Booking Train Tickets for Travel in India -All You Need To Know
India is known world over for the longest and most covered Railways Network. Travel has evolved over the generations in India. Train travel is one of the most significant means of travel for the common man. Especially as people travel long distances for their everyday work and studies. People prefer to travel by train for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is that there is overnight stay in trains when compared to buses. Another reason is that the Indian Railways Network connects a lot of places with more than 7000 railway stations across the country. Here, in this article we have given useful information on trains, bookings tickets, and etc.
The Indian railways has evolved from the beginning of time. Now there are not only more railway stations and increased number of trains but there is much more. The Indian Railway Bookings system has completely gone digital. From booking advance tickets to much more, there is everything that you can do online. Here are some important links to check on the latest railway details.
Booking Train Tickets : http://enquiry.indianrail.gov.in/
Online Train In India : https://www.erail.in/
There are several ways to book train tickets. You can use the services of a travel agency or even a hotel. As mentioned earlier in the article you can also book online. The official website for IRCTC is https://www.irctc.co.in. This is the simplest way to book train tickets. Payments are accepted through MasterCard & Visa.
Note: – Even though the online method of booking tickets seems very easy and simple it comes with its own disadvantages too. Several travelers who booked tickets online have also reported problems while registering and making a payment too. Major train stations have trained staff who speak English. They assist in booking train reservations. The small train stations’ station master as well as his deputy speak English. There are tourist offices to provide assistance and advice for tourists.
There is also a limit on the number of train tickets that you can book online. An individual can book six train tickets in a specified calendar month. You can still go head and purchase a train ticket in person if you have to travel more number of times.
Refunds of train tickets are given in some instances. For example, in case you are on waitlist after booking a ticket online, however, it is not confirmed while the train leaves the destination. In this case you may get a refund to the credit card used to make the payment. In this case, the ticket does not have value.
Booking Train Tickets at Railway Station in India
At the station, there is an information window from where you can get a reservation slip. Fill up the details that include Departure Station Name, Destination Railway Station, the Class Compartment that you wish to travel your train journey. Enter the name of train and train number too. You will have to wait your turn in a long line. This is a famous sight anywhere in the country. Once your turn arrives your ticket will be printed at the ticket window. There is an individual queue for females but this is not there sometimes.
Booking Tickets at Tourist Reservation Bureau
In major cities and popular tourist places there are international tourist bureaus where you can purchase tourist quota seats on specific train classes. This is a peaceful place to book tickets in peace of mind.
You can book a reservation Executive Chair car, chair-car, sleeper, 1stAC, 2ndAC and 3rdAC compartments. However this must be done at least 6 months prior as they close 180 days before departure. For General Compartments/ 2nd Class reservations are not needed as you can occupy a seat as you alight the train.
- It is always best to book train tickets earliest possible because it is one of the busiest modes of transport. This should be done especially in the case of overnight journeys. During major festival additional services may be available to specific destinations.
- When you book a reservation tickets important information like carriage number and seat or berth to occupy is given there. the side of the train displays the carriage number. the side of each reserved carriage also displays a list of names and berth reservations.
- Although ticket refunds are available there are strict rules with penalty applicable. So do check while booking.
- Trains are subject to delay due to various reasons during the journey. So, it is advisable to plan wise and give time for journeys.
Even though it is a small tourist quota there is a special quota for foreign tourists who travel in between major stations. However there are few dedicated reservation offices in a few major cities. You may be required to display important travel documents like passport and visas. You will have to pay for the ticket in Indian Rupees while few offices request a foreign exchange certificates.
Apart from 1st AC class there are a few tickets in various train classes in key trains chargeable from rs. 10/- to rs. 500/- called tatkal tickets released at 10 am a day prior to departure.
RAC – Reservation Against Cancellation
There are a few seats available against reservation against cancellation. When a cancellation happens prior to departure date you can get the canceled seat/ berth with an RAC ticket. Check out reservation list at the railway station on departure day to check if there is an allocated seat or berth.
WL – Wait-list
There is no stop to the number of tickets, in case there isn’t any more RAC quota there is a WL marked ticket meaning a waitlisted ticket. This is in case there are sufficient cancellations then you can move up to get a berth or RAC seat.
Note: – The WL alone does not allow you to board the train. You have to enter your PNR number. Enter this information online @rbs.indianrail.gov.in/pnr_Enq.html/. Enquire about this at the ticket office.
Prices & Train Ticket Rates
There are several indian rail networks through every corner of the country. They have seats to accommodate all budget types. It also depends on the class you travel in. The different types of compartments in trains are 1ST AC (Air-Conditioned 1st Class) (most expensive), 2ND AC (Air-Conditioned 2-Tier), 3RD AC (Air-Conditioned 3-Tier), ECC (AC Executive Chair), CC (AC Chair), sl or Sleeper Class, II/SS or 2S (Unreserved /Reserved 2nd Class) (Least Expensive).
Other factors like distance also contributes to the train fare. If they are popular express trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express fares are a bit higher. There are some discounts for sr. citizens and children too.
There are super Fare Finder online @https://www.indiarailiannfo.com/ & @erail.in. Simply input the two destinations to pull results of list of trains
Other Important Booking Facts
The train class compartments are not available on all trains in Indian Railways.
Generally, bookings are open 120 days before journey departure subject to change.
Most long distance trains have General Compartments with unreserved seating.
Reserved compartment are comparably more comfortable with sleeper berths to sleep on overnight journeys.
Famous Online booking Sites
International: @www.cleartrip.com only accepts international MasterCard / Visa credit cards.
Indian Railways: IRCTC –www.irctc.co.in Government portal for online bookings for regular trains / luxury tourist trains. Accepts MasterCard /Visa for payments.
Make My Trip : www.makemytrip.com Private Agency that requires IRCTC User ID Accepts International Cards.
For Booking Information
http://erail.in/ – Pulls up info for classes and fares on all trains between selected destinations.
Reservations are required for executive chair-car, chair-car, sleeper, 1AC, 2AC and 3AC. reservations are not required for general compartments /2nd class.
Indian Railways has train pass that allows unlimited rail travel for a specific duration. This could be from as little as half a day to a quarterly / 90 days pass. Reservations remain a must though. For more details visit https://www.indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/.
Travel in Luxury like a King
Get treated like an ancient king of india in world class luxury train tours of India with amenities like bar/ spa/ lounge/ & international cuisine on board.
- Palace on Wheels offers 7N /8D luxury tours of Rajasthan. It is best to book 10 months in advance.
- Maharajas’ Express has Royal 4 Days to 8 Days luxury trips between September – April.
- Deccan Odyssey Luxury travel around Maharashtra and Goa.
- Golden Chariot offers week long luxury tours seeing of most famous ancient southern spots in India between October – March.