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How to Buy the Train Tickets in India

Why taking train is a better choice?

Even though there have been some developments in the road scenes in India, there is a general idea that the roads conditions are poor in most parts of the country. It is more prevalent if you get inside the rural segments of some states where even to these days, regular conveying takes place over the mud-covered trails. For the urban spaces, traffic can be chaotic and you might have to travel in rickety buses, even for the long distance travel.

There’s no denying that many deluxe AC buses are available and affordable. Still taking trains has its own glory, especially for the overnight voyages.

Indian Train
AC First Class Train in India

New Delhi Train Station
New Delhi Train Station, India

The super-extensive railway network and connection

The Indian railways network is one of the largest in the world. It stretches to almost every nook of the country. No matter where you are travelling to and from, there is one thing you can’t miss about the train travel – the amazing vividness of the local travellers.

The fares of train tickets in India have incredibly good value when you consider the 69,182km (42.988mi) of rail routes and 8,500 stations across the country! Understandably, you can reach to pretty much every town or city in India by rail.

After Russia and China, Indian Railways is the third biggest passenger rail and is the busiest in terms of passengers. About 23 million people travel regularly by train – and here we are talking about the train tickets in India!

While moving on to the details, there are tips and other features you need to know while buying train tickets in India. Let’s pause a while to understand no rail journey can be boring irrespective of you getting a window seat or not.

In a unique and culturally immersive country like India, you would not like to miss the experience of train travel.

Buying train tickets in India

Buy Train Tickets in Delhi Station
Buy Train Tickets in Delhi Station
Being in world’s most densely populated country, it is obvious to understand that seats on Indian trains sell out fast. More so if you are planning to travel on the touristy tracks during the peak season. You have to find the proper connecting rail routes and book the seats well in advance.

So, to start off your India planning, arranging for tickets must be the first thing on the to-do list.

•  Booking your tickets

Booking online is the easiest way to get the train tickets in India.  The railway reservation system opens from 1.30am to 11.30pm every day (IST). Keep this information in mind if you are buying tickets on your own.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited is the official website to buy tickets online, particularly if you are abroad. There are many affiliated websites as well which issue valid e-tickets, for train travel.

Whether you are booking for the luxury trains or the regular expresses, IRCTC can be your go to option for online reservation.

The other way to get train tickets in India is with the help of a travel agent.  They will charge you a bit overhead expenses along with the original ticket fare and you can leave all the worries to them. It might not always possible to get confirmed tickets, especially when you have not booked ahead. The travel planners and experts can get it done for you. You will need a valid ID and passports work well for any form of verification.

There is a Foreign Tourist Quota

Of the many facilities mad for the international travellers, there is a dedicated foreign tourist quota. All you need to do is queue at the “foreign tourist” line at the station and can get the tickets! These are considered as “emergency” tickets therefore even if you don’t have the reservation done a day or two earlier of the journey, you can get travel with these tickets.

That being said, these lines are available in major railway stations such as Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Secunderbad, New Delhi, Agra, Rameshwaram, Vadodara, and Vasco da Gama.

It is better to create an IRCTC account so that you can access these foreign tourist quotas online.

Waitlisting and RAC

Buying ticket doesn’t guarantee that you have a seat confirmed. So, before you embark the journey, check the train tickets India is in waitlisting. A waitlisted name suggests that even though you have the seat, you cannot get up on the train. There are chances if your name appears on the top twenty or fifty points but beyond that, it is almost impossible.

With RAC (reserved against cancellation) on your ticket, you have to share a seat with someone unless the other person with the same RAC cancels.

•  Tatkal

If you think you are overloaded with information, better perk up as this one is definitely going to be a saviour.


Here is Tatkal works

The window opens at 10 am. If you have a travel agent to get it done for you, you might get it. For the first timers or regular passengers, getting the tatkal tickets is a bit difficult but not impossible. Whatever the booker can get booked while Tatkal is on will count as a ticket. According to the recent rules, only two Tatkal tickets can be booked with a single user ID in opening Tatkal from 10:00-12:00 hrs. For AC classes, the window open at 10:00 am and for the non-AC classes, it starts at 11:00 am. You can buy it a day in advance of actual date of journey.

Non-used Tatkal tickets are made into the waitlisted names.

Rail pass

The IndRail Pass permits unlimited rail travel till the time it is valid however, you still need to make reservations. Passes are available for one to 90 days of travel and you can get them from IndRail pass agency in your home country. They can also help you get the rail reservations. Ticket offices in major Indian cities also sell the pass but there is no refund in most of the cases.

Tips for train tickets

1. The Indian railways online booking service closes for maintenance every day between Indian time 01:30-23:30.

2. The system only shows direct train routes.

3. Most places in the country have two names.

4. The railway station is not necessarily the same name of the city.

5. Understand about the train classes before booking the tickets.

You May Like:

Ultimate Guide to Indian Train Classes

How to Plan for the Best Train Travel in India

8 Best Routes for the Train Journey in India