I was recently asked to book tickets for my parents’ journey to Goa and I found it a little tricky as compared what it actually should be. The Indian Rail has evolved and is slowly yet steadily becoming more and more consumer friendly but being a govt. entity it still carries along with the hassles of the same.
A very brief over view and points to remember:
- Booking timings – 5:00 AM to 11:30 PM.
- For Tatkal booking login only after 8:00 AM.
- Login at irctc.co.in.
- Search the stations from the button.
- Online PNR number based status checking timing – 4:00 AM to 11:30 PM.
- To check the Status of a ticket, visit traininquiry.com.
The more descriptive & decorated post:
First & foremost, to book a ticket online you will need to get an account on the Indian Rail site, here is the fundamental mistake number 1.
For customer booking you have to go to irctc.co.in and not irctc.com which has the Employee login.
Next important thing to remember is the Booking Timing, which is the mistake #2. The online booking system DOES NOT work from 11:30 PM to 5:00 AM all week, yet for some reason the site has 2 different sets of the same message, one for Monday to Saturday & the next for Sunday. Also please remember that the Tatkal facility is enabled only after 8:00 AM which is not mentioned on the page that is displayed when you try to login from 11:30 PM to 5:00 AM, mistake #3.
In order to book a ticket:
- Browse to irctc.co.in, once there you will get a login system with quite a few other options.
- Next register on the website – Sign Up
Then fill in the user name & password and choose the ‘Train Ticket’ option, screen shot:
Please note that the login session expires in some time and will require you to login again.
Now you will be taken to your booking page with the center of the screen showing something like this:
The thing circled in red is the menu for you to find and choose the stations, this is the tricky part #4, I tried to find Goa in the search did not yield any results, it required me name the station Madgaon. Now essentially the search results of Goa should have showed the various stations in Goa allowing me to choose, but it is not like that, you will have to feed in the station you intend to get down at.
Difference between e-ticket & i-ticket:
E-ticket is one which you need to take a print out of, and carry along with your photo id proof. Can be booked upto even a few hours before train departure, ideally before the chart preparation.
I ticket is the routine ticket which you get at the railway station counters. This ticket will be delivered to your home address. No id proof is required. You can book this only upto three days before the journey date. That is, if the train is on 5th, you can book upto 2nd.
Courtesy: Prasad as a comment.
Once done you have filled in all the details and selected the eticket option, hit ‘Find Trains‘:
The ‘Find Train’ results page is something I liked, the options to see the Route, the Availability, Get the Fare (only) and off course Book the Ticket. Screen shot:
The Route Details seem to be pretty simple to understand with the intended time of departure & arrival. As stated you can see the availability of tickets & the fare too.
Once done, that is once you have booked the tickets and let’s say you got a Waiting List ticket. Now you want to check the current status of your booking, you will have to navigate to another site – Train Inquiry. Now I am not a 100% sure that whether you irctc.co.in panel that has the ‘Booked Tickets’ options shows this, because I had to send some one to get the tickets booked. The hard copy tickets have a PNR number, so if you want to check the status you will need to use this PNR number.
To check the status of a booked ticket:
- Browse to traininquiry.com.
- From the left menu choose ‘Reservation Enquiry‘ which is the 8th option.
- On the next page choose ‘PNR Enquiry‘, Screen shot:
- Enter the PNR number on the next page.
Remember the Online Inquiry works from 4:00 AM to 11:30 PM, that is the mistake #5.
At this time let me inform all Mumbaikars that B.E.S.T. services has a really good website that will help you find buses to routes based on various parameters: BEST Undertaking