Indian Railways fare classes explained

With the launch of Cleartrip’s online railway bookings, one of our regular blog readers, Dhruv Chopra, suggested that we provide an overview and explanation of the various classes of travel available from the Indian Railways. We think it can get quite confusing for people not familiar with our railway system, so we’ll try to make it clear.

We drew up the table below for an at-a-glance comparison of the Indian Railways classes.

Code Class Name Description Berth/Seat Arrangements Tatkal Bedding
1A AC First Class Most expensive class, with fares that can be at par with airline fares in some cases. It has spacious, carpeted and lockable compartments with a washbasin. Showers and toilets are available at either end of the carriage. Sheets, pillows, blankets, and towels are provided. Berth and coach number are allocated only at the time of chart preparation. You cannot specify if you want accomodation in a 2 berth or 4 berth compartment when booking. Couples are usually given preference for 2-berth compartments, while families and passengers travelling alone are usually allocated berths in one of the 4-berth compartments but this cannot be guaranteed. 2-berth
4-berth
N Y
2A AC 2-Tier AC 2-tier is found on almost all long-distance trains and is slightly cheaper than AC First Class and around 25% more expensive than non-AC First Class (FC). Coaches are airconditioned with sleeping berths, curtains and individual reading lamps. Berths are arranged in cubicles of four (two upper, two lower) on one side of the aisle, and two above and below the windows on the other side of the aisle. Toilet facilities are available at either end of the carriage. Sheets, pillows and blankets are provided in the evenings. 2-berth
4-berth
Y Y
3A AC 3-Tier Slightly cheaper than First Class, AC 3-tier is similar to AC 2-tier, but it is more crowded than AC 2-tier, and it lacks the privacy curtains and individual reading lamps found in AC 2-tier. It has three tiers of bunks—upper, middle and lower—arranged in bays of six on one side of the aisle, and bays of two (side-upper and side-lower) on the other side of the aisle. During the day, the middle beds must be folded down flat against the compartment walls to allow passengers to sit on the lower beds. Toilet facilities are available at either end of the carriage. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided in the evening. 2-berth
6-berth
Y Y
FC First Class This is the way the Raj traveled, First Class has mostly been phased out in favor of Air Conditioned carriages. The fare is generally three times the Sleeper (SL) fare. It offers non-AC coaches with lockable 4-berth (two up & two down) and 2-berth (one up & one down) compartments. Bedding is not included in the fare, but may be available for a small extra charge if booked in advance. Showers and toilets are available at either end of the carriage. 2-berth
4-berth
N Extra
CC AC Chair Car Generally three times more expensive than Second Sitting (2S), the AC Chair Class is normally found on daytime shuttle or ‘intercity’ trains (for example Mumbai-Pune, Delhi-Agra). There are a total of five seats in a row, three on one side and two on the other side of aisle. Only sitting room is provided, with no standees allowed. 2-seat
3-seat
Y N
SL Sleeper Arguably the most popular class of travel, Sleeper has three tiers of bunks—upper, middle and lower—arranged in bays of six on one side of the aisle, and bays of two (side-upper and side-lower) on the other side of the aisle. During the day, the middle beds must be folded down flat against the compartment walls to allow passengers to sit on the lower beds. Toilet facilities are available at either end of the carriage. Bedding is not provided. 2-berth
6-berth
Y N
2S Second Sitting The cheapest class of travel on the Indian Railways, Second Sitting has ordinary coaches which have seating arrangement on cushioned seats in two rows of 3 seats each. N N

25 Responses