What are some tips for travelling in sleeper coaches of trains?

The sleeper class is the most common coach on the Indian Railways, and usually ten or more coaches of SL could be attached to a train rake. These are regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically stacked, without air conditioning. In broad gauge, it carries 72 passengers per coach.

    1. Do not buy any eatables from the station based window servicing vendors. Mostly they are opportunist who try to sell cheap eatables made of unhygienic ingredients. Some of them try selling their inventories (which were not sold yesterday or before), which could make you seriously sick. If your train does not have a pantry (which many Indian trains do not have), prefer buying from an authorised station vendor (you can find their stores near the entry gate or waiting room).

2. Carry a blanket and sheet, if not, do not sleep face down! Nobody wipes off the seat of the sleeper coach in Indian railways. If you take up a section of the seat and do a DNA analysis, you could trace it back to generations, ensured. Carrying a blanket will help you save your system from greeting some nasty germs.

3. Go to Toilet before you leave for the journey: Extremely important! Sleeper cell washrooms could be pathetic, many a times.

4. Always carry a sanitiser: Wipe your hands before you eat.

5. Have your entertainment unit geared up: Especially if it’s a long journey. Have them charged before you leave. Most old sleeper cells do not have (functional) charging points. Carry a good power bank, it will prevent you from standing near the stinking toilet for hours. If you are extremely lucky, you may have a (functional) charging point near your berth. However, chances are low.

6. Have some empty bag space to keep the trash: You may find the common dustbin over flooded already and definitely would not want to throw the trash out or litter around. Keep trash with you, throw them in dustbin once you are out of the train.

7. Have an inflatable pillow: Will help you get a good sleep.

8. Carry a lock and chain to tie your stuff: Especially if you are on middle or upper berth and the journey is overnight. You can sleep peacefully knowing your belongings are safe.

Disclaimer: This is with special emphasis towards Indian railways. We are also assuming the worst case scenario in all the mentioned circumstances.