Retiring rooms - waiting rooms of Indian Railways
Waiting Rooms at Railway Stations in India
There are two types of waiting rooms provided by Indian Railways for passengers who have to wait for taking a connecting train or have arrived at a railway station by rail and need accommodation for a day or so.
Typically they are for passengers waiting for their outbound train. Waiting Rooms are normally located close to the Railway platforms and can be for second or first class ticket holders.
Basically these waiting rooms provide limited seating areas for passengers waiting to catch a train. No reservations are available and seating is strictly first come first served. The majority of waiting rooms are also not air-conditioned. There are toilet facilities usually in most waiting rooms but the facility to take a shower is not provided.
While waiting rooms are available at most major stations, there is no guarantee that you will find them at all Indian railway stations.
Retiring Rooms Indian Railways
Retiring rooms are available only at major stations such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai etc. There is a fee charged for the use of retiring rooms. Those intending to use retiring rooms, must have a valid Indian Railways ticket either for a journey just completed or for an upcoming trip.
Retiring rooms can be a suite, air-conditioned room, basic room without air conditioner or a dormitory. However, not all stations will have air-conditioned rooms. Charges are based on what type of accommodation you select. Bathing facilities are normally available in retiring rooms.
If you decide to stay in a dormitory, they usually have a lockable cabinet where you can lock some of your belongings. Take your own lock.
Retiring Room Rental Charges in India
The rental charges of retiring rooms, varies from station to station and subject to changes at any time by the Railway authorities. To give you an idea, In Mumbai, charges are Rupees 1,600 for AC double-bed rooms, Rupees 450 non-AC double-bed rooms and Rupees 300 for dormitories for a day. At other stations the charges may be a lot less.
Most retiring rooms are available on a first come first served basis for passengers holding an incoming or outgoing railway ticket. Inquire at the railway station for vacancies of retiring rooms, if available, they are supposedly cheaper pricewise when compared to spending the night in a hotel.
Retiring rooms stay is limited to about two days maximum, here again the retiring room matron can advise you if you can extend the stay. Railway authorities’ aim is to try and not discourage long term stay in retiring rooms, so that genuine passengers can use these facilities.
Retiring rooms can also be rented for a 12 hour period at some railway stations. For those who stay more than 24 hours, the price for the subsequent day is increased by 25% more per day.
A word of caution though, don’t plan your trip based on staying in railway retiring rooms. The chances of NOT getting a room are far greater than getting one. Sometimes tipping the matron may help. However, always plan for the inevitable and be prepared to pay for a hotel room.
Here is a link to a website of Indian Railways with information on retiring room’s availability and prices across India. The link provided currently (August 17, 2012) works. Although I am not sure how current the information is as far as pricing goes.