As you already know that there are many types of coaches in Indian trains like general, 2nd seating, AC chair car, sleeper, 3rd AC, 2nd AC and 1st AC. The general, 2nd seating or AC chair car coaches do not have the facility of sleeping. They are best suitable for day time journey.
Thereafter, sleeper, 3rd AC, 2nd AC and 1st AC coaches have the facility of sleeping and comfortable for long and very long overnight journeys. The berths orientation in the sleeper and 3rd AC coaches are exactly same, only difference is the presence of air conditioning in 3rd AC coaches. They both have 5 types of berths: lower, middle, upper, side lower and side upper.
2nd AC coaches don’t have middle berths, they have only four types of berths: lower, upper. side lower and side upper. 1st AC coaches have no side and middle berths, they have only upper and lower berths.
Although, Indian railways doesn’t offer the facility to choose your own choice of berth. You can give your choice during booking, but choice is never guaranteed. You can exchange your berth with your co-passengers during the journey. However, let’s discuss about all the five type of berths and their pros and cons.
1. Lower Berth
Why should you choose a lower berth?
Lower berths in trains are the most popular berths. But, mostly they are preferred by senior citizens and ladies with small babies, who find it difficult to adjust themselves in upper and middle berths. Old people can’t climb up the upper berths. If someone is ill, a lower berth is also favorable for him. You can also keep an regular eye on your luggage if they are kept below the berths.
Why should you not choose a lower berth?
Lower berth are available in all the four types of coaches- sleeper, 3rd AC, 2nd AC and 1st AC. But the major disadvantage of lower berth is related to privacy and disturbance you will face during the day time. The passengers travelling in middle and upper berths have the right to sit on the lower berth of same compartment between 6 am to 9 pm. If you have lower berth allotted, you will have to share your berth with them, you can’t sleep or put yourself in reclining position alone on a lower berth at day time if train is running full. It may also cause a lot of disturbance if you are uncomfortable with talking to strangers.
Moreover, if it is a lower berth in a sleeper coach, it is often observed that a lot of general ticket or unreserved passengers try to occupy the lower berths which is again causes a big nuisance. It also causes a security risk to your belongings or luggage.
So, lower berths are a good choice for old age people, ladies and physically incapable people. If you have only short duration day time journey, then lower berth may be fine but, for longer journeys, you may face some difficulties in lower berths.
2. Middle Berth
Why middle berth is mostly disliked?
Middle berths are mostly disliked by the passengers. The biggest disadvantage of middle berth is that you hardly use it during the daytime if other passengers are sitting on the lower berth. The middle berth can only be erected if the passenger on the lower berth below that middle berth is also sleeping or in leaning position. That’s why middle berths are usually disliked due to its unusability during the day time.
Any reason to choose middle berth?
However, some people think middle berth is good for them because it is lower in height than the upper berth. Passengers who cannot climb up the upper berth can use the middle berth also if a lower berth is not available. As the middle berth and the adjacent window are on the same level, some people say it feels pleasant to feel the breeze coming from the window.
Whatever berth you are allotted according to your ticket, you can always exchange them with your co-passengers if they are willing to cooperate with you.
3. Upper Berth
Why should you choose an upper berth?
Now upper berths are the most preferred berths after lower berths. Upper berths provide you the most privacy and security to your belongings and luggage. If you like sleeping or reclining all the day, upper berth is best for you. No body will come to disturb you. It’s best suited for young people who like to be busy on their smartphones and laptops all the day.
Why should you not choose an upper berth?
But upper berths may not be quite suitable for the old age people, ill people, ladies and small children who can’t climp up the upper berth easily. Even for going to washrooms, they will feel tired and annoyed by frequently getting up and down.
4. Side Lower Berth
Side lower berth is like a normal lower berth but the position of both the side berths is just at an right angle to the other six berths in the compartment. Side berths are parallel to the walkway.
Major advantage of side lower berth
The major advantage of side lower berth is that if you are fond of a window seat, and view the nature, scenery or the countryside rural or urban scenes, you can fully enjoy them as the window view is much wider here.
Also, there are only two passengers on both the upper and lower side berths, so it’s never so difficult to adjust between just two persons.
Disadvantages of side lower berth
As the side berths are parallel to the walkway, when other passengers pass through, it may create a nuisance, inconvenience and loss of privacy. Also, if your height is 6 feet or above, you may find it difficult to fit yourself while sleeping as the side berths are shorter in length than normal upper, middle and upper berths.
Also, your luggage and belongings are more exposed and easily noticeable in side berths, so risk of theft is more here.
5. Side Upper Berth
When a side upper berth is allotted, you can easily sit on the side lower berth below it during the day time. Both the passengers of side upper and lower berths may accommodate themselves only on side lower berth during the day time.
Advantage of side upper berth
As I have already told you that side berths are just parallel and beside the walkway, so when other passengers pass through, it may create inconvenience. disturbance and loss of privacy. But if you are on side upper berth rather than side lower one, you get some relief from this disturbance.
Also, you can keep your luggage on the side upper berth thereby reducing the risk of theft.
As you are allowed to share the side lower berth, you are not deprived of the beautiful window seat view.
Disadvantage of side upper berth
The only disadvantage of side upper berth is its shortness in length, due to which a taller person may find it difficult to fit himself as already said regarding side lower berths too.
Also, it has been already mentioned that as normal upper berths may not be a suitable choice for old age people or ladies and babies, side upper berths may also not be suitable.
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