If the super luxury trains like Palace on wheels are excluded, it is the highest class of travel offered by Indian Railways. The fares are comparable with airfare in most cases. So, should one opt for Rajdhani First AC (RIAC) ?
What is different ?
- Berths are not allotted at the time of booking. You would see status as ‘CONFIRMED’ in the ticket. Berths are allocated at the time of preparation of chart – which happens a few hours before the start. This helps the authorities to see the composition of the travelling groups and allocate coupes accordingly. If you want a ‘two berth coupe’ an advance request could be placed a couple of days before the day of travel.
- There are no side berths. The berths are larger than those in other classes. It will be quite comfortable for almost all. Berths are approximately 75cm wide and 185cm long.
- There are two types of coupes – 4 berths & 2 berths. The ‘4 berth’ type is also called a ‘cabin’.
- Space between berths is wider than that in other classes
- Each coupe has a sliding door which can be closed and locked. Curtains are provided to ensure privacy
- RIAC offers personalized service to passengers. For example, the attendant makes your bed. Attendants are ‘on call’ – calling bell is available in each coupe
- Ticket fare is inclusive of food charges as in other classes or Rajdhani. The range is, however, a little bit more elaborate in RIAC
- Indian and continental options are available. Food for AC first class is prepared in the pantry car of the train
- There are foldable dining tables which can hold food trays – don’t have to use berth as a dining table !
- There is a bathroom with ceiling shower & flexible shower
- European and Indian versions of WC are available. Unlike other classes there are health faucets and tissue dispensers in the WC.
- Multiple hooks are provided inside the cabins for conveniently hanging small bags, coats etc.
- Very effective reading lamps for each berth
- There are two power sockets in each cabin
- Twice a day cleaning of cabins
- WCs are cleaned a few times a day and floor is maintained dry
- Dust-bin is provided in each coupe
- Newspaper is provided along with morning tea
- A more usable ladder to climb onto the upper berth
- Food on offer may be a little too much and service may appear too frequent
- Foldable tables are not very stable
- There is no washbasin at the end of the corridor as in other classes. Washbasins are provided only inside the bathroom/WC
Is it worth it ?
A difficult question indeed. Tickets cost as much as that of a low-cost airline – could be a little more than airfare in some cases. What makes many apprehensive is the fact that time of travel is the same, whichever class one chooses.