Indian Railways coaching stock

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Indian Railways run a number of different types of coaches, with different patterns of seating or berths, depending on the class of travel.

Accommodation Types[edit]

The following class-accommodation combinations have been created for the system.

  • I AC. Berths for night and seats for day. Both berths and seats are considered identical with respect to fare and accommodations.
  • AC 2 -tier sleeper. Berths for night and seats for day are considered identical with respect to fare. The extent of accommodation for night journey and day journey (that is, sitting and sleeping accommodation) generally remains the same.
  • I Class. Berths and seats are considered identical with respect to fare but during the day, number of seats are greater than the number of berths during the night.
  • Executive Chair Car
  • AC 3-Tier
  • AC chair car
  • Sleeper class berths
  • II Class sitting (Day coaches )
  • General Coaches
  • AC 3-tier Economy (3E)

On 1 October 2009 a new class was introduced: Third AC Economy (3E). The class is designated for the coaches, which have an additional berth in the side section (SM type - Side Middle). This type of accommodation is created for less well off people, who wish to travel in AC 3-tier for a lesser price.


The following table lists the classes in operation. Not all classes may be attached to a rake though.

Class[1] Description[1][2]
1A The First class AC: This is the most expensive class, where the fares are on par with airlines. 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 in ICF coaches whereas accommodates 24 passengers in LHB coach (present in some Rajdhanis, Durontos and AC Expresses). The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation and have privacy features like personal coupes.
2A AC-Two tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, ample leg room, curtains and individual reading lamps. 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. A broad gauge coach can carry 46 passengers in case of ICF coach whereas 52 in the new LHB coaches.
FC First class: Same as 1AC, without the air conditioning. This class was a Non-AC 2 tier sleeper with 26 berths(3 Coupes of 2 berths and 5 cabins of 4 berths)-The advent of 3A/Ac--three tier class less expensive than the First class rendered lesser patronage to this first Class which initiated complete stop in manufacturing of new coaches of this class-this class is present in very few Express today
3A AC three tier: Air conditioned coaches with 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,but recently the trend has been to furnish the 3A coaches better. . Bedding is included with fare. It carries 64 passengers in broad gauge in the old Integral Coach Factory rakes and 72 in the new LHB coach rakes manufactured by Rail Coach Factory owing to longer coaches
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 usually excluded from fare and is available with a payment of Rs.25\- per passenger.
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 seater coach with a total of four seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
SL Sleeper class: The sleeper class is the most common coach, and usually ten or more coaches could be attached.It is also known as second class. These are regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically stacked. In broad gauge, it carries 72 passengers per coach in regular ICF coaches and 78 berths in the new LHB coaches manufactured(Present in Durontos at present)
2S Seater class: same as AC Chair car, but with bench style seats and without the air-conditioning.108 seats per coach and not very comfortable-suitable for short travels
UR/GEN Unreserved: The cheapest accommodation, with seats made of pressed wood and are cushioned nowadays. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. 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.

Classification of berths[edit]

Berths are classified as follows:

  • LB = Lower Berth
  • MB = Middle Berth
  • UB = Upper Berth
  • SU = Side Upper
  • SL = Side Lower Berth
  • SMB = Side Middle Berth(Found in Garib Rath)

This is for the Broad Gauge (BG) trains, Metre Gauge (MG) would not have the side berths (SLB & SUB).

Indian Rail is mostly BG and MG is almost phased out, with the few remaining ones undergoing BG conversion. A remaining exception will be narrow gauge railways. Two of these, that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ae the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

On BG trains, there would normally be 64 seats/berths for 3 tier AC coaches (3A) and 72 seats/berths for 3 tier Sleeper coaches (SL) with the coaches having four entrances two each on either sides of the coach at their ends. These coaches would display the seat / berth numbers painted just above each of their windows that would be in alignment to that particular window. Higher classes would have reduction in their seating / berth capacity, based on their class respectively. LHB rake trains will be having 72 seats/berths for 3 tier AC coaches (3A).

Side Middle berths are found in Garib Raths.

The "second sitting" would have 108 seats but with two additional entrances right in the middle of the coaches on their either sides. Therefore these coaches have six entrances.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "General Information on travelling by IR". IRFCA.org. Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  2. ^ "Class of Travel". indiarail.co.uk. S.D.Enterprises Ltd. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 

External links[edit]