Types of Rail Coaches in Indian Railways


I hope you would have travelled by train to make your journey to your destination at least once in your life time or you might be a frequent traveler in train

But! Have you ever thought about the classification of rail coaches which has been running in India?

If No! Then I would let you know about the various types of rail coaches in the Indian Railway.

On Indian Railways, there are several different classes in train travel and everyone is using it based upon their comfort & availability during the time of reservation. Some people might have a knowledge of their choice of coaches while booking, But some of the other people find it a bit difficult which might be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with them. 

Indian Rail coaches

There are many different types of Indian coaches which have been running actively across the nation. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in each class of Indian rail coaches, as well as some pointers on how to pick the best class of rail coach for your needs for a comfortable train journey in India.

Types of rail coaches
Types of Rail coaches

At the end of this section you would get to know about the various rail coach classification of the Indian Railway and its specifications in detail.

Some of the different types of coaches are listed below

  • Unreserved General Class (UR)
  • Second Seating (2S)
  • Sleeper Class (SL)
  • Three Tier Air Conditioned Class (3A)
  • Two Tier Air Conditioned Class (2AC)
  • First Class Air Conditioned (1AC)
  • Executive Air Conditioned Chair Car (1A)
  • Air Conditioned Chair Car (CC)

Unreserved General Class (UR)

Unreserved General Class rail coach

India’s poorest people, as well as those who have been unable to obtain a Sleeper Class ticket, travel in Unreserved General Class (UR). This was considered as the most cheapest class among the various types of rail coaches in India. There are no reservations required, and the concept of overcrowding is elevated to new heights. There’s only enough room for sitting or standing, and any available floor space is occupied by those who want to sleep. Despite the fact that some trains have upholstered benches, the majority of seats are just wooden benches. In India, long-distance train travel in unreserved class is not encouraged.

Second Seating (2S)

2S Second Seating

Reservations are required for Second Seating, also known as Second Class (2S). 2S is a low-cost means of transportation that is commonly found on intercity trains during the day. There are three seats on either side of the aisle that do not recline. Individual seats are available in some modern carriages, although the majority are cushioned bench-style chairs. There are no overnight accommodations available for this class. The carriages are kept cool by fans.
Short-distance travel is acceptable if it is absolutely necessary. Passengers without reservations, on the other hand, are frequently seated in carriages.

Sleeper Class (SL)

Sleeper rail coach

While the majority of India’s middle class previously travelled in Sleeper Class, many have now upgraded to AC 3. People from General Class (who couldn’t get confirmed tickets) are commonly observed crowding the Sleeper Class cars these days.
This class of carriages is known as the Sleeper. Six compartments, each with six berths, are divided among the carriages. The mattresses are stacked three layers high on either side of the compartments. During the day, the middle beds must be folded flat against the compartment walls, allowing passengers to sit on the lower beds.

There are two layers of beds outside the compartments, down the aisle. Fans cool the carriage ceiling, and the windows have bars to keep intruders out because they are often left open. In the bathrooms, there are toilets in both western and Indian designs.

Three Tier Air Conditioned Class (3A)

3 tier Ac rail coach

The 3AC (Three-Tier Air-Conditioned Class) offers a significant increase in comfort and quietness. 3AC coaches are set up identically to Sleeper Class carriages. The windows, on the other hand, are tinted and cannot be opened, while air conditioning keeps the carriages cool. Bedding and hand towels are provided to passengers.
Passengers in 3AC like to keep to themselves more, while privacy is still limited due to the open plan architecture of the compartments. Above importantly, First Class carriages and facilities are usually far cleaner than those in Sleeper Class.

Two Tier Air Conditioned Class (2AC)

2 tier AC rail coach

The two-tiered air-conditioned class, or 2AC, attracts India’s top class passengers.
There is a lot more space because each compartment only contains four beds. The beds are organized in two tiers vertically on either side. Like in the other classes, there are two tiers of beds along the aisle outside the compartments. Bedding and towels are provided in the same manner as in 3AC. The best feature of 2AC is the privacy drapes on the entry and over each of the beds that run along the aisle. In this form of living, the curtains are usually drawn all of the time, and there is very little interaction.

First Class Air Conditioned (1AC)

First Class Air Conditioned, often known as 1AC, is only available on the most popular interstate rail routes. It is approximately twice as expensive as 2AC and is comparable to flying. This was considered as the most costliest class among the various types of rail coaches in India.
Each compartment has lockable doors, carpet, and two or four beds piled vertically in tiers. In this class, the beds are wider than in others. Sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, and a room refresher are also included. 1AC carriage bathrooms are also better and cleaner, with shower cubicles. If you value comfort and privacy, 1AC is the place to stay. The main drawback to 1AC is that you can’t choose whether you want a two-bed or four-bed cabin when making your reservation.

Executive Air Conditioned Chair Car (1A)

Executive Class is only accessible on the Shatabdi, Tejas, and Vande Bharat Express trains, which run between major cities (including Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur). It is the equivalent of airline business class on Indian Railways. The fact that there are only two seats on each side of the aisle in carriages is one of the most distinguishing elements of these executive AC coaches. As a result, they’re less crowded and have greater legroom and luggage space. There’s also better food to be had. This class is well-maintained, immaculate, and fun for a day trip.

Air Conditioned Chair Car (CC)

AC chair car

On shorter-distance Indian Railways trains between major cities, air-conditioned Chair Car carriages (CC) are common, particularly in business-traveler-heavy sectors. The carriages are slightly more congested than in Executive Class. They have three seats on one side of the aisle and two chairs on the other. Seats recline, overhead luggage storage is available, and the restrooms are usually clean. It’s a convenient means of transportation for day trips.

Get to know more about Indian Railways here and for booking vist IRCTC

Where the rail coaches are manufactured in India?

In India, rail coaches are manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), which is located in Chennai.

What are the different types of rail coaches running in India?

General/ Unreserved coach
Chair car coach
Executive chair car
3-tier Sleeper coach
2-tier Sleeper coach
AC chair car
Executive AC Chair car
AC 3-tier Sleeper coach
AC 2-tier Sleeper coach

What is Pantry Car in Rail coaches?

The Pantry Car is a unique sort of coach that is used to make meals while the train is travelling and offer it to passengers at their leisure.

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