An Indian sleeper class train

Traveling By Train in India

My First Indian Train Ride

Trains are the most popular way of getting around India, with the British laying thousands of miles of track across the country. As a lifelong fan of trains, I was very excited about the prospect of using them throughout our trip, though a bit worried about the safety of my belongings.

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The Different Classes of Train Cars

Inside an Indian Train CarThere are many classes of cars on these trains, but for a 12 hour overnight trip such as our first ride from Delhi to Udaipur we needed a sleeper car. As such, our options were:

  • 1st Class AC, which was a private lockable car and $40 per person
  • 2nd class AC, which is semi private but not lockable and $20 per person
  • Sleeper class, which is a massive car with nearly 50 people on teeny beds and not private at all, but only $5 per person.

I’ll give you one guess which one we had to go with due to the lateness of our booking. Yup, the big open sleeper class with 48 of our closest Indian friends.

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Sleeper Class is A-OK…but Cold

However, all my worries were for naught as we actually felt safer in sleeper class than we would have in anything other than the $40 first class, as we were surrounded by people all night. We even got the “top bunks” and I managed to watch The Goonies on my iPod undisturbed. However, man was it cold!

As I mentioned earlier, it gets down to the 40s at night and, with the wind blowing in through open windows, I can only imagine what the actual temperature was. So, as the sound of train tracks, different dialects of speech, loud music and the scents of incense and cigarettes lulled us to sleep, we often woke up shivering despite being covered in every layer we had.

For more information on the different classes of cars in Indian trains complete with photos, check out this great link.