This is a constant area of confusion, largely, because of the terminology. For example, Ist class is the third highest category in Indian Railways. The highest category of Indian Railway travel is called AC Class. This is then followed by a class called Ist class which includes AC 2 Tier, Standard Ist class and AC chaircar. The bottom category of Indian Railways is referred to as 2nd class. Choose from three different indrail pass plans.

(1) AC Class:

Offers air conditioned accommodation for two berth (one up & one down) or four berth (2 up & 2 down) locakable compartments for overnight journeys and air conditioned executive class seating for short journeys such as the Shatabadi express trains to Agra from Delhi ; linen/blankets; facility of shower/toilet at either end of the carriage & attendant services. Listed below is a plan view of this type of accommodation.

A photo of the AC Class 4 berth compartment is shown below:-

AC Class 4 berth compartment

AC executive Class

If you travel by daytime short journeys such as Shatabdi expresses AC executive class is the highest available class. This is similar to aircraft type seats. Diagram of AC executive class is given below:

General Advise on AC Class.

This is the most comfortable method of travel on Indian Railways. There are 1 or 2 points to look out for before purchasing this type of ticket.

(2) Ist Class permits travel in AC II Tier, Standard Ist Class or AC Chaircar.

There are basin/toilet facilities at either end of the carriage. Bedding is provided in AC 2 Tier but not provided in Standard Ist class but can be ordered against payment in advance at certain stations.

AC II Tier:

Air conditioned corridor carriage that sleeps 46 peole split up into 2 & 4 berth cubicles separated by curtains. A diagram of the layout is shown below:-

AC 2 Tier

A photo of AC 2 Tier is shown below:-

Standard Ist Class:

Offers non air conditioned accommodation for two berth (one up & one down) or four berth (2 up & 2 down). Note: The policy of the Indian Railways is to phase out Standard Ist Class). This layout is similar to the plan view diagram of the Air Conditioned Class carriage but without air conditioning, bedding and in many cases without attendant services. A photo of the same is shown below:-

Standard First Class

AC Chaircar:

Air conditioned carriage with reclining seats. A photo of the same is shown below:-

AC Chaircar

(3) Second class:

Seats/berths (in some cases wooden and in some cushioned) and toilets (Indian style). We do not recommend second class travel for travellers.


The cost of the Indrail pass is dependent on the class and duration of travel. Details are given below:-
Prices of Indrail Passes in US Dollars (Effective from 01 apr 1999
Duration (Days)AC ClassIst Cl/AC II Tier/AC Ch2nd Class
Half *572611
One *954319
Two * 1607030

* : Half day, one day & two days passes are pre-dated and pre-timed. For example if a person wishes to travel on the Mandore express (train 2462) from Jodhpur - Delhi, then he can avail of a half day pass. Train departs Jodhpur at 1930 hrs and arrives in Delhi at 0630 hrs the following morning. As the journey concludes within 12 hours of the journey (i.e. 0730 hrs the following morning), this is valid. Similarly, a person travelling from Bombay - Bangalore on train 1013 can obtain a one day pass as the train starts at 2220 and arrives in Bangalore at 2205 hrs on the following day. The dates and times are not changeable. Reservations can be made on the trains from the UK.
Two days, One Day & half day passes get downgraded on Rajdhani expresses. If you have an AC class pass you have to travel in AC 2 tier. If you have an AC 2 tier pass, you have to travel in AC 3 tier. This is not the case for duration passes.

Note:With the exception of half day & one day passes, all Indrail passes start at one minute past midnight of Day 1 and conclude at one minute to midnight of the concluding day. For example if a person purchases a 15 Days Indrail pass starting from 15 Dec 2001, he or she is allowed to start using it on any train fom 0001 on 15 Dec 2001. All travel must then be completed by 2359 hrs on 29 Dec 2001.


Some popular itineraries EG: North India Sampler & South India Sampler