The Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world and is perhaps the only national one which is still operated manually. It is the popular means of transport when it comes to the masses for travelling both long and short distances. There are various types of coaches, each with the price in lieu of the facilities that it provides and people can pick the type of coach they want to travel in.

Well, if you are thinking about travelling with the Indian railways and you need to book a ticket, then here is a step by step account of how it can be done in case of passenger trains which is mainly used for long-distance travel. In case of luxury trains, the booking process is different, and for local trains, which are meant mainly for intra-state travel, it is done on the spot. Here are the steps:

  1. The booking counter opens 120 days prior to the date of travel.  For example, you want to travel on the 5th of May, then you will have to book the ticket 120 days before the travel. The counter will open 120 days before it, and the earlier you get the booking done, higher the chances that you will get reserved seats. The reservation system has three categories- the reserved seat, the reservation against confirmation seat and the waiting list. The later you book within the 120 days period, higher the chances that you will end up on the waiting list.
  2. If you want to book a ticket in case of an emergency, then you have the option of booking the ticket through Tatkal the day before the travel. There are different half an hour time slots allotted to Tatkal booking based on the type of coach one is travelling in. For example, the general class tickets can be booked from 8 to 8.30 AM in the morning, the 10 to 10.30 AM slot is for the AC coaches, and the 11 to 11.30 AM slot is for the non-AC coaches. The ticket fares for Tatkal booking are higher than the regular fares.
  3. If you want to know about train ticket enquiry, then the best option is to log into the IRCTC website, which is the official website of the Indian Railways. All you need to do is key in your date of travel, the place that your will be travelling from and your destination. The website will automatically generate a list of trains and the number of seats available based on which you can make the booking from that site itself.
  4. It is important that you keep a check on the status of the train on the day of the travel or from the day before. Regular updates are sent to the registered mobile numbers through which the passengers are informed about the train and if there is any change in schedule.
  5. An online chart of confirmed seats with names is generated before departure, and if your name is on it, you are good to go. You will find the seat number and coach number on the ticket when you first book it.

It’s really simple and hassle-free. All you need to do is be a little alert and get the booking done in time.

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