure you’ll have a smooth ride. When you follow these tips, you’ll know what to do when certain situations arise.
Keep in mind that trains in India are different from other countries, so remember the tips we’ve provided to have a hassle-free experience. According to research, it’s estimated that 23 million Indian people take the train every day and that the country has the second-largest rail network in the world. With that said, here are the tips you should remember when riding an Indian train:
Book ahead of time
The first thing you should do if you’re planning to ride the Indian train is to book your ticket in advance. Since the Indian railway is mostly for domestic travel, the demand for tickets is high. If visiting major cities and sights is a part of your trip, it’s ideal to book your tickets in advance since the tickets sell out immediately once available.
Keep in mind that ticket sales open 60 days before the day of departure. If this is the case, it’s better to buy the ticket within the first day of any route. Additionally, be extra cautious during the Yatra season, beginning in April and lasting throughout the summer as well as during festivals in Diwali. This is the time when the majority of the people travel to their loved ones to celebrate these occasions and make religious pilgrimages.
Use reputable sites to book tickets
One of the most efficient ways to book railway tickets is to use reputable sites that offer international travel bookings. Make sure to pick a site that supports credit cards and features an easy way to see routes, classes and schedules. Most of these sites will require you to register first before you can book a spot since you’ll be registering with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.
When you register, you’ll need your passport which will be sent to the department via email. After that, you’ll receive passports that will help you complete your registration. Once you have your account, it will be easy to book your trips and you won’t experience any hassle which a lot of travellers go through with other sites.
Decide which class to choose
Some trains offer different classes, allowing you to choose the one that suits your preferences. This can be confusing especially if this is the first time you encounter these options. In India, there are also trains that offer different classes to make sure passengers can choose their seats.
Keep in mind that classes in Indian trains can be confusing. To help you with this, refer to our list below to know more about each class:
Air-conditioned first class (1AC)
The first-class or 1AC is the most expensive accommodation you’ll find in Indian Railways. This is mostly available for long-distance train journeys since it can take days before a passenger can reach their destination. If you choose this class, expect to have a spacious and comfortable room equipped with air conditioning to help beat the heat. However, keep in mind that the 1AC only carries 18 to 24 passengers, so you have to book your tickets in advance if you want a spot in the first class.
When you choose this class, you’ll find the compartments have lockable doors, allowing you to store your belongings safely and securely. Additionally, there will also be four beds, stacked vertically against the wall. Electrical socket and reading light so you can charge your devices and read comfortably.
Air-conditioned 2-tier (2AC)
Like the first class, the 2AC is also preferred by upper-class travellers who’ll be going on long-distance journeys. Not much is different when it comes to this class only that the berths are arranged in two tiers in bays of six. Similar to the first class, the 2AC has a reading light, electric power sockets for each passenger. What makes this class attractive is that the berths can be pulled down and converted into seats anytime you want.
Air-conditioned 3-tier (3AC)
The 3AC, also known as the Three-Tier Air-Conditioned Class, is the cheapest air-conditioned room among the three AC rooms. If you want a bit of privacy but you’re on a budget, this is the perfect choice for you. For this type of room, the berths are arranged the same way as in 2AC. The only difference is that there are three tiers across the width. Typically, up to 64 passengers per coach can fit in here.
While there are no individual reading lights or doors for privacy, you still have bedding for overnight stays.
AC- Chair Class (CC)
If you’ll be going on a day journey, the AC- Chair Class or CC is the ideal choice for you. Equipped with air conditioning and reclining seats, a coach consists of five seats in a row. There are also common charging plugs—one plug per three passengers.
Sleeper Class (SC)
Compared to the previous types, the Sleeper Class or SC has no air conditioning and is equipped with lower, middle and upper berth seats. The middle beds are folded during the day to allow passengers to sit in the lower space.
The SC can carry approximately 72 passengers depending on the size of the cabin. No beddings are available in this class and it’s typically cheaper which results in overcrowding and noise.
2nd class (2S) unreserved seating
This type is the cheapest among all types of classes in Indian railways. You’ll most likely find wood or plastic seats that aren’t often cushioned. This is also the most crowded cabin in the whole train since there’s no reservation needed. Since there’s no reservation, you’ll find people sleeping anywhere possible which means that there’s not much space to move around.
Get a Foreign Tourist Quota ticket
While it’s good to have a Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ), it’s not ideal to rely on it since it’s not a guaranteed option to reach various destinations in India. You always have the chance to score a seat in fully booked trains when you search for those with FTQ tickets. Visit Indian Railways-related websites and determine whether FTQ tickets are available. These tickets are set aside for passengers who can pay for them in cash.
Once you’re on a particular website that offers FTQ tickets, you’ll have to wait for 5 minutes to a couple of hours to book a ticket.
Check nearby stations if the ticket for your route is sold out
If your destination is one of the major places in India, the tickets will most likely be sold out quickly compared to other places. If your destination happens to be sold out, you can consider the nearby stations since it’ll be easier to commute from there. With this, you can book a seat at a sold-out destination by paying for a cheaper or higher ticket in between your original destination.
Be prepared for delays
Delays for train schedules are normal and can happen anytime which is something that might affect your activities for the day. India’s railways are known for their sheer size. However, the downside is that it’s old and needs proper maintenance. That’s why a lot of problems arise from time to time.
If you’ll be riding the train in India, it’s better to allot time that will allow you to have a backup plan once your train’s schedule gets delayed. Additionally, make sure you bring snacks with you so you’re ready if ever your travel is delayed. Apart from that, bring coins with you at all times since restrooms in train stations often have fees.
Pay attention to your current location
While you’re on your way to your destination, make sure you know exactly where you are. Download the maps application on your phone so you can follow it as the train moves along the route. Since there are no announcements on Indian trains, you can ask the locals where you are. Don’t be afraid to make friends because they can help you with everything you need during your stay in India.
If your stop is during sleep hours, it can be challenging to know where you are and whether or not it’s time for you to exit the train. You can opt to set an alarm based on your calculations of the time of arrival.
Bring hand sanitiser and tissue
Regardless of whether you chose 1AC or 2S, you’ll still be riding a public transportation vehicle, which means that a lot of people have used it. To keep yourself safe, make sure you bring a hand sanitiser and tissue with you.