|Illustration for Indian Railways|
1. Plan Early – Though the population has grown, Railways hasn’t kept up with the pace. Hence the trick is to plan early. You generally will get tickets 60 days in advance, which will allow you to get a seat of your choice in a train of your choice. Also look at the calendar for any major Indian festival, which are rush period. Avoid summer holidays too. (May – June)
2. Choice of Train – If your budget allows then go for these three trains – Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi. These are the trains that mostly run on time and are given preference in terms of route clearance. Avoid any trains with ‘Special’ on it, they run very late. Train numbers starting with ‘11***’ & ‘12***’ are better ones.
3. Choice of food – Avoid non-vegetarian food. You can always have them once you reach your destination. In case the train does not have pantry car, go with packed food like biscuits and cakes. If possible, try IRCTC restaurants on stations.
4. Choice of berth – For a solo traveler, upper berth works fine. No disturbance like lower berth. Read a book or listen to music and doze off. For twin travelers, side upper + side lower should be worth. Two berth system, no third person to share. Families, I wish you luck, if you figure out a way, please share.
5. Washroom worries – My rule wake up earlier than others and you will get a clean & empty washroom. You can complete your sleep a little later, when everyone is holding breath for their turn.