Puzzled about how to make a reservation in Indian Railways? There’s that one way where you stand in queue for about three or more hours and still not sure that you’re going to get the reservation done. That’s little Old-School. Now Indian Railways provides you with a wide range of trains, to travel for different distances for all classes of accommodations, just a few clicks away. This post will assist you through the process.
A new online booking service for Indian Railways trains is available. It’s very user friendly but a 1.8% service charge is imposed on the cost of the train fare.
Also see: Google Maps: Find a Hotel on Your Route
Here’s How To:
1. Find the name and number of the train you want to travel on by going to the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Inquiry website i.e. http://www.indianrail.gov.in/. Click on “Train Berth Availability” under “Services”.
2. Enter the particulars i.e. name of the station you want to depart from and the station you want to travel to, your journey date, and class of accommodation.
3. If there are no trains running directly between the stations you’ve selected, you’ll get an error message and you’ll need to try some different station names.
4. Check the availability:
- If there are no berths available on your particular train, the availability will show as Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC). You can still book a ticket and you’ll be given a seat on the train, but not necessarily a berth unless there are enough cancellations.
- If the train is fully occupied, Availability will be shown as Waitlist (WL). If you book a ticket in the waitlist queue, you won’t be allowed to board the train unless there are enough cancellations for a seat or berth to become available.
5. Also you can check the fare and route.
6. Once you’ve found a suitable train to travel on, go to the IRCTC Online Passenger Reservation Site i.e. https://www.irctc.co.in/ and register. Log in and then enter the station specifics of your travel, date of travel, and class of travel. Select e-ticket option and click on “Find Trains”.
7. Select your train from the list that appears on the page and click on “Book Ticket”. Complete the e-reservation form and click on “Go”. You’ll be shown the details of your booking.
8. If you’re okay with it, click on “Make Payment”. Choose the bank that you want to use to process your payment. Your transaction will be processed and you’ll be provided with a booking confirmation. Print this out and carry it with you when you travel.
9. All bookings are assigned a 10 digit PNR number. If you’re listed as RAC or WL, you can check the status of your booking on the Indian Railways website i.e. http://www.indianrail.gov.in/ by clicking on “PNR inquiry”, then entering your number and clicking on the “Get PNR status” button.
Things to Remember:
1. Bookings should be made as far in advance as possible (up to 60 days before departure, now changed to 180 days), especially during the busiest traveling times i.e. either the summer vacations or the winter holidays. Or else, you’ll need to be flexible about your travel dates and times, and class of accommodation.
2. It’s recommended that you book your tickets online. However, the IRCTC reservation website can be slow and temperamental. If you happen to get an error message (such as “service unavailable”), try refreshing your browser and start all over again.
3. Sometimes the station name doesn’t reflect the place name, so just look up the station’s code which will require some research. You can do this by using the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Inquiry website in the “View Codes” section.
4. Indian Railways has a number of quota schemes. Last minute bookings are allowed through a “Tatkal” quota on some of trains, where berths are released for reservation 24 hours in advance. The availability of quotas can be checked when you check the availability of your desired train on the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Inquiry website.
5. Cancellations happen habitually, mostly in the 24 hours before departure. If you’re waitlisted, you’ll have the best chance of getting a berth in the sleeper class and if you’re lucky, you might also get berth in the AC coach.
6. Identity proof like Passport, PAN card, Driving License and Debit/Credit cards might come in handy.