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Kanika Nevatia Feb 26 2015

All you need to know about booking a ticket on Indian Railways

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Whether you are a first time traveller or a repeat traveller, here is a list of all you will need to know about booking a ticket on Indian Railways.


Image by Nandkishore Kapoor


Booking a ticket on IRCTC

Tickets can be booked offline at the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) or online through IRCTC.




Alternately, you can simplify the entire process by downloading the ixigo train app and searching for trains between stations, their schedules, check fares and then book directly with IRCTC. You can check for seat availability, train status, train stops and stoppage time information using the app.




Your 10-digit PNR is the most important reference to track your booking status and getting alerts for train delays and schedules. Also, printing a ticket is extremely easy if you follow these steps.



Difference Between Various Booking Status


While booking a ticket on Indian Railways, you will be assigned a ticket status which can be either of the following three:


1. Waiting List (WL)
--A status marked with a WL indicates that the passenger has a waitlisted status and the ticket will be confirmed only after cancellation by a ticket holder. For example, GNWL9/WL8 indicates that the ticket will be confirmed after cancellation of 8 tickets on the same journey.


2. Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC)
--This entitles the passenger to a half berth in the coach after the chart preparation. Any cancellations after chart preparation ensure that these berths are transferred to RAC passengers.


3. Confirmed (CNF)--This status indicates a confirmed ticket for the journey.



Image by Nandkishore Kapoor


Within the waiting list category, travellers can be assigned the following quota:


1. GNWL (General Waiting List)--Status for passengers booking a ticket from a station that is at or close to the originating station of the journey.


2. RLWL (Remote Location Waiting List)
--Waiting list for a ticket issued between intermediate stations which are usually the most important on that particular route.


3. RSWL (Roadside Station Waiting List)
--Status for a ticket from the originating station to a road-side station with a restriction on the distance.


Difference Between a General Ticket and a Tatkal Ticket


The booking for a ticket on the Indian Railways opens 60 days in advance from the date of travel. However, travellers can book a ticket a day in advance under the tatkal category for a premium charge under the tatkal quota. The tatkal booking opens at 10 AM a day before the scheduled departure date.


Image by Nandkishore Kapoor


Tips to Keep in Mind While Booking a Ticket


1. If your train departs from its originating destination a day before it reaches your boarding station, the tatkal reservation opens up 2 days in advance.


2. Chances of getting a confirmed ticket can be increased by extending your choice of destination to 2-3 stations ahead of your alighting station.


3. One of the interesting things about Indian Railways is that a female passenger over the age of 45 or a male passenger above the age of 60 travelling alone is automatically assigned a vacant lower berth quota for a confirmed berth.


4. You can take a break in your journey at an intermediate station for a maximum of 2 days if the distance between the intermediate station and the station of origin is more than 500 km.


5. Take advantage of reduced rates if you plan a circular journey where the number of destinations on your journey are between 4 and 8. However, the station of origin and the last destination station on your journey should be same.



Image by Ashwin John


6. Passengers who decide to not travel on a train running late by more than 3 hours can get a full refund on the ticket for cancellation.


7. Install adblockers on your browser for faster access to the IRCTC website.


8. Opt to book in 2A (second AC) first since this category tends to get reserved less quickly than the 3A (third AC) class. This gives you a better chance of getting a confirmed reservation.


9. Enter the passenger details about 10 minutes before the start of the tatkal booking time at 10 AM. Click on ‘Replan’ to go back to the ‘Plan My Journey’ page and try booking exactly at 10 AM. Since the details are filled in, your chances of a confirmed tatkal ticket increase.


10. You can use multiple login credentials through various browsers/laptops to increase your chances of getting a confirmed ticket.


Now you know what to do while booking a ticket on Indian Railways. If you know of any more interesting facts and tips about the Indian Railways, let us know by leaving a comment below. Till then, happy travels!

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