Book in advance – reserved seats in the better cars go quickly so it’s better to book your trains at least a week in advance. Depending on the train, CC, 2AC, 1AC are best.
Buying at the Station – major train stations have separate ticket lines for foreigners.
Watch your change – My first ticket was bought for me by a local with me in the foreigners’ line. He paid for a ticket of less than 100 rupees with a 500 note and got change for a 100. He held his ground and was insistent despite people pushing him from behind to move on. Eventually he got his change.
Trains are punctual – Some trains in some stations only stop for two to four minutes. Plan to get to the station early in case you have difficulty finding your track and car.
Finding your car – if you have a reserved seat you will be in a designated car. The larger stations have electronic signs showing exactly where your car will stop – which is helpful when you don’t have long to get on the train. If there are no signs, look for an official and they can tell you.
Sleeper Cars – there are usually two toilets at each end of the car and at least one is western style.
Left Luggage – if you’re traveling by train and want to stop in a city for the day, show your onward ticket and, for 10 rupees a day, you can leave your luggage in a secure area while you tour.
Retiring Rooms – Some stations have rooms that you can rent as long as you have an onward ticket. The cost is low and the accommodation is very basic.
TukTuk Auto Rickshaws – much cheaper than taxis they easily accommodate up to three people plus luggage.
TukTuk buses – these typically run up and down main streets of smaller towns. You can jump on and jump off – in Rishikesh the cost is 5 rupees no matter how far you go.
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