Is It Necessary to Book Train Tickets in Advance?

#1 Apr 11th, 2013, 09:41
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  • alpine is offline
#1
I spent a few months in North India in 2006 and didn't book any train tickets in advance. When I was ready to travel, I would go to the train station and purchase tickets, sometimes relying on the tourist quota and sometimes not.
On a few occasions, I had to wait a day or two before I could get a ticket.

I will be in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in December.

Is it necessary these days, and during that period, to book train tickets in advance? If so, how far in advance?

Thank you.
#2 Apr 11th, 2013, 09:58
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#2
If you want a guaranteed seat then yes. If you are prepared to stand then you could try your luck in the general compartment.
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#3 Apr 11th, 2013, 10:03
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#3
I suppose my question is whether it is likely to get a 2SL ticket, for example, without advanced booking. I know I might not be able to get same-day or next-day tickets, but is this a matter of booking days/weeks/months in advance?
#4 Apr 11th, 2013, 10:16
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#4
Sometimes you can get same day tickets too...no problem. Depends on your origin and destination...and for short distances (less than 4-5 hours), you could even take a bus...If you go to tourist spots in tourist season, then you need advance reservations...or during festival/summer seasons, and soem sectors have very heavy movement of people..so perpetually booked.
#5 Apr 11th, 2013, 10:21
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#5
Is June considered a very busy month? Do I need to book train tickets in advance? From Gujarat to Mumbai?
#6 Apr 11th, 2013, 10:24
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#6
This question is closely linked with two other questions, viz. (1) which train and (2) which route. If you are trying to get booking in a very popular train or in any train running in crowded route, you wouldn't get any reservation without prior booking. "Prior" could be even 4 months in advance! But if you go for less traveled route or less popular train, you may get the booking even on the day of travel. Then there is seasonal effect on booking. For example, if you wish to travel during summer holidays (when school/colleges remain closed) or during marriage season, chances of getting spot reservation is rather remote. A seasoned traveler would surely take note of all these parameters before reservation of railway tickets in India.
#7 Apr 11th, 2013, 11:57
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#7
If you look at the bottom of the page you will see that people have been asking this question for years.

The best answer that I have seen is this one http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...15/#post921432
#8 Apr 11th, 2013, 13:07
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#8
I have had an eye-opening experience during my travels in India this year. It is easy to get a seat on short notice if you are flexible, if you can accept a slower train, or not the best arrival time, and are also flexible re the class.

If you can book at a week's notice, you can get the best choices in this regard as well. I booked thru my hotel reception (a 690 Rs guesthouse in Kolkata), and was willing to pay the few hundred Rs extra that it cost. (100 Rs for the travel agent, 100 Rs for the guesthouse). Got the ticket sent by e-mail to the reception.

This was in March 2013, final or main destination of the trains was Howrah/Kolkata.

I have seen similar results with other travellers that I counselled to see a travel agent at Paharganj in Delhi. This guy (owner of an internet joint at Six Tooti Chowk, Main Market, his name is Shiva) got tickets for the whole Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur circuit within a few minutes, at the peak tourist season.
#9 Apr 11th, 2013, 13:35
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by atala View Post I have seen similar results with other travellers that I counselled to see a travel agent at Paharganj in Delhi. This guy got tickets for the whole Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur circuit within a few minutes, at the peak tourist season.
I think that a word of caution is appropriate. There are undoubtedly honest agents who will provide you with a valid ticket at a reasonable price.

There are also scam artists who prey on people who are confused by the Byzantine ticketing system. In particular you need to be on your guard against being sold a ticket that has been booked in somebody else's name. Indian Railways claim to have been stepping up anti fraud activities and clamping down on misuse of tickets.

Not all agents provide what you are expecting
http://www.indiamike.com/india/scams...-help-t190784/
#10 Apr 11th, 2013, 13:45
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#10
A word of caution is always in place, Dave. Your link, however, is mainly about the false travel-agent scam mainly in Delhi.

I think, a safety valve is to get the ticket thru your guesthouse, as a guesthouse is interested to get you back as a customer.

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