Perplexed by how to make a reservation on Indian railways for travelling in India? Indian Railways requires reservation for travelling on all long distance trains except for Second Class Unreserved.
Recently, a new option of online booking for tickets has also been introduced by Indian Railways. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) provide service for online booking. You can book for online tickets using sites like yatra.com, cleartrip.com or makemytrip.com. They are the B2C providers of web service of IRCTC.
But recently, procedures have changed making it difficult for foreigners to make online bookings. They require an Indian mobile phone number for the verification process.
Here are the steps to make reservations on Indian trains:
- Search the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Inquiry website for number and name of the train you wish to travel. Click on “Services” and under that on “Berth availability”. There are also Indian Railways time tables available online to make reservations easy.
- After locating the site, you must enter details of your travel like train number, journey date, which station you want to embark and which station you want to disembark. You must also enter what class of accommodation you want to travel by like Second Class or First Class. A useful tip is that you can keep all classes open for choice as some classes get filled up easier than other classes.
- If there are no direct trains between stations you have opted for, you will get an “error message”. So, you must return to the site and choose other station names. Now you can enter train number, date of travel and class of travel and make reservations after checking berth availability. One can check the fare and route availability at this point.
- While booking at the counter, you have to fill in the reservation form. Foreigners can approach Tourist Bureaus to make reservations.
- Go to the online Passenger Reservation Site of IRCTC in order to book online. Log inside and submit details of your trip including train number, date of travel and class of travel. Select on the E-tickets and browse “find trains.” Select the train you need and make an online booking. Once you check and confirm that your details are fine, make payment. Select the bank through which you can make payments. For international travellers, an American Express card will do. Once your tickets are processed, take a print out and carry it with you.
- All tickets including online ones are assigned a ten-digit PNR (Passenger Name Record) number. If your tickets have not been confirmed, you may be In RAC (Reservation against Cancellation) or WL (waitlisted). RAC will assure you of a seat on the train but not a berth until someone cancels their ticket. Waitlisted does not give you even a seat and you can cancel the booking except for “Tatkal” scheme, which is an emergency scheme.
- You can check your booking status by going online to the Indian Railways site and checking on “PNR enquiry”. The latest development is that you can check your ticket status through mobile phones where information is exchanged through SMS.
These are some of the tips for making simple, reservations for Indian Railways.