How to avoid getting seats near toilets in a train while booking railway tickets

Want to avoid seat allocation near the entrance door and washrooms when booking Indian Railway tickets online? This article provides some very useful tips to know how to make sure you do not get a berth or seat near the toilet of a train. You will also get information on the seating arrangement in IRCTC trains.

People don't prefer to sit in the first and last few seats of the coaches in trains, since the toilet and entrance door are near to these seats. If you are a frequent passenger of Indian railway, then you might understand this better. The foul smell from the toilet & ruckus at the entrance makes your train journey horrible, especially in sleeper class. Here are some simple tips which you can try while booking the ticket to avoid the seats near toilets and entrance doors.

Seating arrangement in IRCTC trains

The trains by Indian railway has different types of coaches each varying in no. of berths, facilities, comfort, cost etc. The capacity and seating arrangement by IRCTC in different coaches are as follows:

AC 1st Class (1 A)

Coach code for 1st class AC is H. 24 Berths are provided with only one upper and 1 lower berth in each coupe of the coach. Coupes are closed & lockable. Side berths are not present in first class AC, instead, a long walkway which connect the coupes to main door.

2 Tier AC Sleeper (2 A)

The coach code for this is A . 46 / 54 berths are available in 2A. It will be 2 tier arrangement for all berths. Coupes are open, but, curtains are provided.

3 Tier AC Sleeper (3 A)

Coach code for 3A is B. 64 berths are provided in 3A coaches. A 2 tier berth arrangement is done for side berths and 3 tier for the other berths.

AC Chair car

Coach code will be C or D. 67 / 75 Seats provided with 3 seats on either side of the aisle.

Sleeper Class (SL)

This is a non-AC coach and the code for sleeper class is S . 72 Seats/ Berths provided in sleeper coaches. 2 tier berth arrangement for side berths and 3 tier for the other berths.

Second Seating (2S)

This is a non-AC coach with 108 Seats. Only seats are provided. No berths.

Garib Rath (3A)

All the coaches of Garib Rath train are AC and the coach code is G. There will be 81 berths in each coach. Only 3 tier accommodation is available including for side berths.

There are 2 toilets attached to each end of all the coaches.

Can I avoid the seats near toilets and doors in train?

The entrance doors and toilets of the train are attached to the ends of the coaches. The unpleasant smell from the toilet and the commotion by people who get in & out of the train are annoying for the passengers who sit near the doors. Also, the light near the toilet will be ON throughout the night. This may disturb our sleep. For AC coaches, there is a glass door which separates the toilet area from the berths. Those who travel in sleeper class have to compromise more.

Usually, after booking the train ticket, the first thing most of us check in the ticket is the seat number allotted. It would be better if it is possible to book a seat number according to our preference. But, IRCTC doesn't allow us to choose a particular seat number. Instead, it allocates seats as per a special algorithm. Following these some simple tips may help you to avoid the first and last few seats near toilet.


  1. Book your train ticket as early as possible. As per IRCTC ticket booking algorithm, the seats in the middle of the coaches are filled first. This is to distribute the load equally in coaches and thereby maintain proper balance of the train. Once the middle seats in all coaches are filled, then the seats towards each end of the coach are allocated.

  2. In the official ticket booking page of IRCTC, there some options given, by which we can express our priorities. Do not select the option "Book only if 1or 2 lower berths are available" or "Book only if seats are allocated in the same coach" while booking. If you are mentioning these priorities, then the algorithm will allocate seats according to those priorities. Then, the chance of getting allocated at the ends will be more.

Sometimes, people who book last also get seats in the middle. These are cancelled tickets by those who had confirmed seats in the middle.


Author: Kailash Kumar21 Jul 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

I think the article requires review by the author in respect of description of various types of coaches e.g. in case of First AC class, there are four types of coaches - AC First class coach Type I which has 22 seats/berths, AC First class coach Type II which has 24 seats/berths, First AC/Second AC composite coach which has 10 seats/berths and First AC /Three-tier AC composite coaches which also has 10 seats berths.
In the first class AC coaches, there are cabin which have total 4 seats/berths (2 upper and 2 lower) and coupe which have only two berths (1 upper and 1 lower). In the Type I coaches, there are 4 cabins and 3 coupe and in the Type II coaches there are 4 cabins and 4 coupe. However in the First AC/Second AC and First AC /Three-tier AC composite coaches, there are 3 cabins and 1 coupe.
Also there are other types of coaches also e.g. Executive Class(coach number E) in Shatabdi trains which have only 2 seats on either side of the aisle.

Author: Ravi21 Jul 2016 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Very nice article by the author. I was not aware about this algorithm that is strictly followed in booking of railway tickets. I am a frequent user of Indian Railways and whenever I book ticket through IRCTC, I get my seats sometimes at the end.

Author: K Mohan21 Jul 2016 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

I won't agree with the author that tickets are issued to the passengers from the middle of the coach as first come first serve basis. Please remember that Indian Railways has vast network and it is totally computerized. At any given point of time the tickets are booked by the passengers in one train or the other. And after the introduction of online booking system there was total change as the status of reservation changes every minute. When I personally went to Secunderabad station to book the ticket for Chennai, while entering big television screen displays the probable availability of the seats and on seeing that I entered the counter which was in queue and by the time my turn came the seats were filled and I was taken aback. I argued with the clerk that why the information displayed is wrong and I am denied ticket. For that he said that updates are made every one hour and as per last updates the tickets were available and now it has been filled. So what I mean to stress here is that getting a ticket in a train has become a great challenge and luck factor and who is bothered about getting a seat or berth near the toilet. By the way the new Railway Minister is taking all actions to clean the toilets at every big stations.

Author: Partha K.23 Jul 2016 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

The title of the article is "How to avoid getting seats near toilets in a train while booking railway tickets". But in fact, the article has provided details of seats available in various compartments (AC-1st class, AC-2T, AC-3T, Sleeper etc). The suggestions given by the author to avoid getting berth near the toilet are not practicable. The berth booking system through IRCTC or direct booking is such that no action can be taken beforehand in this regard.
Only this much can be said that the probability of getting berth near the toilet is always less! Moreover, at least in higher classes, generally there is no complaint of unpleasant smell near the toilet. The toilets are kept neat and clean at least in these compartments.

Author: Venkiteswaran26 Jan 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

The article is very relevant though it may appear funny on reading the title.
I have faced many times that I get most inconvenient seats/berths even when I booked sufficiently early. In the same journeys when I interacted with co-passengers I found that those who booked at the last moment got some very convenient and comfortable seats in the middle.

It was sometime later that I came to know about the allotment method of seats on reservation in trains.
Nowadays the higher percentage of seats earmarked for Tatkal and various other quota make it look like a lottery to get convenient seats in trains.

Many times we are compelled believe that some kind of mischief is happening.

The Railways are planning to charge differently for choice seats. One more way of Railways squeezing the vulnerable helpless passengers.

When we are so urgently needing to travel we just ignore whether it is near toilet or entrance, but just aim to reach the destination somehow.

Indian Railways have made plane journey more preferable nowadays. In many routes we get low cost airlines where we get tickets almost equal to the Third AC Tatkal fare or the fare of Duronto trains.The advantage with plane is we save a lot in time and journey expenses.
So it is now better to see for plane tickets first and then only go for train tickets.

Guest Author: Dhananjayudu Mannem01 Nov 2019

This article is not totally correct. I have booked a ticket (PNR: 4511705408) on 1-Nov-2019 from Chennai to Palani and the travel date is 28-Feb-2020. As per this article, I have not selected any of the options, but I got the seats as S4 67(UB), S4 68(LB), S4 69(MB) and S4 70(UB).

Please write something which is 100% correct. Now I have to cancel this ticket and book once more to avoid the toilet smell.

Guest Author: Anupam06 Dec 2021

The views expressed by the author related to the seat allocation algorithm in this article are purely based on his imagination rather than the actual source code algorithm. No one outside the core development team and highly posted railway official of the railways commercial and IRCTC's technical team exactly knows the algorithm.

Several times I booked the ticket on the very first day of the ARP without any other preferences except SL and SU but got the seat near the toilet(either 7/8 or 71/72). Railway should allocate these seats to Tatkal passengers rather than those who booked well in advance of 120 days. Also, I mostly see that those who got the seats in the middle portion of the compartment are relatively younger passengers (below 40 years). So the exact algorithm on the basis of age is also not known to the general public.

Guest Author: N Parameswaran17 Nov 2022

Whether your ticket is in AC compartment or not, the toilets are in a very bad condition because anyone from any coach can go to any toilet. So getting a berth near toilet is very bad unless the railway make it a rule to clean the toilets at stations. I have seen that even in AC coaches the toilets are in very bad shape. If the toilets are always in very clean condition nobody will fear to get tickets near the end of the coaches.

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