One of the best ways to travel in India is through trains. It offers a proper look into the culture and beauty of India. They are also the most comfortable option available, especially if you have to carry out a long journey. Being one of the largest railway networks in the world, the Indian railways has almost 7000 train stations scattered across the country and can ensure that you reach your destination on time. However, for someone who is not familiar with the system, train ticket booking might be a daunting task. It is always easier to do so once you have the required information.
There are options to book a ticket online or from the train station itself. If a ticket booked online is not confirmed before the departure of the train, the money will be refunded to you. If you choose to book it at the station itself, you have to fill in the name of the departure station, destination station, name and number of the train and the class in which you would like to travel in a reservation slip that you get from the information window. Booking easier is generally the more convenient option.
Common terms and what they mean:
Reserved tickets are those on which you are assigned to a particular seat/berth and a carriage number. You require a reservation for chair car, executive chair car, sleeper, 1AC, 2AC and 3AC compartments in the train. It is generally best to book your tickets well in advance. Once you get the ticket, you can find the carriage number written on the side of the train. There is also a list of names and berths posted on the side of each reserved carriage so it will be easy for you to find the assigned seat.
- Tourist Quota
For certain popular stations, there is a small number of seats that are set apart for tourists. The seats can be paid for in rupees and they require visa and passport as identity proof.
- Tatkal Tickets
The tatkal tickets can be booked from 10am one day before the date of departure. Charges ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 500 are added to this select number of tickets.
- Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC)
A certain number of RAC tickets are sold by the Indian railways. If someone cancels before the date of departure and you have a RAC ticket, you get their berth/seat. Even if you do not get a confirmed seat, you can board the train and travel with the RAC ticket.
You get a waitlist ticket (WL) if the RAC quota has been completed. You can get either a confirmed seat or a RAC ticket depending on the number of cancellations till the date of departure. With a WL ticket, you cannot travel on the train. However, there is a possibility of getting the money paid refunded.
Before booking a ticket online, make sure that you know all the details of your journey. Keep the information about the station names, train numbers and available classes with you so that you can book your desired seat quickly.