Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been working minutely towards passengers’ convenience and leaving no stone unturned to provide the train commuters the best facilities. It not only offers online facility to book train ticket but also has reservation offices and authorised travel agencies for offline bookings.
IRCTC reserves seats, berths, compartments, and carriages as per the rules and conditions published in the coaching tariff, according to Indian Railways' website - indianrailways.gov.in.
However, seats, berths, compartments, or carriage are booked only in accordance with the rules and conditions published in the Coaching Tariff.
Advance reservations are made generally up to 120 days in advance for all classes and all trains. The period of advance reservation (ARP) is exclusive of the day of departure of the train.
When booking train tickets online or offline, here are some points which one must know about Indian Railways:
- According to the India Railways website, accommodation cannot be reserved without purchase of necessary journey ticket. No reservation of accommodation is made on provisional basis.
- Allotment of accommodation is done by the computer as per pre-defined logic. Efforts are made to provide compact accommodation to persons booked under the same PNR on first come first served basis.
- The minimum age for availing concession is 58 years in case of women senior citizens and element of concession is 50% in basic fare only. In case of men senior citizens, minimum age for availing concession is 60 years and element of concession is 40% in basic fare only.
- Departure time printed on the ticket is indicative for the guidance of the passengers. Passengers must ascertain correct timings from the railway station on the day of journey. Such tickets are printed up to 120 days in advance. Any changes in timing after the issue of ticket cannot be advised, as per the Railway website.
- Ticket reservation charges vary for different booking classes. Miscellaneous charges such as reservation fee, "super-fast" charge, catering charge and Goods and Services Tax (GST), wherever applicable, are levied additionally to the base fares, according to the Railways website.
- A Passenger booked on a PNR for undertaking journey in any class is required to produce a valid identity proof in original.
- When berths are reserved for passengers, the intention is to provide sleeping accommodation between 9 PM to 6 AM. During 6 AM to 9 PM, the passengers concerned, if required make room for other passengers in compartment up to its carrying capacity.
- The passengers whose names figure under the RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) category are provided reserved sitting accommodation initially. Such passengers are likely to get berths due to last minutes cancellation of reservation of passengers not turning up in time before the departure, according to the Railways website.
- In case the passengers with reserved seats/berths do not turn up within 10 minutes before the scheduled departure, the railway administration may cancel the reserved accommodation, and allot them to the passengers on the RAC list/waiting list accordingly on priority basis, added the Railways website.
- The requests for reservation at the reservation counters are accepted up to 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, after which, the reservation will be done at the current counters at the stations up to one hour before the scheduled departure of the train and thereafter by the Ticket Collector/Conductor on the platform, if vacant berths/seats are available.