Train Review: First Class in India

First Class in Indian trains is not exactly what you’ll expect as First Class as someone from Europe or North America. If you need some information about trains in India in general, I’d recommend reading our post about train travel in India first. In this review, I’ll especially focus on the First Class on “normal” trains in India. However, you should note that the experience may differ from train to train.

Getting up extremely early is nothing I really adore. Nevertheless, we arrived at Jaipur Junction at 6 am to board the Udz Kurj Express to Agra.

India Train First Class

Most normal trains in India look like that

The train actually started in Udaipur and had a different destination and though the six hours we were to cover were just a short part of the ride. It’s worth noting at this point that all “normal” trains, which are not a Shatabdi Express, are night trains and though run longer distances and sometimes take days.

India Train First Class

As the trains are not fast, you can enjoy the scenery

Also, the speed is below 40 kilometers per hours, making the rides extremely strenuous and long.

Seating in First Class in an Indian train

Usually, trains like the Udz Kurj Express come with only a half wagon for First Class, while the whole train has more than a dozen wagons.

India Train First Class

There are usually just two or three First Class compartments per train

The First Class seating in the Udz Kurj Express, for example, consisted of three compartments, two with four berths and one with two berths.

India Train First Class

First Class compartments come with either two or four beds

We were assigned one of the four berth compartments and met a couple from Britain which took the other two berths. You also get fresh bedding material when boarding in First Class.

However, you have to prepare the bed yourself, which can be done in a few minutes.

While the bedding is not extremely comfortable, it’s actually okay.

What’s special about the First Class in Indian trains is the fact that you can swap the lower berth from a bed into a comfortable couch, which is great for sitting during the day.

However, there’s just a small table, so working is not really easy.

Food in First Class in an Indian train

While there is an extensive catering in the First Class of Shatabdi trains, there was not any in our First Class ride in the Udz Kurj Express. At one point, we were able to buy breakfast for 60 INR (~ 0.80 Euro / 0.90 US-Dollar).

India Train First Class

We were sold some kind of breakfast for 60 INR

The food was actually decent, yet I don’t really know what it was. I actually expected that there would be any free food in the relatively expensive First Class in Indian trains (for Indian standards).

Features of the First Class in an Indian train

The train First Class experience in India comes with some additional features. First of all, the wagons are air conditioned, which makes the journey way more enjoyable.

India Train First Class

There’s only one real toilet per compartment

Moreover, there are two (very loud) fans, which you may turn on and off upon your discretion. You may also close the door with a curtain for added privacy.

India Train First Class

None of the toilets is a water closet

Other than that, there are two toilets for the ten guests in First Class. Which sounds good in theory, is actually a real experience in practice.

One toilet is generally just a whole without any toilet, while the other toilet comes with a real toilet, but the “trash” you produce lands directly on the rails.

India Train First Class

You may also get out of the train at selected stations

The toilet is also no water closet, which means that you have to use the water hose provided to “clean” the toilet. At least there’s soap to wash your hands!

Bottom line First Class in an Indian train

First Class in India is a real experience when it comes to trains. You somewhat feel like taking the Orient Express in your small private suite, where you can sleep, relax or read a book.

India Train First Class

When taking Indian trains, you should expect to spend a lot of time waiting at stations

The First Class in Indian trains is definitely not dedicated to working. Nevertheless, seating is actually comfortable and when you are fine dealing with the toilet situation, you won’t have a bad time.

Yet, it’s worth noting that the staff is not very fluent in English and there are heavy delays and reroutes from time to time. In conclusion, I’d definitely recommend to give the First Class in Indian trains a try! You’ll definitely have something to tell stories about after your ride!


Find more train reviews in our “Specials” section!


16 Comments on “Train Review: First Class in India”

  1. I am an Indian and I quite enjoyed your review. Railway in India has a long way to go but it has also come a long way. Being the largest rail network in the world and having Such a huge population to cater to, it is indeed very difficult for them. Loved the way you have described everything in detail.
    The breakfast was vegetable cutlets:) more like peas and potato fritters 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment and especially the explanation of the breakfast (definitely good to know what we ate back in India!). I’m quite sure that the quality of the services offered will get better in the next years. India has the right basics when it comes to train travel!

  2. I experienced the first class Indian train last year. Though it has better compartments, but I prefer the 2 tiers or 3 tiers class below, since the crowds more pleasant in my opinion. They’re friendly and nice 🙂

  3. First class varies incredibly from Train to Train to India.. Try the Duronto Series of Trains, you will be served Meals on foldable tables, using Crockery and cutlery and not prepacked as in your picture.. the toilets still need some way to go. Slow trains can be a boon as you can view the gorgeous countryside, take pictures and get off at unusual unheard of Stations.

    • That’s very interesting! I was also told that the trains differ extremly between the regions. Seems like you have to be lucky with the train you pick! Watching the countryside is indeed beautiful 🙂

    • I’d definitely say so! With the problems we encountered it is a little tough to judge the value, but in case everything goes the normal way, taking trains in India, even in First Class, is definitely the cheapest way to get around!

  4. What an interesting review. Reminds me of the night train we took from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore when I was a child. Now looking back at the photos, I can see it was quite an experience but of course, as a child, it’s just another adventure! I wouldn’t mind taking a train like this again.

    • This sounds like a really cool experience as well! I’d love to take more trains in SEA in the future! There are so many interesting options in the region!

  5. Pingback: Looking Back | travelux

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