Figuring out a new train system in India can be really daunting, and many of my non-Indian friends find the seat symbols in Indian trains especially difficult to decode. They have no idea what SL, 1A, 2A, 3 A, 2 s, CC seat in train mean.

To tell the truth, even locals aren’t that sure of the distinctions. What many of us do is reserve the ticket, get on the train and simply travel, but here’s a little bit of an explanation about classes and seats in case you’re planning to take a train in India.

Indian Train Booking and Seating symbols

SL – Sleeper Class

SL - Sleeper Class and Seats in Indian Trains

First is the sleeper class! This is the most typical type in an Indian train. Nearly every person goes to this class.

These are normal sleeping classes, which have three berths vertically piled. It operates on broad gauge and holds 72.

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The Indian Railway can connect about 10 coaches.

1A – The First class AC of Indian Trains:

1A – The First class AC in Indian Trains

This is the most costly and high-end type of Indian Railway. The prices are nearly equivalent to airways and that’s the reason why it’s the most unconventional class. Folks who are able to afford this class can pay for a plane ticket too, which will, of course, get you to your destination much faster.

A bed is incorporated with the ticket in IR. This air-conditioned train exists only on well-known tracks around downtown, cities and can transport 18 passengers. The train coaches are carpeted, have sleeping lodging and privacy options, such as the private coupes.

2A – AC Two Tier:

2A - AC Two Tier Seats in Indian Trains

This train is a bit less expensive than the First Class option. These are air-conditioned trains with resting berths, enough leg room, curtains and also personal reading lamps. Berths are often organized in two sections in bays of six: four along the width of the train, then the gangway, and then two berths length-wise. The train doors come with drapes for some privacy from people strolling around.

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A bed is bundled with the ticket. A wide gauge train can transport 46 passengers with the ICF coach, while 52 can go with the brand new LHB coaches.

3A – AC three tier:

3A - AC three tier seats in Indian Trains

Yet another air-conditioned train with sleeping berths, similar to the vertical berths of the 2AC. However, there are three tiers along the width and 2 along the length, so there are eight bays of eight.

These are somewhat less well-appointed, commonly with no reading lights, but lately the buzz was to improve the 3A coaches. Just like all AC coaches, a bed is bundled with the ticket.

It transports 64 guests in a wide gauge within the old Integral Coach Factory rakes, and then 72 from the new LHB coach rakes created by Rail Coach Factory. These are popular, with their long train coaches.

2S – Seater Class:

2S - Seater Class in Indian Trains

Nearly identical to the AC Chair Car, but with bench-style seating and with no air-conditioning. There are 108 seats per train coach and it’s not really cozy. This is appropriate for very short journeys.

CC – AC Chair Car:

CC - AC seats in Indian Trains

The sole distinction between this Coach and other air-conditioned coaches is the fact that it is not a sleeper. In CC seats you will find five air-conditioned seats in a row, which is useful for morning travel around cities. Again, however, CC class in the train is not really suitable for very long travels.


This is short for General Waiting List, which means your ticket is on-hold. You will receive a number, for instance WL10. When folks call off their ticket, the amount decreases. This means that whenever 10 individuals call off their tickets, your ticket will probably be either RAC or directly Confirmed.

Usually, the procedure looks like this:



If you happen to get a hold of your PNR Status as “RAC,” then this means that you’ve been given a side lower seat, even with chart preparation, but you’ll receive the berth number right after chart preparation.

One thing that you must keep in mind is that you’ll be required to share your seat with someone else. In this case, you won’t get to sleep.

RAC Seats in Indian Trains

These are the side seats. Note that the upper one will be allotted to a confirmed ticket holder, and the lower one will be allotted to 2 people in RAC (not always, sometimes confirm ticket holders also get a side lower).

During the journey, TC can allot you a seat if it is vacant or if the person who has booked it doesn’t travel after all.

Types of Waiting List in Indian Trains

The overall seat number of seating readily available for booking in Indian trains are split within various segments. For instance, there are General, Tatkal, Ladies segments, and so forth.

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Likewise, there is a grouped quota as well. The grouped quota is usually a term for a couple of stations that share a pool of train tickets. These are somewhat small and minor stations, at least as long as that specific train is involved. For example, should you reserve a ticket from Bangalore (SBC) to Rajahmundry (RJY) on the Guwahati Express (2509), you would then receive tickets allocated from the Pooled Quota.


This is short for Pooled Quota Waiting List. If your ticket is reserved in Pooled Quota, which you are not aware of during the time of reserving, and all of the seats have already been reserved (in the pooled quota), you will get a ticket status of PQWL 20 (for instance).

Usually, the likelihood of PQWL being affirmed tends to be very low.


This is short for Tatkal Quota Waiting List. Should you reserve the ticket in Tatkal Quota, and are unfortunate enough to obtain a guaranteed ticket (this happens to a lot of us, as the tickets get sold out REALLY quickly!), your waiting list will be CKWL. The likelihood of having this approved is very low. The final state is identified only after the chart preparation.

Please note: should your ticket status, despite chart preparation, be any kind of WL, then you’re regarded as ‘ticketless’. For those who have reserved it on the web, then following chart preparation, it will get terminated automatically and your money will be returned to your bank account. However, we’re talking about India here! So, folks can still travel with their waitlisted tickets because they bribe the TTE/TC. They’re not often provided seats (there isn’t one, so, just how is he or she going to get seated?) and these individuals basically sleep on the surface, using newspaper as their bedding.