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Ticketing Services in Indian Railways and How to Book Them?

Indian Railways has played an important role in developing the transportation medium in India and brought a revolution in the field of transportation and commutation. Amazingly, there were almost 40 to 45 trains functioning in India before Independence, and today the total count of trains has increased to 14,300 which are running on the railway track every day. With a rapid development of railway routes and facilities in the country, the number of passengers have also increased in the same proportion.

Almost 90% of the general public prefers train rather than any other mode transportation to commute. An authorized ticket provided by Indian Railways is necessary to travel via rail transportation. With the increasing number of passengers, booking of train ticket in advance has also become a pre-requisite for traveling. Booking tickets in advance has higher probability to get a confirm berth of your choice. To handle such vast number of passengers and to reduce the crowd from the reservation windows, Indian Railways has came up, a step further, by introducing an online ticket reservation system in the year 2000.

What is the train ticket reservation system?
Train ticket reservation system is an arrangement done by the Indian Railways through which any passenger who wants to travel via train will have to pay a fare from the source station to destination station. The types of ticket available are general class ticket (without reservation) and reserve tickets (in which the passengers get a confirm berth). Indian Railways has an efficient database management system which manages ticketing of passengers by providing a unique PNR number to the passengers who book their train tickets.

What is PNR and its Relevance
PNR is a 10 digit unique code provided to the passengers who have made a booking through Indian Railways for train travel assurance. This PNR system contains all the information about the passenger such as name, source and destination station, coach/seat number, date of journey, etc. Passengers can also check PNR status to get to know about the train position, berth conformation, berth number, etc. The PNR number also helps in ordering online food in train by IRCTC e-catering services. In other words, PNR is the main element of your train ticket reservation.

How to Reserve your Train Ticket
Passengers can reserve their ticket from PRS (passenger reservation system) center at the nearest railway station or you can use internet services to book your railway ticket through the online ticket reservation system introduced by IRCTC.

Offline Ticket Booking: A Simple Method to Reserve your Train Ticket
Offline railway ticket booking services refers to the reservation made through PRS counters at the station.

Method:

  • Visit your nearest railway station
  • Spot the reservation counter
  • Fill the reservation form detailing about your journey. The details required are preferred train name, number, date of journey, source and destination station names, coach class (AC/Sleeper), name of the passenger, age, preferred berth, etc.
  • Fill your personal details such as name, age, gender, the number of passengers, mobile number, e-mail ID (If any), etc.
  • Make your payment through cash. PRS counters accept only cash as a mode of payment. However, there are separate counter available for payment through Credit /Debit Card.
  • The reservation clerk will hand you a computer generated ticket in which the details of journey are mentioned.

Counter Ticket Cancellation
Due to any unavoidable reasons; if you are about to cancel your journey ticket, then you can approach at the nearest PRS counter for the same. Fill in the cancellation requisition form and head towards the counter. The reservation clerk will cancel the ticket and refund you the ticket amount after deducting cancellation charges.

Method

  • Fill in the ticket cancellation form, providing them all the details of your journey.
  • Attach your paper ticket along with the application.
  • Submit it to the PRS counter.
  • Get the refund done at the counter only during the fixed hour of time.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • A fully confirmed ticket can be canceled at the counter before 4 hours of the train scheduled arrival/departure at the source station.
  • Cancellation charges are applied according to the railway rules, rest of the amount is refunded.
  • One can also cancel the counter ticket through online method only if a registered number is given during the time of booking tickets through counter. However, the refund can be claimed at the original PRS counter only from where the ticket was booked.

Online Ticket Booking
IRCTC has launched an online ticket booking portal to book railway tickets online. You need to register on the portal and you will be provided with a user ID and password. You can book your ticket by logging into your IRCTC account.


Method

  • Log on to your IRCTC account
  • Select source and destination station along with the date of journey.
  • Select the specified trains
  • Check the ticket availability according to your preferred coach class
  • After selection of the train and ticket availability, enter your personal details.
  • Fill the name of the passengers, number of the passenger, Age, gender details; select your berth preference and meal preference. (In case of Rajdhani and Duranto). You can also order food in train from IRCTC e-catering system to receive fresh and tasty food.
  • Payment is the final gateway after these above-mentioned details.
  • Make payment using your online banking, credit or debit card, or by digital wallets.
  • You will be generated an e-ticket and you will receive ticket details via message on your registered mobile number and e-mail Id.

You can also print your e-ticket from the pdf file for your journey ticket.

(Note: You don’t need to attach any softcopy of your ID proof at the time of ticket reservation. The portal will ask you to enter the details of the identity proof. However, you need to carry your original Government Identity proof with you during your journey.)

Cancellation of Online reserved ticket

  • Log into your IRCTC account
  • Go to the booked ticket section
  • Select the ticket to be canceled
  • Follow through the procedures to cancel your ticket
  • Cancellation charges applied and the rest of the amount is returned to the original source of payment through which ticket was booked.

The ticket reservation system has enabled the passengers to book their tickets in advance. The passengers can book their tickets 120 days prior (4 months) to the date of journey.

Cancelation Charges of Train Tickets:

  • Rs. 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class
  • Rs.200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class
  • Rs. 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair car/AC 3 Economy
  • Rs.120 for Sleeper Class
  • Rs.60 for Second Class

If you have planned a journey and want to book railway tickets in advance, then you can book your train ticket beforehand for assuring a confirmed ticket. In case, if your ticket is in the waitlist of in RAC mode; you can check your PNR status to get the updates of your berth confirmation. You can also order food in train using your PNR number to avail the fresh and tasty food in train.