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Monday, 6 February 2012

Indian Railway - Train types, Class, PNR Status enquiry or ticket status and booking

Indian Railways

In India if your want to travel economical and comfortably than trains can be one of the best ways to travel. Looking out for luxury than also you find it in selective classes and than there are the most luxurious ones.

Indian Railways are the largest rail network in Asia and the world's second largest under one management. Criss-crossing the country's vast geographical spread, Indian Railways are a multi-gauge, multi-traction system covering over 1 lakh track kilometres,300 yards, 2300 goodsheds and 700 repair shops. Its rolling stock fleet includes 8300 locomotives, 39,000 coaching vehicles and 3.5 lakh freight wagons. Its work force is 1.65 million and it runs some 11,000 trains everyday, including 7,000 passenger trains.Freight traffic on Indian Railways has registered an impressive growth in the last four decades. Increase in the last few years have been particularly striking. 

Types of passenger services

Trains are classified by their average speed. A faster train has fewer stops ("halts") than a slower one and usually caters to long-distance travel.
Rank Train Description
1 Duronto Express These are the non-stop point to point rail services (except for operational stops) introduced for the first time in 2009 . These trains connect the metros and major state capitals of India and are faster than Rajdhani Express.These trains are now of the Highest Priority to the Indian Railways. The Duronto services consists of classes of accommodation namely first AC, two-tier AC, three-tier AC, AC 3 Tier Economy, Sleeper Class, General Class.
2 Rajdhani Express These are all air-conditioned trains linking major cities to New Delhi. The Rajdhanis have high priority and are one of the fastest trains in India, travelling at about 130 km/h (82 mph). There are only a few stops on a Rajdhani route.
3 Shatabdi Express The Shatabdi trains are AC intercity seater-type trains for travel during day.
4 Garib Rath Fully air conditioned trains, designed for those who cannot afford to travel in the expensive Shatabti and Rajdhani Express. Garib Rath means "Chariot of the Poor". The maximum speed is 130 km/h.
5 Jan Shatabdi Jan Shatabdi Express are a more affordable variety of the Shatabdi Express, which has both AC and non-AC classes. The maximum speed is 130 km/h.
6 Superfast/Mail These are trains that have an average speed greater than 55 km/h (34 mph). Tickets for these trains have an additional super-fast surcharge.
7 Express These are the most common kind of trains in India. They have more stops than their super-fast counterparts, but they stop only at relatively important intermediate stations.
8 Passenger and Fast Passenger These are slow trains that stop at most stations along the route and are the cheapest trains. The trains generally have unreserved seating accommodation but some night trains have sleeper, First Class and 3A compartments.
9 Suburban trains These trains operate in urban areas, usually stop at all stations and have unreserved seating accommodation.

  Normally, Passenger can travel on reservation in following Classes in the above trains:
Class Description
1A The First class AC: This is the most expensive class, where the fares are on par with airlines. There are eight cabins (including two coupes) in the full AC First Class coach and three cabins (including one coupe) in the half AC First Class coach. The coach has an attendant, to help the passengers. Bedding is included with the fare in IR. This air conditioned coach is present only on popular routes between metropolitan cities and can carry 18 passengers (full coach) or 10 passengers (half coach). The sleeper berths are extremely wide and spacious. The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation and have privacy features like personal coupes. Passengers are served exclusive pantry cooked food (included in the fare in Rajdhani Express trains only). This class is available on broad gauge and meter gauge trains.
2A AC-Two tier: These air-conditioned coaches have sleeping berths across eight partitions (with curtains). Each partition has either four or two berths. Berths are usually arranged in two tiers in bays of six, four across the width of the coach then the gangway then two berths longways, with curtains provided to give some privacy from those walking up and down. Bedding is included with the fare. Passengers are served food. A broad gauge coach can carry 48 passengers (full coach) or 20 passengers (half coach). This class is available on broad gauge and meter gauge trains.
FC First class: Same as 1AC, without the air conditioning. No bedding is available in this class. The berths are wide and spacious. There is a coach attendant to help the passengers. This class is not very common. This class is available on all gauges.
3A AC three tier: Air conditioned coaches with 64 sleeping berths. Berths are usually arranged as in 2AC but with three tiers across the width and two longways as before giving eight bays of eight. They are slightly less well-appointed, usually no reading lights or curtained off gangways. Bedding is included with fare. It carries 64 passengers in broad gauge. This class is available only on broad gauge.
3E AC three tier (Economy): Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, present in Garib Rath Trains. Berths are usually arranged as in 3AC but with three tiers across the width and three longways. They are slightly less well-appointed, usually no reading lights or curtained off gangways. Bedding is not included with fare.
CC AC chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of five seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
EC Executive class chair car: An air-conditioned coach with large spacious seats and legroom. It has a total of four seats in a row used for day travel between cities. This class of travel is only available on Shatabdi Express trains.
SL Sleeper class: The sleeper class is the most common coach on IR, and usually ten or more coaches could be attached. These are regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically stacked. In broad gauge, it carries 72 passengers per coach. Railways have modified certain Sleeper Coaches on popular trains to accommodate 81 passengers in place of regular 72 passengers. This has met with criticism from the travelers and are now being reverted to 72 sleepers.
2S Seater class: same as AC Chair car, but with bench style seats and without the air-conditioning.
UR Unreserved: The cheapest accommodation, the seats usually made up of pressed wood, but the cushioned seats have been rapidly replaced. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. Tickets are issued in advance for a minimum journey of more than 24 hours. Tickets issued are valid on any train on the same route if boarded within 24 hours of buying the ticket. These coaches are usually very crowded.

 Railway / Train Reservation
For traveling through trains, passengers can either book tickets through the counters at Railway Station or Special Railway Reservation Counter located in various locations. Booking of train tickets can also be  done by logging on to website .  
Bookings in most of the cases has to be done well in advance, mostly booking of tickets opens 3 months before actual date of journey.  And on most of the popular routes the bookings are full within short time of its opening. Ticket booked after that are put on waiting list and are confirmed as and if the reserved tickets are cancelled or if the authorities decide to add more boggies to the train.

Waiting list tickets entitles passenger to get on the train but cannot demand a berth (if the waiting list Ticket is not confirmed before the time of Journey). If there are any vacant berths available, TC may accomodate the passenger on it. 

Tatkal Reservation:
Booking through Tatkal service if for passenger who want to travel at short notice. Tatkal booking opens One day before date of journey. And carries additional tatkal fare. As in normal reservation, Tatkal has also Waiting Tatkal tickets, But if such ticket is not confirmed the passenger is not entitled to board the train.

Ticket Status - PNR and Train detail 
As soon as the Tickets are booked, Confirmed or on Waiting List, A PNR is issued to the Passenger. A passenger name record (PNR) is nothing but a record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together. This PNR is mentioned on the tickets and if tickets are booked online it will be sent to you by email or SMS. 

Enquiry, Train and booking status
After booking train ticket Confirmed or on Waiting  List, PNR is most important thing which will help you with your travel through train. First of all if your Ticket is on waiting list either booked through normal reservation or Tatkal it will be confirmed as and when cancellation of confirmed tickets take place. Now to know whether your ticket is confirmed or not, you need to check the status using your PNR, It can be checked online, Click here or by calling 139 from any phone in India. 
Even if you have a confirmed ticket, its a good idea to check your ticket status 1-2 hours before the departure of the train from originating station. (not before your time of journey), because some times, authorities re-allot or change the berth numbers also you get to know about your boggy number and what would be its position from the Engine. 

For more information: - For detail about Trains, Schedule, Availablility - For Train Reservation / Booking

To Check PNR Status, Click here  or Call '139'

Also in Some place which have multiple platforms, mostly before 15-30 minutes before the arrival of the train, the Platform Number will be announced or displayed on the sign boards on which the train is bound to halt.

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