Saturday, February 05, 2011

Few Tips for Passengers who Travel by Train

After the Indian Army, I feel the Railway department is the one which does not disclose anything to the general public. It is very difficult to find out on what basis, the tickets are allotted and on what basis the waiting list tickets are confirmed. Many times, eventhough, I had booked the ticket very early, My ticket was not confirmed. Where as, others' ticket got confirmed eventhough they had booked just few days before. I could gather some information on this, but, still there is much more that is hidden.

In each train, the seats are allotted to different railway zones based on some hidden criteria. In each railway zone, the major cities get some quota based on some other hidden criteria. And, there are different waiting lists like, (General) Waiting List, Pooled Quota Waiting List, Remote Location Waiting List, Request Waiting List etc., which are not trivial to understand.

Break Journey

If you are traveling from A to B, and if you are not getting confirmed ticket, then break the journey at a major station between A to B, or at a station where the railway zone changes just before or after. Book two tickets, one from A to that station, and another from that station to B for the same train. That may have more chances to get confirmed ticket. When compared to long journeys, short journeys have more chances of confirming.

If you are traveling by Charminar express from Chennai to Secunderabad, and if you don't get confirmed ticket, then try from Chennai to Gudur and Gudur to Secunderabad. This has more chances of getting confirmed ticket, or less waiting list number than Chennai to Secunderabad. Chennai is in Southern Railway zone, and Gudur and Secunderabad are in South Central Railway zone. There are different quotas from Gudur to Secunderabad and Chennai to Secunderabad. The quota from Chennai to Secunderabad is used up very soon, where as the quota from Gudur to Secunderabad is relatively not used up so soon. So, there are more chances of clearing. You can apply the same logic for Tatkal as well.

Extend Journey

If you want to go from Chennai to Vijayawada by Howrah Express, it is very difficult to get a confirmed ticket unless you book atleast a month in advance. Even tatkal also would be filled up within half an hour to one hour. But, if you book the ticket from Tambaram to Vijayawada, then you will get the confirmed ticket easily. That train has different quotas for Chennai and Tambaram. Many people travel from Chennai and it is difficult to get confirmed ticket from Chennai. Whereas, from Tambaram, not that many people travel, so, you can get the confirmed ticket easily.

The extension of journey is useful, only if you can get a confirmed ticket at the time of booking. If you get waiting list, be very cautious. The waiting list from small stations would be cleared in different way, and the waiting list won't go down like how it goes if you have booked normally. In case of this type of booking, if I get waiting list ticket, I will not depend on that, since, it has very less chance of clearing, because of less quota.

This is mainly useful in case of Tatkal quota. For Tatkal quota, in the main line, the quota would be filled up by 8.15 - 8.30 AM on the opening day. Where as, if you extend the journey, you would get some more time.

Book two tickets, in case of RAC or Waiting List

At the time of booking, if the status is waiting list or RAC, and if you would like to travel comfortably, then book two tickets per person. At the time of chart preparation, if that becomes RAC, then two passengers would be allotted one berth. So, you would get a berth. Before chart preparation, you can check the status, and if it is confirmed, then you can cancel one. After the chart preparation, if both are confirmed, then it is a long procedure to cancel just one ticket.

Tatkal for the trains that start after midnight

If the train that you are traveling starts little after midnight, and if that station is not the starting station, then for the previous station for which starting time is before midnight, the tatkal quota would be opened one day before your starting station. You can book the ticket three days before (instead of the usual two days for Tatkal) from the previous station.

In case your starting station and the previous station have the same quota for the journey, then you must book from the previous station (unless, there are vacant berths even after one day). For example, Chennai express departs from Ongole for Chennai little after mid night, and from Guntur, it departs little before midnight. The tatkal quota is opened for Guntur one day before Ongole, and both have same quota to Chennai. On the first day, if the quota from Guntur is used up, then there will not be any berths available by the time tatkal is opened for Ongole. In this case, if you want to travel from Ongole, you have to book the ticket from Guntur three days before.

If you are booking the ticket at the railway counter

If you are booking ticket for which the starting station is in different railway zone, and if the ticket is in waiting list state, then think twice before booking it. I feel, it is just waste of money. It will not be confirmed so easily. If the starting station is in the same railway zone as the booking counter where the ticket was booked, then it would be given much higher preference than the ticket booked outside the railway zone. Once, I booked a ticket at a booking counter in different zone one month before and it was not confirmed. Another person booked in the same zone (for the same train and route), just 4 days before, and it was confirmed.

I don't know how it works online. When I booked wait listed ticket, I got all the possibilities like Waiting List, Pooled Queue Waiting List (PQWL), Remote Location Waiting List (RLWL). What I observed was, except General Waiting List, everything else would clear very slowly. So, if you get waiting List no.of 10 in RLWL or PQWL, don't be happy. At the time of chart preparation it may stop at 2 or 3, where as general waiting list 40 may be confirmed.

If you want to travel by somebody else's confirmed ticket

If the chart has not been prepared for that train

Then book another ticket for that train for yourself, even if the waiting list number is very big. With that ticket, you can board the reservation compartment. Make sure to mark the confirmed ticket with TTE (may be by somebody else, and not by yourself). With the waiting list ticket that you have, you can travel without any problem in the reservation compartment, and with the confirmed ticket, you can have berth.

If the chart has been prepared or even the waiting list tickets are not issued.

In this case, you need help of somebody else who is traveling in the same compartment. Take a general ticket, and make sure that, TTE is not aware that, you have a confirmed ticket. Mark the confirmed ticket by somebody else, and don't appear to TTE at all. In case, if you have to face TTE, face him at a different berth and ask him for a berth. He will say, there are no berths available (unless you are traveling on Diwali night). When he is not around, just go and sleep in the exact same berth that was allotted to that confirmed ticket. Don't try to change the berths unless those were also marked by the TTE and the actual ticket holders of that berth are around.

Technically, in these cases, TTE can twist in whatever way he wants. If you have only a general ticket, then TTE can impose fine of Rs.250 and the reservation charges for that route. However, if TTE is allotting a berth to you, he would collect only the reservation charges (and some bribe). If the TTE comes to know that, you have a confirmed ticket of somebody else, then, he will ask you for the maximum fine. The TTE just won't listen, if you ask him to allot the berth that was confirmed on the other ticket. Finally, you will be end up paying bribe which is more than the technically possible fine.

You are an educated person. Don't you know that it is computerized?

If you start arguments with any of the railway officials on anything on the tickets, their reply would be the above only. But, the fact is, till the time of chart preparation, the railway officials can change many things. They can give you a confirmed ticket, they can confirm your waiting list ticket, they can change the names of the ticket, and they can change the boarding station from a completely different place. All are possible. But, you cannot approach them directly. You need to go through the appropriate brokers for that.

TTE can do, if you are ready to pay enough

After the chart preparation, TTE can arrange the berth, if you are willing to pay enough. Almost all the long journey trains have atleast three TTEs for different compartments. If the TTE is allotted to the compartments which have the quota of tickets from the starting station to the last station, then he may not be able to help you that much. But, other TTEs would be able to help you, if you are willing to pay enough.

Delay in Train Timings are as Designed in Small Railway Stations

When the railway department publishes the timings of the trains, the most important requirement for them is, no train departs before the published departure time. It is also not possible for the trains to travel with the uniform speed everyday. When they publish the timings, they fix the timings at the important stations by the average in the last few months. Between the two important stations, the (published) timings are distributed in such a way that, it appears that, the train travels very fast for the first 75-80% of the journey, and goes very slowly for the rest of the 20-25% of the journey. By that way, the train never departs before the published departure time. If the train reaches an important station little early, they can let it wait till the published departure time. Whereas, they cannot do that for small stations. That's why there is discrepancy in the published times and actual times at small railway stations. This also gives the impression to the passengers that, initially, the train was late, but the train driver managed to reach the destination on time. Where as, everything was as designed. If you have to board a train at a small station, and if you are late, don't change the plan of your commute immediately. Check whether the train had already left from that station or not, and then only change your plan.

I think one can easily do a Ph.D. on the Railway reservation system.

64 comments:

  1. worth reading. I have had some kind of experience with the TATKAL quota. It's useless to book a ticket with Tatkal waiting list. GL waiting list has more preference over TATKAL and whoever booked TATKAL tickets won't cancel their tickets as money will not get refunded.

    Anyway, you have posted good tips and analysis on Indian railways ticketing system.

    /Srinivas

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  2. If my understanding is correct, Tatkal waiting list has more preference over general waiting list. i.e., Tatkal waiting list is cleared from the general quota as well.

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    Replies
    1. noo..tatkal WL ticket gets confirmed against the tatkal quota seats only.

      Delete
  3. can i book tatkal ticket of bilaspur to bbsr from jabalpur station which is another zone

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  4. You can book any ticket from any place to anywhere from anywhere. It is just that, if you book from other zone, and if it has different quota, then the waiting list may clear slowly.

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  5. very useful information.........
    thanks

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  6. i have booked in tatkal to jaipur.wl was 10 and bye 7 pm chart i sprepared , wl is 3 now ,i am travelling first time,confused, will it get confirmed.i will board today 12 nignt.reply asap

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  7. suggest what to do when tatkal tickets are in waiting list.will they confirm.how to get a berth for such a long journey.

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  8. If you have e-ticket, with waiting list at the time of chart preparation, then you cannot board the train, because, the ticket would be cancelled. If it is i-ticket, or normal ticket, then you can board, and have to talk to TTE for the berth.

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  9. thank you,this is my first ever long journey,
    got useful info from your blog.

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  10. i wanted to book a tatkal ticket . My journey starts from thalassery at 12.35 pm . The train originates from mangalore from around 8pm . Date of my journey is 16/8. Train originates on 15/8. So what is the best way for me to book a tatkal ticket ? Will i not a get a ticket because if others book tatkal tickets from other stations early because me my timing problem ? i wanted to book a tatkal ticket . My journey starts from thalassery at 12.35 pm . The train originates from mangalore from around 8pm . Date of my journey is 16/8. Train originates on 15/8. So what is the best way for me to book a tatkal ticket ? Will i not a get a ticket because if others book tatkal tickets from other stations early because me my timing problem ?

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  11. Since your journey starts at 12.35 PM, I don't think you have an option of booking from the previous station. Because, if you book from previous station, then you have to travel more than 26 hours unnecessarily. The quota at each area depends on many factors. In the example that I used, it has same quota, so, it would not be available. Check whether your train quota is like that or not. Since, your train is starting at 12.35 PM, I guess it would have some quota.

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  12. If your previous station is near by, and can go there, then you can try from there.

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  13. I have RLWL 1 (remote location waiting list) in a train(3rd AC) running from mumbai ... I will board from VAPI to dDelhi ..what are my chances of getting cleared !!!

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  14. Very Useful Information. Thank You. You seem to have earned a Ph.D, Professor.

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  15. how much time before we can get the general ticket ? Before train start time ?

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  16. You can get general ticket at any time. There is no time restriction on general tickets.

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  17. Hi,
    can u pls any one suggest me that about tatkal waiting list ticket clearance rules.
    my Tatkal WL status now 4 from booked time.
    my journey date on thursday 20/oct/2011.
    which WL tikets first clear Normal or Tatkal?

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  18. awaiting ur response sir.
    want to also let u know my ticket in sleeper class.

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  19. My understanding is, Tatkal WL is cleared first. Eventhough, Railway department does not say anything about it. But, from my experience, Tatkal has better chance of clearance.

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  20. I am about share, my recent experience.
    i had to book tickets from pune to mysore on dis 21st(booking resumed on this date)for the journey on 21jan 2012. But, all seats were booked within a span of 20-30 minutes soon as the bookings opened. i am still confused on this is possible!! how can 1000 people be sure with their date of travel 3 months before ? this is spooky. Has anybody ever experienced this situation ?
    somewhere somehow, there must a monkey business goin on.

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  21. Himanshu garu,
    This happens during any major festival season. Most of the brokers reserve as many seats as possible, and when anybody requests them to get a ticket, they would ask the railway authority to change the name and other details in the ticket and sell them to those. This has been happening for many decades. But, if you go and ask them, they would say, "Everything is computerized. You are educated. Don't you know that?".

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  22. Can CKWL3 and CKWL4 will get confirm in Chennai Dadar Express for 6th Oct 11. When the Chart will be prepared for the Train, it starts from Egmore by 6.50am.

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  23. i have booked a e ticket from bhusawal to kalyan....with pooled quota waiting list of 62. Then are there any chances of confirmation and yes today i saw the current status it shows wl /51.....and my date of journey is 30 december 2011?????ply reply ...!!!

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  24. my ticket has been waitlisted W/L 40 southern railway anathapuri express.how to know whether that e.ticket is automatically cancelled..after chart preparation ?? it is showing as delivered in booked history. so i need to file a TDR to get the refund or it will automatically refunded ? please help me

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  25. After the chart preparation, if you go to booked history and check PNR status of that ticket, you would come to know whether it is confirmed or cancelled. If it is cancelled, you will automatically get refund. You don't need to file anything.

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  26. nice n very useful article. just one question. which of rac general and tatkal wl gets cleared first.

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  27. Officially, they claim that, they have different quotas for both, and if the tickets in their respective quota is cancelled, then that is used to clear RAC/Tatkal. But, it seems, the tatkal is cleared up faster than others.

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  28. I booked sleeper class ticket in tatkal quota with waiting list 70 if my ticket is not confirmed after chart is prepared then im eligible for board the train or not? If im not eligible then my money is refund or not?? Plz tel me sir

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  29. I booked sleeper class ticket in tatkal quota with waiting list 70 if my ticket is not confirmed after chart is prepared then im eligible for board the train or not? If im not eligible then my money is refund or not?? Plz tel me sir

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  30. I booked sleeper class ticket in tatkal quota with waiting list 70 if my ticket is not confirmed after chart is prepared then im eligible for board the train or not? If im not eligible then my money is refund or not?? Plz tel me sir

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  31. I booked sleeper class ticket in tatkal quota with waiting list 70 if my ticket is not confirmed after chart is prepared then im eligible for board the train or not? If im not eligible then my money is refund or not?? Plz tel me sir

    ReplyDelete
  32. I booked sleeper class ticket in tatkal quota with waiting list 70 if my ticket is not confirmed after chart is prepared then im eligible for board the train or not? If im not eligible then my money is refund or not?? Plz tel me sir

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  33. How to convert a general ticket to a eligible for journey ticket for long rout trains? By paying fine ? What cost according to distance.

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  34. You need to talk to TTE first before boarding the train. If you don't talk to the TTE, and if you board, then, he may ask you to get down at the next station.

    You may need to pay fine of Rs.250 + the reservation charges for that route.

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  35. how wating list is cleared in running train.
    by money and only by money!!!!!
    is there any way that all the waiting list are cleared as per WL No.??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RACs are cleared according to their no.s ...for WL ticket u will probably have to give bribe

      Delete
  36. how to know the status of waitlisted tickets of previous dates train except going to station ?

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  37. Can we change the boarding station for tatkat tickets?

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  38. Did railway personel keep in consideration on preparation of chart that two womens must be accomodated in one coupe/ cabin in case of AC first class or not? Plz guide me

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  39. we have booked 3 tickets from kharagpur to vijayawada and journey date is 9-5-2012 and in ticket its given as pqwl 6,7,8 i mean pooled quota are there any chances of getting confirmed pls reply and guide me

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  40. yup tatkal quota have more preference then GL

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  41. I have booked a ticket from Delhi to Gorakhpur in sleeper class, and till chart preparation the waiting is WL/32, can i board a same train.

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  42. hi i booked a ticket in 3rd AC from Bangalore to New Delhi in July for 8th Nov, it was 64/65 waiting list at that time, Now its 48/49.... so wat are the chances of it getting confirmed... i am travelling by Karnataka Express (7:20 pm)

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  43. I've tatkal eticket which is waitlisted 1 and the chart has already prepared.. can i travel in reservation compartment?

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  44. Two Month before i booked a train ticket from Chennai to Bang and while booking it was PQWL 20 and 21 and still after 2 month it's was in that same state. so pls don't wait if your ticket is in PQWL state thinking my ticket will get confirmed.. kindly try for other options.

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  45. can we board the train with waiting list ticket and i had booked it in a counter bt in in the station i had booked it in a bda complex railway counter so can i board the train.....

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  46. If my RLWL is 15, on the day of journey, will I be able to travel with same ticket? Or should I cancel and book a general ticket?

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  47. pnr number2708958807 waiting list 6
    will my seat confirm or not?can i board in a.c. coach with waitng list ticket and can sit with anybody?can someone can travell

    pnr number return journey 8206421488

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. pnr number2708958807 waiting list 6
      will my seat confirm or not?can i board in a.c. coach with waitng list ticket and can sit with anybody?can someone can travell in sleeper class with a.c. class ticket?

      pnr number return journey 8206421488

      Delete
  48. i have booked ticket from villupuram to egmore in 3A, could i get down in tambaram and board local suburban train in first class compartment and get down in guindy station.

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  49. I have booked the ticket in train no. 12247 through reservation counter and it is in waiting which is not likely to get confirmed. Can I board the train with that waiting ticket. Please reply.

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  50. RLWL60/WL56 my waiting list can my ticket get confirmed?

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  51. If i want to travel with someone else's confirmed ticket as you mentioned under the same heading then how TTE will mark that confirmed ticket because he asks for the same person and his ID only, and how he will allow you to travel on that ticket, won't he take any extra money.
    please reply

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  52. If you are travelling alone, then, it won't work. If you are travelling with others, then you can manage by not appearing in front of the TTE.

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  53. my friend booked tatkal ticket for me, from delhi to bangalore at bangalore reservation counter and it is confirmed, can i travel without ticket?

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  54. i buked a tiket on 3rd june... it was wl 44 at dat tym....train no.12150 patna pune exp 4m patna to pune...... da date of journey is 18th june...curent status is wl 16......will it get confirmed..... plz do reply asap...

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  55. Very useful information..but please keep this updated.

    Kushagra

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  56. yesterday i booked a ticket from BZA-ROU on IRCTC..in MAS-ASN superfast status:PQWL30 DOJ:19/10/2013... is there any chance of conformation??? and how many waiting lists are there in between two stations i mentioned??? PQWL30 means WL 30??? or not...my friends are saying PQWL comes after GNWL,RLwl,etc...i want to know... whether IRCTC display( between two particular stations) PQWL after GNWL,RLWL, etc..or only one WL is displayed between two particular stations???

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  57. Need help..I have a confirmed ticket (3AC) for Howrah from Bangalore for October 2013..However, my friend has a big waiting list..Can he board the train with me if his is not confirmed since I can share my berth with him??
    Is that possible??

    Thanks
    Sanjeev

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  58. Hallo

    I booked 2 train tickets AC 1st class from Gondia to Kolkata 60 day in advance.
    One is confirmed and second is WL#1. If by any chance the second ticket is not confirmed Can the secod ticket owner board the train and share berth
    If I buy a onother AC 1st class ticket from Mumbai to Kolkata (same train still available) can make use of this ticket from Gondia?
    Quick answer will be great aprecieted.
    Thank you in advance
    Please fast answer if possible

    ReplyDelete