Decoding Lower Berth quota for Senior Citizens

Indian railway senior citizen quota

Many a times while trying to book tickets in lower berth quota for senior citizens, you are met with utter despair. It makes you question the point of having a special seat arrangement under Indian railway senior citizen quota. But what if we tell you, there are many unstated rules that keep you away from booking lower berths for senior citizens. So, let us tell you about these unknown rules.

How many lower berth seats are allocated for senior citizens?

lower berth quota for senior citizen

Everyone knows that there is a special lower berth quota for senior citizens. But this is only half of the rule and no one mentions the limitations of this quota.

Lower berth quota for senior citizens’ rule: “There are six lower berths reserved in each Sleeper coach and three lower berths per coach in 3 AC and 2 AC for senior citizens.”

Let us explain the seat divisions (keeping Sleeper coaches as our reference, for the ease of your understanding):

  • Total Number of Sleeper Coaches: On a general level any express train has 12 Sleeper coaches.
  • Total Number of Seats: There are 72 seats in each of the 12 Sleeper coaches, making the total number of available seats 864 (72X12)
  • Number of Lower Berths in a Coach: Each row in a compartment has 3 lower berths which makes the total lower berths in a coach number 24 (72 ÷3).
  • Total Lower Berth Seats in Sleeper Class: As there are 12 sleeper coaches and in each of them there are 24 lower berths, so the total lower berth coaches in sleeper class are 288 (24X12).
  • Lower Berth Seats available for Senior Citizens: As per the quota regulation, each of the coaches has six seats for senior citizens which makes the total available lower berths at 72 (6X12).

ALSO READ: Chain Pulling Rules you never knew before, Unknown RAC Ticket Facts

Why only one lower berth is allocated even when booking is sought for multiple senior citizens?

senior citizens in train

This is again due to the extension of the above mentioned regulation. As there are only a small number of lower berth seats for senior citizens, so only a single lower berth is allocated against a booking form, no matter how many senior citizens may be mentioned in it. Let us explain, you are booking tickets for three people (72 year old male, 65 year old female and again another 61 year old male) using a single form, you will be allocated only one lower berth seat, where ideally the first senior citizen will get the lower berth. The rest will be allocated Middle or Upper berths.

How to bypass this regulation and get multiple lower berth seats for senior citizens?


You can book tickets using separate senior citizen concession forms to get assured lower berth seats. So, you need to fill in individual forms and book for each person separately. Ticket booking agents ideally use this ploy to assure lower berth seats, when they book for multiple senior citizens.

What are the problems of this process?

lower berth quota for senior citizen

Ideally Indian Railways tries to accommodate passengers booked through the same form in nearby berths. However, when you are booking tickets filling multiple senior citizen concession forms, the seats may be scattered across different coaches. Again, though you have the lower berths but senior citizens face problems while travelling solo.

Why are lower berth seats not kept vacant for only senior citizens?

senior citizen concession

Many of you would definitely have this thought on your mind. But speaking in layman’s terms, lower berths are not kept empty for the following reasons:

  • There are lower berth quotas for handicapped, pregnant women and woman travelling alone too. So, these quotas have to be fulfilled as well.
  • There is no guarantee that on all days across the year, there will be a fixed number of senior citizens travelling.

Why it is technically impossible to keep the lower berths vacant?

Indian Railways makes passengers’ safety their first priority. When something moves on rails, balance and equivalent weight distribution is very important. To assure uniform passenger distribution (thus weight distribution), the booking software fills berths from middle seats (ideally 36) and moves towards the gates (i.e. 1-2 or 71-72). The booking follows an order from lower to upper berth.

Hope, we have been able to answer some of the questions you had about lower berth quota for senior citizen. If you have any thoughts, please write to us.


  1. Kindly let me know how to book lower berth quota for senior citizens while using IRCTC web it doesnot show any such information.

    • Such information for booking tickets for senior citizens should b made available on IRCTC website..
      Also how do we book a tatkal ticket for senior citizen???
      Please please let us know

  2. I tried to book for six persons including two senior citizens, my dad (83) and mom (67). Allotted 34,35,37,38,40 and 42 of S6. SRCTZNs are allotted 40(SU) and 42(M). The booking was made on the opening day at 08:03:27hrs. As I desperately needed an LB for my mom, I tried again for her 20 minutes later, without mentioning coach no. or ladies quota. With all my surprise she was allotted 33(LB) of the S6! Is there any logic at all? (train no.13005)

  3. Earlier while booking tickets 120 days in advance,I used to give berth preference as side lower (for my wife 65 yrs old) and side upper (for me 72 yrs old) and I got berths as requested. But nowadays, though I mention the preference as above,I get 2 upper berths (this is due to new rule that 2 senior citizens travelling together will not be allotted 2 lower berths). Is there any way to get side lower and side upper?

  4. I don’t know who have agreed as the information provided is useful. It may be as per railway but the logic explained are totally baseless especially one of weight distribution. I can prove it. When Railway do not bother about age, how can it bother about weight. I had suggested berth allotment logic to Railways but not acknowledged even. In fact the businesses of railway go on even if any number keep on shouting. In India we operate on the principles of karna hai to karo nahin to bhaad mein jao.

  5. i am 70 yrs old. This happened to me while booking. I got a upper berth. how to reach there. Imagine my embarrassment. Thankfully, I was allowed by one of the youngsters to exchange his seat. I have a suggestion for Indian railways. Why not show the seat number and berth position in the booking form just before the payment is made? Any way, your website was very much useful.

  6. Last week I (63/F) opted for side lower.but was alloted side upper In a day train.the side lower was given to 45yr old man who wished to sleep and not willing to move to upper berth.many side lower were empty,few lower were also vaccant. On request I took someotherSL.i would have been given lower or side lower when I booked ticket. I travelled point to point.some who get down in the middle or boarded in the middle of the travel way were given lower berth but they are not senior citizens.I wonder what norm is high light in3AC rat bite my air travel bag and snacks inside along with some clothes

  7. seat number or bearth positions should be informed at the time of booking so that passangers have the option whether to book tickets or not

  8. I am 71 year old and travelled in train couple of days Back. My wait list was 8 and got confirmed with an upper berth. Another young person was travelling with me. His wait list no was 9 and got lower berth just below my berth. Irctc is deleberately providing upper berth to seior citizens. Can they change?

  9. Berth allotment logic of railway is not at all logical. Berths for senior citizens in each coach should be at least doubled from the present quota.

  10. My PNR 4452656019 and booked berth in Yaswanthpur to Nileshawar on 17/12/18 I am 78 & my wife is 74. We got mid & upper berth which is very uncomfortable. I think we may get lower berth for the journey! Prey for that. I wish we will get lower berth for this journey. Thanking you.

  11. Please allot side berths for senior citizens and handicap people because seats allotted with other passengers feels difficult to move because the other copassengers do not cooperate please do this at the earliest. Thank you.

  12. It’s just a way to show that IRCTC is fair to all but that’s not true because even if you book tickets 4 mnts prior then also lower berth is not allocated to senior citizen. But in tatkal you immediately get lower berth. It doesn’t make any sense to me if a person is planning his travel well in advance and booking tickets he is getting berths in all sort of scattered manner. Common if a family is traveling with senior citizen and a baby less than a year old then what is the minimum expection?? We want the family to be together or as near as possible..

  13. Where & whom can you complain since My Mother is 81 years old & yet she was allotted a Middle Berth in a 3rd AC coach . This train no. 19667 ( Mys Humsafar ) has only 3rd AC coaches . If 81 year old woman cannot be allotted a Lower Berth … well I feel disgusted to call myself Indian

    • Hi Shirin Hormuzdi, For such problem you should directly contact to station master or Tc in the train. As they are always available in the ground and can help you instantly. Thanks


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