booking trains while in india

#1 Feb 21st, 2008, 08:19
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#1
ive been looking at the inda rail site and looking up the trains between important stations. can someone help me to understand the new jalpaiguri to varanasi timetables! i could not get any prices for the 11 march journey date, yet it came back with two different services. has anyone done this trip before? how did you go about it? did you have any trouble getting a train?

has anyone done this trip before? was it difficult to find a train? i have looked on the india rail site, trains between imp. stations and am finding it difficult to understand. i searched for march 11 and found two different services but it would not quote a fare. there seems to be limited services. there seems to be only trains leaving on that day of journey date enquiry. unlike other trips i have researched that give you various services that leave on different days. has anyone else found this?
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 21st, 2008 at 17:40.. Reason: merged threads
#2 Feb 21st, 2008, 10:01
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#2
Do the following quickly, before the last berths are sold.

Book from Jalpaiguri Road to Allahabad on the North East Express, there are still 3 berths available in 2-tier air con, though nothing else available in other classes.

See the following thread for more details.

http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...essage-t49521/

The North East Express has very good timings to Mughal Sarai (about 16kms from Varanasi), the following train's times are not so good, but the train has availability for the 11th March between New Jalpaiguri and Mughal Sarai.

Train 4083, NJP 11:15, MGS 03.20 (don't worry, the train will likely be a couple of hours late, most trains are on this route).

2A = AVAILABLE- 0003
3A = AVAILABLE- 0012
SL = AVAILABLE- 0105


I just noticed your other thread, Try the Fairlawn Hotel in Kolkata, an amazing place. (though it seems there prices have recently shot up).
#3 Feb 21st, 2008, 10:11
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#3
When searching for trains, I find the 'Trains between important stations' a bit restrictive, the following is how i search for trains.

Quote:
Go to the following page.

http://www.indianrail.gov.in/inet_srcdest_names.html

Source Station Name – Jalpaiguri Road

Destination Station Name – Allahabad

(the above station names are just examples, type in your own station name, or the first 3 letters of the station name, then choose from the drop down box that may appear when you click 'Get It', watch out though, Indian Railways doesn't always spell train stations the same way you see on maps)

Class - All Class

Then click on Get It.

(Indian Railways is now 'day of week' sensitive, so if the journey you plan to take will be on a Monday, make sure you enter a date that is also a Monday to view all trains that run on a Monday)



onto next page........to get availability.

Click on circle next to train number.

Please check Days Of Run as not all trains are daily.

Look at top left of screen.....

Enter Your Journey Date - 20 - Oct. (for example)

Enter Quota - General or Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ can't be booked on-line)

Look at the top right of the screen for Classes, click on the circle next to the class you want (make sure it's on the same line as the train you want).

Then click on Get Availability


If you want to see a few different dates for the same train, do not select a date, the site will give you the availability for the selected train for the next 6 times it runs, and then the next 6 and so on.

This site can be slow.
-----------------------------


Another good way to search is to go to www.erail.in - this is a good website and as accurate as any non Indian Railways website, it will also show trains that run on all days of the week.

If you can't find a direct train, try using http://www.indiagroove.com/ - this website is very good and shows you all possible connecting trains to get you from one place to another when there are no direct trains.
#4 Feb 21st, 2008, 11:00
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#4

booking trains

should i be booking my trains now? i was planning to book as i went in india. for eg. i was planning to book a train on the day i arrive in kolkata for new jalpaiguri-to leave over the next day or so and then book from new jalpaiguri to varanasi when i arrive in new jalpaiguri and so on as i dont know exactly how long i will be staying in each place.
#5 Feb 21st, 2008, 11:41
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booking trains while in india

is it really that difficult to book trains as you go in india? for eg. arrive in a place and book a train to leave in a few days time to somewhere else. is this not possible or very likely? would we be taking big risks in getting stuck in places by relying on doing our trip this way/ has anyone had experience of travelling in india this way? we arent really wanting to sit on the computer and book a months worth of train travel as we want to have a bit more freedom then that. is this possible? we know round about dates of where and when we want to be but isnt booking all our trains in advance a bit restrictive? does the same apply for domestic flights?
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 21st, 2008 at 17:41.. Reason: merged threads
#6 Feb 21st, 2008, 11:59
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#6
You'll find your questions answered on this site. Please take the time to browse this section before asking again.

If you are willing to travel unreserved, in crowded conditions that you might consider worse than a cattle truck, you can turn up at a station and buy a ticket, and you might even manage to get on the train.

If you do not want to travel like this, yes you are taking a very big risk. You may well get stuck, or have to make major changes to your plans, or maybe catch buses instead.

Please browse the forum. There is so much information on Indian train travel here.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#7 Feb 21st, 2008, 12:39
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It's possible to travel this way if you have a LONG time in India and don't much care where you end up. If you're coming for several months, have very little idea of what you want to see and do, and are fine spending an extra week here or there when you don't get a ticket, traveling by the seat of your pants could work out for you.

If your time is limited and you have any sort of itinerary in mind at all, just book ahead. It's not that hard. I found it easiest to find a travel shop that booked rail tickets and just do a bunch in one go. I also booked about half my trip from home before I even left.

Another way last minute booking can work is if you can afford to use the TATKAL and tourist quotas, which means paying quite a premium and a little extra hassle on top of that.
#8 Feb 21st, 2008, 12:53
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It would be crazy to try to book Kolkata-New Jalpaiguri-Varanasi tickets at the last minute, these are very busy routes.

Kolkata-New Jalpaiguri, not too much of a problem, there are 12-hour overnight buses you can use (but you'll spend 10 hours of that journey wishing you'd booked a train), but New Jalpaiguri-Varanasi, you REALLY want an overnight train, travelling through Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh can be considerably more risky than other parts of India, an overnight train journey in a locked air-con carriage takes away 99% of the risk.

But don't even consider going unreserved from New Jalpaiguri to Varanasi, these trains are packed solid, I was really shocked when I saw some unreserved carriages on a North-East bound train, just when it didn't seem possible to get more people in, another hundred managed to squeeze into each carriage and even find room for their luggage, I hope you never have to witness this, it's upsetting, I'd always heard how busy these trains are (to/from the North East), but it's another thing to witness it.
Last edited by steven_ber; Feb 21st, 2008 at 17:57..
#9 Feb 21st, 2008, 13:00
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by starr View Post should i be booking my trains now? i was planning to book as i went in india. i was planning to book from new jalpaiguri to varanasi when i arrive in new jalpaiguri...
As steven said, there are hardly any berths left on those trains for the dates you want to travel. What do you think the sensible course of action would be?
#10 Feb 21st, 2008, 14:27
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#10

Smile NJP-Varanasi travel to add to Steven's advice and its easy to search for trains!

It is quite easy to do it by yourself. www.trainenquiry.com will show all the trains running irrespective of the days of run. You may want to try the Poorvotar Sampark kranti which should be less crowded and quicker to Allahabad which reaches Allahabad at 4.10AM and avoids may intermediate stations. The Bundelkhand empties at ALD and it will be relatively less busy. It comes to ALD[Allahabad] at 6.40AM and gets to Varanasi at around 11.00AM. This should be your connecting train for the journey from Allahabad to Varanasi.
NE is a good train but can be very crowded and dirty.
The other option is the Bramhaputra Mail which however goes via Bhagalpur and some areas of Bihar[ other than the reason of seeing the colonial Jamlpur railway institute and relics of the raj which are of interest to trainspotters!] a new traveller might want to avoid this train. It does not touch Varanasi but halts at Mughlasarai for quite some time.
The other good option is the weekly 5636 [ ex NJP on Monday at 18.10hrs and getting to Varanasi at 10.00AM in the morning is the Dwaraka Express which is the best and supposedly has a better name. Can you align your program to travel by this train. Please go with all your tickets prearranged as it is next to impossible to get a berth in these long haul routes as most passengers will be end to end.

North Eastern railway trains are notorious for their delays and if I may say hygene. Please choose a less busy train and which train you wish to travel to. I will be grateful if I were to get an acknowledgement for my effort.
#11 Feb 21st, 2008, 15:46
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by starr View Post is it really that difficult to book trains as you go in india? for eg. arrive in a place and book a train to leave in a few days time to somewhere else. is this not possible or very likely? would we be taking big risks in getting stuck in places by relying on doing our trip this way/ has anyone had experience of travelling in india this way? we arent really wanting to sit on the computer and book a months worth of train travel as we want to have a bit more freedom then that. is this possible? we know round about dates of where and when we want to be but isnt booking all our trains in advance a bit restrictive? does the same apply for domestic flights?
We travelled in India between Nov 06 - Jan 07 for six weeks.

We only travelled in sleeper class. We booked all our travel as we went.

Out of the 11 train journeys, we had problems with two. The first one was from Ahmedabad to Mumbai central, all Mumbai trains were all booked up, but we were able to get a SC3 ticket with a reservation. This was the worst journey regarding space. we had seats but everyone else had tons of lugguge which took up any leg room. It was a slow train (Gujarat express) and there were many commuters on this route. However many people chatted and offered food and bought coffee for us which helped to pass the time. Once we got to Mumbai, we had to book a ticket out as we were travelling to Aurangabad. Mumbai was overwhelming, the system there is more sophisticated, but the sheer volume of people using it was daunting. fill in your form. then queue up to get a number ticket, this tells you which counter you can queue in for your train ticket. We had a choice of two queues, we went along, luckily we chatted to someone who told us to go to the Ladies queue. At the Ladies queue we had to deal with the only rude and unhelpful railway employee I have ever come across. Luckily we asked someone else in the queue what our options were, she told us to go back to the counter and get a ticket because the wait list numbers were only 2 and 3, which meant a really good chance of getting a seat. We did not know about waiting lists and this was our first introduction. We are both pretty bad when it comes to reading up about things beforehand. Once the list is finalised, it is posted on platform, it can also be accessed through computer terminals and you can also ring a number. The train was leaving from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and we were at Mumbai central. AT Mumbai CST we had to find our platform , no easy task as it is a huge terminal, once there, we waited and sure enough the wait list was posted and we had a reservation.

The second journey was from Hospet to Kollam. We had reservation from Hospet to Bangalore but from Bangalore to Kollam we were on WL83 and WL84. As this was pretty low down on the list, we asked at the enquiry desk what our chances were. They told us to go to an office around the corner, fill in a form which is for tourist quota, we were assured by him that we would have a seat. We had to wait until the office opened, which was an hour. We came back filled in our form and were given a reference number but no confirmation. We had to ring a number after a certain time to see how it was going. The train was scheduled for 21.45. After leaving our luggage at the train station facility we ventured into Bangalore for the day. We also had to book a flight back to Delhi at some point so we thought we would do it here. We used the travel agents recommended in Rough guide and booked a flight from Bangalore to Delhi, travelling on Jan 4th which was 14 days away. We did not leave this to the last moment as the Christmas period is obviously very busy, and we did not want to rely on a train, due to the distance. Although we did get a flight, there was not a lot available.

We were really crap in the beginning about finding out information by reading the guide book. I think some of the above may have been avoided if we had known about Waiting lists etc. We could also have taken bus journeys, but I just prefer to do it by trains, if I can. We don’t really get uptight about things, mainly as we are assured by back up funds if the situation called for it.

We are flying to India in April, to do the North this time, we are not booking anything beforehand. We have planned out our journey with a bit more knowledge and we have some experience so we are quite happy doing it this way. More than anything else we hate a prebooked schedule
#12 Feb 21st, 2008, 17:28
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#12
Depending on the season and the sector, trains do tend to get booked several months in advance. It is therefore sensible to book early. There are other options like bus or taxi on shorter routes, which you can leave for the last moment.
You can keep checking the availability status for your intended trains at www.irctc.co.in
Even while in India, no need to book at any official centers and stand in queues.
Just go online and book from this same website.
#13 Feb 21st, 2008, 17:40
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Hey Chickpea, you done really well to only have 2 problematic journeys, I could tell you some stories about my last trip, one of them...I'd completely had enough of Narasapur (AP) and decided to get the overnight train to Vishakhapatnam, the train only had one Sleeper Class carriage and there was a waitlist, so I just bought a 2nd class unreserved ticket and hoped for the best.

I got to the station about 2 hours before the 23:00 departure, checked the reservation chart and realised I had no chance, all the RAC seats were taken and there was still a waitlist, so I had to travel unreserved.

I found out the platform and the likely arrival time and went to the place the train would enter the platform, as the train approached I looked for an unreserved carriage and jumped on the train as it was still moving and before the others could get on, I jumped straight up to the metal luggage rack and lay down, my bed for the night, all was well, most people had a place to sit or lay down (luggage racks), however, I knew this was the easy bit, the train would arrive at Bhimavaram about an hour later and this was where it would fill up, satisfied with my quick thinking I went to sleep.

I woke up about 3 hours later as the train was pulling into a station, I was lying on my side, head on my backpack, there was a child in front of my belly, another child in the space behind my bent legs, and a third child in front of my shins, the floor was covered with people and I couldn't see a place to put a toe on the floor, never mind stand.

The final straw for me was when the father of one of these children indicated to his son to get down from the luggage rack to give me more room, it made me feel extremely selfish (even though I'd not said anything to the man or his children), I knew that all 3 kids could be comfortable on the rack, I also knew I couldn't stay where I was and couldn't stand for the rest of the night, so I grabbed my backpack and got off the train (not easy).

The station was called Attili, it was completely empty, I noticed a local train would call there at 6 in the morning, and would drop me at a place for a connecting train to Vishakhapatnam, so I just slept on the platform.

A strange thing happened though, about 10 minutes after the train left, just about the time I was enjoying the complete quiet, a tractor and trailer pulled up to the station (I couldn't see a home anywhere, the station was in the middle of nowhere), off this trailer, a group of about 30-35 labourers (mostly female) entered the station and just sat down and chatted, about 4-5 express trains called at the station before my 6 o'clock local train arrived, but these labourers never got on a train, and not on the local train either, I don't know why they come to the station, and by the looks on their faces, they wondered what the hell I was doing there, but one thing is for sure in India, you're never alone.
#14 Feb 21st, 2008, 18:17
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#14

Wink India overwhelms

Yes India can overwhelm. But apart from some nasty people who are everywhere India can have the nicest folks around who will give more affection than anywhere else in the world, like I found out in a train to Newcastle where a group of louts would not move their feet to let me get to the toilet. But kindness and the affection of the majority is more important. The large number of people I believe epitomize that especially the mangnanimity increases the poorer the person is and The Indian train is a living laboratory of that! But there are lot of trains from Narasapur including first rate buses? AP and Karnataka have some of the best transport available in India. Please check out www.ksrtc.org. It is very slick indeed!
#15 Feb 21st, 2008, 19:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post Hey Chickpea, you done really well to only have 2 problematic journeys, I could tell you some stories about my last trip, one of them...I'd completely had enough of Narasapur (AP) and decided to get the overnight train to Vishakhapatnam, the train only had one Sleeper Class carriage and there was a waitlist, so I just bought a 2nd class unreserved ticket and hoped for the best.
Hiya stephen_ber, with my new found knowledge I think I would find the ticket guard before boarding and see what chance I have of getting a seat first.

I have done it on short journeys about 18 years ago. I even slept on the floor with a million peasants between the toilets and the door, that was an overnight trip. Lovely hah.

When we left Holland we were fully expecting to get ill, lose lugguage at airport, and have problems with transport.

We were never sick, we were both preturbed by this as we were hoping to shed a few kilos, instead, we gained a few.

We met loads of people who had problems with lost lugguge, but ours came through no problem. Personally I would have welcomed a bit of lost lugguge as the other half tends to travel with everything.

Finally, transport, after our first bus journey from Fatehpur sikri to Jaipur I vowed I would just stick to trains. We didn't really have any major problems at all. I think it may have been simpler if we had done a bit of reading. We always have a back up plan eg: if we had not got the train in Mumbai we would have booked a room, even if it meant staying at the Taj President.

I'm not afraid of asking questions and advice, but always from more than one person. I try and search out posh indians as they tend to be more reliable with info.

We were quite blase towards the end of our trip. We are now planning our trip for April which is already booked. As you know I am waiting for the new connection to Khajuraho info, which will be our first journey after a few days Delhi. Now we feel we can handle anything. Although we do remind each other of things that bring us back down to earth.
Last edited by machadinha; Feb 21st, 2008 at 19:54.. Reason: fixed quote

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