Train travel in India can be very confusing and daunting for people who are inexperienced and uninitiated. The process of seat reservation is also not very straightforward with so many classes and abbreviations at hand. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions to make train travel much easier for you.
What is meant by Advance Reservation Period?
This is the time frame allotted to book tickets in advance. Since 2015, the time frame has been increased to 120 days from 60 days. But, certain trains (like Superfast Taj Express) do not have such a long advance reservation period.
In case of foreigners, the period is 365 days. But, it would only apply to Executive, 2AC, and 1AC classes with respect to Tejas, Gatimaan, Shatabdi, Rajdhani, and mail express trains. This facility would not be available in case of Sleeper or 3AC classes. An international mobile number will be necessary to verify your account.
How to make an online reservation?
Long distance trains require reservations for all classes, except the second class. You can get the booking done through various online websites and portals as they tend to be more user-friendly. After making your reservation, you can check your PNR status, railway running status, etc. online.
Make note that you can only purchase six tickets with the help of a single ID.
Since 2016, foreign travelers are allowed to pay and reserve tickets online through railway websites with the help of their international cards. But, a verified account is mandatory for making payments. Your international phone number and registered email address will be necessary for verifying the account. Many websites accept international credit and debit cards as well. But, it may not be applicable for all trains.
How can a foreigner buy tickets at the railway station?
The major stations are equipped with special ticketing offices, named Passenger Reservation Centres/International Tourist Bureaus, for foreigners. Visit these offices in the specific stations and present your passport to book your ticket.
What is meant by RAC?
RAC stands for “Reservation against Cancellation”. This category will let you board the train along with a guarantee to sit somewhere, but may not provide the facility to sleep. Berths might be given to RAC holders if another passenger does not show up or cancels the ticket.
What is meant by WL?
WL stands for “Waiting List”. This category lets you book a ticket. Though, you would not be allowed to board the train if there haven’t been enough cancellations to allow you the RAC status.
How to make reservations using the Foreign Tourist Quota?
There is a special quota only for the foreign tourists to make sure they are able to get reservations in popular trains. Earlier, tickets under the Foreign Tourist Quota could be booked only by a person from the International Tourist Bureaus in India.
But, according to a new policy introduced in 2017, foreigners would be allowed to make reservations under the quota with the help of a verified international mobile number registered with their accounts.