The Indian Railways crisscross the Indian subcontinent’s diverse terrain covering over 28 states covering nearly 115000 kilometres of track. The Indian Railways are Asia’s largest rail network and the world’s fourth largest. In India, trains carry close to 20 million passengers and 2 million tons of freight on a daily basis making the Indian Railways truly the backbone of India’s economy.
Prior to the IT revolution, booking train tickets entailed filling innumerable forms and endless queues at the railway booking offices. One often had to start queuing in the wee hours of the morning to reserve tickets during the summer and winter holidays when half of India seemed to travel out of town. Thankfully, the launch of ebooking, train tickets on the Indian Railways website has made booking tickets child’s play.
The IRCTC website is designed to allow the user to book, modify and cancel tickets online. In addition the website assists the traveller in planning his travel with updated information on train timetables, seat availability, and PNR status as also special packages for luxury and budget travel. The I-ticketing facility allows the user to book tickets online and have the tickets delivered by post.
Tickets on Indian Railways can be reserved up to 90 days prior to the travel date. In order to book tickets online, the user needs to log on to the official website irctc.co.in.The website is user friendly with drop down menus and prompts for the user to fill in any incomplete information prior to progressing to the next screen.
How to Use the Booking Function
• Key in starting and destination station codes, date of travel and quota.
• The next screen displays the trains plying on the travel date with details of the boarding time and time of arrival, the train details and the seat availability against various classes of travel.
• Upon selecting the train, the system shows the reservation position for six dates starting from the date of travel.
• The user can select the date of travel upon which passenger details and choice of berth are required to be keyed in.
• Lastly, the system links with the payment gateway screen wherein the user can list preferred choice of payment options, i.e., Internet banking or use of credit/debit card.
• The user can opt for the printed ticket option or use the screen shot of the eticket along with valid identity proofs at the time of travel.