Information You Must Know About Indian Railways

Railway Station in UP, India

India is a big country with 29 states and 7 union territories and one thing that connects it, in a true sense, is Indian Railways with its large rail network. Millions of people use trains for their daily transport needs. Indian Railways runs long distanced express trains to connect major cities of the country.

If one is travelling to India and wants to explore its every corner in a much cost-effective way, he must choose railways as transport. It is safe and comfortable than other means. Now, let’s get familiar with some of the basic useful information regarding Indian Railways.

A. Window Ticket Counters at Railway Station:

If you are at railway station and want to book train ticket then you should approach to the window ticket counter. You need to fill all details regarding you and your fellow passengers in a railway reservation form. This form would be provided to you by the ticket booking executive.

You will have to fill information columns like train number, train name, from, to, boarding station etc in the form and some basic information of passengers. Once done, handover this form to booking executive at the other side of the window. He will inform you availability of ticket and once you confirm, he books ticket for you.

B. Online website — IRCTC:

This is the most convenient way of booking Indian train tickets. https://www.irctc.co.in is the official website of Indian Railways for train booking. Indian Railways allows tickets to be booked in advance. Advance reservation period is 120 days. It means you can book tickets in advance up to 120 days through IRCTC website.

In order to use this portal, you will have to first register. After creating an IRCTC account, you need to login. Fill all required information in the form and proceed. Make ticket payments through net banking and debit cards. Once payment is done, your ticket will be booked.

1. What do you mean by WL and RAC?

WL is an acronym for ‘Wait List’ and ‘RAC’ is acronym for ‘Reservation Against Cancellation’. If your ticket is showing ‘booking status’ or ‘current status’ as WL, then it means your ticket is in waitlist and you would not get any reserved seat till current status changes to ‘CNF’ or ‘RAC’. CNF is a short name for confirm.

If your ticket’s current status remains to be RAC till the chart preparation, which generally happens to be 3 hrs before the schedule departure of the train, two passengers will be assigned a single seat. They both will have to share a seat while the journey. In India, this term ‘current status’ is most famously known as ‘PNR status’.

2. How to check PNR status?

The best way to check PNR status, is using an online internet website. One such PNR portal, and widely used by Indians, is Train PNR status. It can be accessed at https://www.trainspnrstatus.com through any web browser app either on the computer or mobile. All you need to do is to enter your 10-digit PNR number and hit get status button.

There are several apps available for android devices on play store to check your current reservation status but I still prefer this website as it is easy and much faster and doesn’t take my phone resources consumed.

3. Can I travel with WL ticket?

No, if you have booked your ticket through IRCTC website. IRCTC waitlist tickets, if not confirmed before the chart preparation, get cancelled automatically and refund is processed within two or three days.

Yes, if tickets are booked from window counters and coach class is either sleeper SL or 3A. Though you are allowed to enter in a coach, you would not get any seat to sit. If passengers with reserved seat, don’t allow to sit, ticket checker may ask you to get down from the train.

4. What is the helpline number of Indian Railways?

Any query regarding rail enquiry is handled through 193. One can call to this number and talk to operator. Indian Railways has an official twitter account and one can ask for any emergency help by tweeting to them.

5. Is there any special facility of ticket booking allowed to foreign nationals?

Yes, International Tourist Bureau has been set up by Indian Railways at Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Agra-Cantt, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Secunderabad. Duty of the this ITB is to provide assistance to the foreign tourists regarding inquiries, booking, reservation and travel planning etc.

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