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India Train Travel Tips {Indian Railways}

India Train Travel Tips
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India Train Travel Tips
Post Last Modified – November 24, 2023 ¦

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India Train Travel Tips For First Timer’s

A few seasons ago, my son and I ventured to India on 7 week journey, visiting a number of States in the Country. We did take the 🚂 train on a number of occasions and to say the least, it was quite the experience.

One cannot fully experience India without riding the world’s largest railway system 🚃 Indian Railways. It is an experience like no other!
As a result, I thought I would pass on a few …

🪷 India Train Travel Tips 🪷

and suggestions, to help make your train travels in India, just a little easier and more enjoyable.

Traveling By Train In India – The New Delhi Train Station

New Delhi Train Station

Our first experience riding the rails in India was departing from the 🚃 New Delhi train station, making an overnight journey to Varanasi on the;

Swatantrta S Exp  12562  New Delhi → Varanasi  20:35 — 08:30

Words simply cannot describe what you will experience at this 🚏 train station. It’s literally like being caught in a stampede of 🐄 cattle! 

Imagine being stuck in a crowded elevator with nowhere to escape, it is that busy!

Check out my short 20 second 📹 video that my son captured while we were trying to make our way onto the train. This will give you an idea of just how busy this station can get.

India Train Station – YouTube Video


The train platforms are chaotic, with hundreds of people getting off the trains and at the same time, hundreds trying to get on them. 

Take care of your 💎 valuables and keep a close 👀 eye on your traveling companions!

6 Tips For Traveling By Train With Indian Railways

New Delhi India Train Station

Trains Are Frequently Delayed

Tips For Train Travel In India # 1

Train Travel in India

Trains in India a notoriously late, so bring your patience along with you and be prepared to wait for hours at times. For example, our train from; New Delhi to Varanasi left the station 3 hours late to start.

🚂 Trains stop on the tracks frequently, while waiting for other trains using the tracks. This can get extremely annoying after hours on end.

Streets Of Varanasi India

Our train ride arrived 7 hours late into Varanasi! 

Instead of arriving at 08:30 in the morning, we didn’t arrive until 3:30 in the afternoon, which unfortunately wasted almost the entire next day. 🙁

Confirm Your Train With The Station Master

India Train Travel Tips # 2

Do not expect your train to be displayed on the 📋 boards at most train stations. On a few occasions our train was not listed at all, when we arrived for departure. 

As well, in smaller towns and cities, the boards are not displayed in English. At one train station, we asked 2 attendants for information about our train departure platform number, and both gave us a different answer.

I finally walked back to the main station which was quite a distance from the platform we were on, to find the 👮 Station Managers Office. When I got there, he looked at my reservation and said; your train is arriving in 5 minutes and on a completely different platform!

The moral of the story is; when in doubt, go to the train masters office and ask. Always expect the unexpected when traveling by train in India. 🙂

👣 Footnote 👣

🍁 Experience A Train Vacation In Canada! 🍁

For more detailed information on this luxury rail service, be sure to visit the 🍁 Canada Rail Vacations 🍁 website, I’ve listed below for your convenience.

 Canada Rail Vacations

🛤 Discover & Explore Canada By Train! 🛤

From their website, you can view all their wonderful; rail packages, rates and much more. Be sure to download their {colorful brochure} and sign up for their 📬 email newsletter for current news and promotions!

Don’t Get Scammed By Food Vendors

India Train Travel Tips # 3

Beware of non-railway employees coming on the trains at various stops, selling food. 

On our first trip from Delhi to Varanasi and without having any previous train experience in India, at about 6 am at a stop, a fellow who I presumed was a train employee came around with breakfast.

It was still dark, people were still sleeping and I simply gave him a large bill. I thought this was breakfast being served in the morning by the train attendants on board. The fellow took my money, looked at me cautiously and then gave me a small amount of change back. He then walked out of the car quickly! 

As it turned out, he ripped me off big time. A lesson well learned for our other train travels ahead.

Helpful Tips Banner

Always ask how much first, before you hand over your 💵 rupees to anyone. Or at the very least, hand over a small amount of money and make them tell you it’s not enough.

Actual train food is very cheap and real train employees come around regularly taking your order. They also offer various food items for sale during the journey. On one trip, we were lucky enough to be on a train with an actual kitchen and the food was excellent!

India Train Reservations

India Train Travel Tips # 4

India Train Travel

Making advance train reservations are a must, to avoid disappointment and to save time along with added stress. 

Without going into great detail, I have listed a valuable and very reputable website below, showing everything there is to know about train travel in India. From step by step guides on how to register with {India Railways} in order to reserve train tickets in advance, the different classes of service and so much more. 

I even 📧 emailed the author a few times and he was always very helpful and quick to respond.  I have listed the ⛓ link to his website below for your convenience.

A Very Helpful India Train Travel Website

For the most detailed and helpful information on train travel in India and many other destinations, be sure to visit the official website for the Man in Seat Sixty-One.

I used this website extensively prior to our travels to India.

👩   The Man in Seat Sixty-One  


We made all our train reservations using {} and even booked a domestic airline ✈ flight with them as well, while in India. They are very reputable, easy to use and even have a downloadable 📱 app for your device.

You must be first set up your account with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation {IRCTC}, before you can register with; Cleartrip. It’s not a difficult process, just follow the instructions on the Seat61 website as I did.

“Reservations for most long distance trains open 120 days before departure.”

👣 Footnote 👣

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India Train Classes Of Service

India Train Travel Tips # 5

AC Executive Chair Class

India Train Travels

From what I learned, there are {8 different classes} of rail car services to choose from. Depending on the train and its destination, you may have a choice of; 1st Class all the way down to 2nd Class, which are open plan cars with wooden or padded plastic seats.

On all our journeys, this class is jammed packed with people and certainly not one that I would recommend for a tourist traveler.

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It was recommended to us by many seasoned travelers to book either; 2AC or 3AC class, especially for longer trips. 

These are 🧊 air conditioned cars with either 2 sleeping bunk levels or 3 sleeping bunk levels. They are very comfortable and well worth the little extra they may cost. Attendants will bring clean sheets, blankets and a pillow for each passenger.

Helpful Tips Banner

At night it can be quite cold from the air conditioning, so be sure to dress accordingly!

We did make one 5 hour trip in {AC Executive Chair Class}, which was very comfortable. It included; meals, non-alcoholic drinks (chai tea and water) and snacks.

👣 Footnote 👣

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A very reputable world renowned digital travel company I’ve used for many years now, when searching and booking attractions & more is … Viator by Tripadvisor.

🏝 Viator Homepage – Start Exploring! 🏝

India Train Travel Extras

India Train Travel Tips # 6

India Trains

I highly recommend bringing along snacks and something to drink with you. We were actually on one train for several hours and where our car was closed off from the rest of the cars. There were no attendants available to come by with food or beverages, for the entire journey.

Take some food and beverages with you on every trip, just in case!

A couple of other things worth mentioning are the 🚻 toilets and keeping your valuables safe. 

Bring 🧻 toilet paper with you and not just on train trips. I strongly suggest carrying some with you, wherever you go in India. Believe me it 🧻 (TP) was great to have many times when out and about.

Some trains had western toilets and others did not, depending on the age of the train, so be prepared to squat! 🙂

Depending on the class of service you choose, it was strongly recommended to bring along a; 🔒 cable lock for your backpack or luggage. This was never a problem for us in our selected classes, but we did 🔐 lock our packs under our seats, just to be safe.

Don’t ever leave your valuables unguarded at any time, on or off the trains!

Final Thoughts Banner

There you have it, just a few tips on taking the train in India.  It was an experience to say the least. A few trips were quite enjoyable and others were very frustrating, due to the many delays. Try to take the train at least once, for the experience!

We met a number of very friendly locals on the train, who passed on some excellent travel tips as well. 🙂

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Depending on your destination, distance to travel and so on, check out the ✈ airlines and 🚕 taxi fares as well. 

I took an air conditioned cab from {Kochi to Coimbatore} in southern India, which was at least 5 hours for under $30 american dollars, which was very cheap!

Domestic 🛫 flights with the major airlines throughout India are also very reasonable. We took 3 flights to different parts of India, saving an incredible amount of valuable time!

Air India Airplane

👣 Footnote 👣

❓ Searching for The Best Deals on Flights & More ❓

One very reputable website I have used for many years now for searching and booking flights is called; CheapOair.
If you’re looking for flights to/from any destination around the world and the best prices available, this is a great site to visit.

They will list all the airlines that do fly to your chosen destination, along with the best days to travel and prices on their scheduling calendar.

This online booking portal has been around for many years, offering not only flight bookings, but vacation packages, hotel and car rental deals as well.

💰 Roundtrip Flight Deals! 💰

Train travel in India like any form of travel, does come with risks associated. There have been some recent and devastating train crashes, resulting in serious injury and death in past years. There was one serious crash that occurred during our visit in the country.

The Prime Minister had announced that the declining rail system will be upgraded, which is long overdue in the country.

😎 Safe and Healthy Travels!

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Original Glutathione Supplement
One very important thing we do to maintain our overall health & wellness especially when traveling abroad, is by taking a daily Probiotic and also a health supplement we’ve been taking for years now. It is an {All Natural Glutathione Supplement}. One that absorbs at a Cellular Level.

If you are interested in learning more about {Glutathione} and its health benefits, be sure to check out my article here on …

🌺 Glutathione For Max Health 🌺

and my additional posts on this subject.

🛡 I Only Endorse Products/Services That Can Be Trusted & Verified & That I’ve Personally Used! 🛡

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All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of and are copyright protected. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫
It has been a few seasons since our last visit, so if you have any updated information to pass on, please do send me an …
email 📧 Contact Me 📧
and I will be sure to add it to this post. 🧐
✨   Did You Know …

“The Busiest Railway Station In India Is The Howrah Junction In Kolkata With Approximately 974 Trains Arriving Daily.”

Healthy Travel Lifestyle

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A Blogger Since 2012, Robert has a {Passion for Travel}, having worked in the industry for over 35 years. He enjoys sharing special moments & tips on; Travel, Health & Wellness, Book Reviews and much more!

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