Kolkata to Varanasi overnight train advice requested

#1 Jan 6th, 2012, 16:39
Join Date:
Jan 2012
the moon
  • thelonghairedsucka is offline
Hey there,
Looking for some help re: first time booking a train in India online. I'm hoping to travel on an overnight train, from Kolkata to Varnasi on/around Feb 4, 2012, and just want to make sure I am; a) doing things right, and b) understand things right. I'll be traveling with my wife, and would prefer to travel 1AC if we can.

- I've gone on the India rail site and selected my dates to check the availability. I selected 1AC as the class, and saw a single train, #13005 the Amristar Mail train. I see the train availability (mostly waitlist - WL - but some availability on other dates. (2 availabile on the 7th)

- Curious if it is possible to Waitlist online (and the chances of getting a ticket), or hoping to find a tourist class ticket upon arriving in Kolkata, or to buy an emergency-type ticket 2 days before?

- Also, considering I am a noob at this, what might your recommendations be about booking 2AC sleeper instead, and then subsequently looking at other trains like #12333 Vibhuti, #13009 Doon. Considering these trains have more availability - and more frequency, would this be an advisable option? (I am used to overnight trains in Southeast Asia only, no experience with India).

- and Finally, I have read mixed info on booking tickets on the India rail site from outside of India. What is the best way for a foreigner to buy these tickets?

Thanks in advance for your help!
#2 Jan 6th, 2012, 16:59
Join Date:
Jan 2011
  • Dave W is offline
Welcome to India Mike.

Where to start? Indian trains are available to book 90 days before the journey and can fill up pretty quickly. If there is availability that suits reasonably well in early February I would grab it. If you cancel later the costs are not high.

From outside India you need to book through www.cleartrip.com using a Visa or MasterCard with Verified by Visa or SecureCode enhanced security. Notify your card provider that you are buying from an Indian site in advance.

Waitlist tickets can be bought through Cleartrip and can often confirm but it might not happen until a couple of hours before the train is due to leave. There is a massive thread on this subject. Look over to the right hand side of this page and you will see it.

1AC means that you will be in a 2 or 4 berth lockable cabin - you don't get to choose which. 2AC is considered pretty ritzy but is open plan with curtains and with a bit less space. There are bays of 4 berths across the train and pairs of berths longitudinally on the other side of the passageway. The 2AC berths are a bit like Amtrak sleeperettes but less roomy.

A small quota of Foreign Tourist tickets is available on a limited number of trains. These can only be bought in person at a limited number of special counters in India. The Indian railways site allows you to check whether any particular train has FTQ berths available but there can be no guarantee that these don't get sold before you get to India.

Come back if you need any more info.
Last edited by Dave W; Jan 7th, 2012 at 00:46.. Reason: typos
#3 Jan 6th, 2012, 17:30
Join Date:
Dec 2006
  • Khak is offline
Go for 2AC asap if they are available. Amritsar/Vibhuti/Doon are the best options in this route.

Otherwise you may try for Mughalsarai (MGS) junction which is 25 KMs from Varanasi and request hotel for pickup. You will get wide choice of trains including Rajdhani in MGS.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do....... Explore. Dream. Discover.
#4 Jan 6th, 2012, 20:05
Join Date:
Jan 2012
the moon
  • thelonghairedsucka is offline


Thanks for the comments and help - I'll look into the 2AC and book the tickets for our dates. Thanks again - much appreciated!
#5 Jan 7th, 2012, 00:33
Join Date:
Dec 2011
  • yukon is offline
Vibhuti. Mom took it to banaras and back last month. 3ac. Train clean from inside. Mostly on time. Book early. 2ac fills up fast.

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