Some encouragement for booking trains online & thank yous

#1 Nov 14th, 2007, 12:45
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  • Edor is offline
#1
Thanks to Steven and Beach and others for the informative threads on booking trains online from outside of India. It was actually much easier than what I had imagined given some of the posts.

My advice is to read the threads here but then go to this link http://www.irctc.co.in/iticketGuide.html and understand the form and probably print it out and fill it in so you know what your responses will be in advance. Getting through the process fairly quickly will probably prevent the system from kicking you off because you have not entered your data quickly enough.

For the few extra dollars to have a professional travel company in India do it for me, I ended up wasting lots of time emailing them with the details of the two tickets I wished to purchase and NEVER heard back from any of them (all 6 of them) even though their websites promise responses within 48 hours.

So I have purchased first of two tickets - the second won't go on sale for another 12 days. But basically want to let anyone who was hesitant about the process, that it really can be alot easier than some of the posts make it sound, although I am sure there are some potential gotchas that people fall in to.

Again thank you all at Indiamike - what a great group of people.

Edward
#2 Nov 14th, 2007, 14:04
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#2

HELP Someone else in India receiving ticket in my behalf

Well I may have spoken too soon and need some help.

I successfully purchased ticket and it is confirmed. It is being mailed/courier to a contact that I have in Mumbai and was given as the name/address when I registered online.

Got an email shortly after purchase from IRCTC which states:

If any one other than you is to receive the ticket on your behalf he / she will be required to produce the ticket PNR / Transaction id, along with his / her identification and a written authorization letter from you verifying his / her signature.


Ok, I have emailed the PNR to person and they have a driver's license and so the only part I am not sure about is the 3rd part - "a written authorization letter from you verifying his / her signature." How do I do this?

I sent an email to recipient letting them to expect things and that included a print screen of my online booking and confirmation. Is that enough? Hopefully this is a bureaucratic detail (making it extra tough for us outside of India to buy tickets online). Perhaps a few rupees to the courier delivering things to the correct address will be enough to overcome any problem, so I will try to sleep easily tonight.

Edward
#3 Nov 14th, 2007, 14:32
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  • Nick-H is offline
#3
Hasn't been a problem, either way --- having tickets for me sent to my guest house, or receiving tickets at my home for a friend.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#4 Nov 14th, 2007, 14:42
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#4
Why not just book the other type of ticket (e-ticket)? You can just print out the slip and forget about any delivery,
#5 Nov 14th, 2007, 17:21
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by lokeyh View Post Why not just book the other type of ticket (e-ticket)? You can just print out the slip and forget about any delivery,
when booking the train tickets on line, is the e ticket the same principle as an airline ticket where they e.mail it to you.

Also how quick do you have to be when booking on line before your rejected.
#6 Nov 14th, 2007, 18:00
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinadolly View Post when booking the train tickets on line, is the e ticket the same principle as an airline ticket where they e.mail it to you.
You have to print the ticket directly from the website, either at the time of booking or at any later date.

At the time of booking it is easy - just click the Print button on the final confirmation screen.

If you don't print it at the time of booking then you will have to go into the "Booked tickets" area of the website. You then select the ticket you want to print and click the Print button.
#7 Nov 14th, 2007, 21:19
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinadolly View Post when booking the train tickets on line, is the e ticket the same principle as an airline ticket where they e.mail it to you.

Also how quick do you have to be when booking on line before your rejected.
It is the same principle as booking an air-ticket. You can print the tickets.

I had no problem with booking the tickets for Dec this year. I just keyed in the details required. BTW, I booked during 8am - 10am (india time) period.
#8 Nov 14th, 2007, 21:28
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#8

Correction to my original post that started this thread

Thank you all, I expect that things will be just fine. My apologies to anyone who is new to the online train ticketing process.

I made a minor mistake when booking my online ticket which is easy to avoid. It seems that the best thing is to choose "e-ticket" which as others have posted then allows you to print your own ticket and therefore not deal with having it mailed to a guesthouse or some other place in India. Probably best to use your passport number as the Identification method for the passenger as you would always have that with you when you go to board the train.

Part of my confusion which you can learn from is that when you check "e-ticket" and then click on button to "Find Trains" you get a pop-up that says:
Only Confirmed/RAC ticket booked.
Ticket can only be booked up to the time of charting.
I did NOT understand this backed out and then incorrectly chose "i-ticket " type instead - this they send by courier to some Indian address that you specify. Just click "Ok" to the above pop-up and proceed to find trains.

In my original post which I can no longer edit, I suggested people go to IRCTC website which describes ticket types and steps. I should have suggested people go to this page http://www.irctc.co.in/eticketsguide.html which are the steps for "e-ticketing".

My apologies to anyone who I have confused, and again thanks to all who responded with information.
===========

My second ticket that first is available for purchase in 11 days will be an e-ticket and that will make all of this even simpler.

By the way, it only took me 20 minutes to purchase my first ticket (one poster in 2004 indicated they had spent half a day to purchase a train ticket for a train that would only run for 3:30 hours, assuming that it was not delayed). So all in all I think that the system is much easier than it used to be.

With regard to the question of how quickly you need to go through the process. I am not really sure because I only got "kicked off" or "timed out" once. I and others suggest reading the train form available at link I provided in this post and read all the questions that will be asked so you know what you will choose and what information you will fill in. My sense is that there is insufficient time allowed for reading OR for searching for the information that you need to fill in while in the active part of the web server for buying the ticket. This makes sense as at any one moment there are probably hundreds if not thousands in India and elsewhere using their servers to make reservations and they need people to be efficient and not tie up their computer resources.

I hope that I have finally been able to add some clarity to the process, obviously from someone who is a real newbie to the rail ticket process. But again it is really much easier than I had thought, in spite of this long post.

Edward
P.S. If you read some of the train threads on this forum, please realize that many of those posts are from 2004 and I expect that it was not until much later that "e-tickets" became available. I expect that many people then were posting about what are currently called "i-ticekts."
#9 Nov 14th, 2007, 21:43
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#9
I sent the info like you to the recipient of a delivery of a WL ticket, which could not be issued in e-ticlet form - the delivery service didnt ask for any info, even ID, though I had sent along the screenshots and everything else I could think of.

So dont sweat it.

You just need to realize with a WL ticket that the status is NEVER going to update on eather the India Railways or the IRCTC booking site except to indicate that your ticket is CONFIRMED. iT WILL NEVER SHOW YOU MOVING UP THE WL QUEUE TO "RAC" STATUS AND YOU WILL NOT HAVE A SEAT/berth ASSIGNED UNTIL THE TRAIN IS CHARTED.
BUT ONCE YOUR STATUS CHANGES TO 'CONFIRMED' ONLINE, YOU WILL HAVE A SEAT ON THE CHART - this data is available online but only very close to the time of travel.

We went through a lot of anxiety over this and finally realized that nobody in India books online so that these problems were relatively incomprehensible to the very nice people we were asking to help us confirm our status, as the days and hours before our WL ticketed journey ticked away.
#10 Nov 15th, 2007, 00:21
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#10
Quote:
iT WILL NEVER SHOW YOU MOVING UP THE WL QUEUE TO "RAC" STATUS
Surely that is what PNR Status is for?
Quote:
AND YOU WILL NOT HAVE A SEAT/berth ASSIGNED UNTIL THE TRAIN IS CHARTED.
Yes.
#11 Nov 15th, 2007, 00:38
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#11
The PNR status inquiry does not currently show any advance in waiting list status for tickets issued with WL status and it never shows an advance to "RAC" status - we checked PNR stautus through both websites for two solid months and it never happens. What does happen is, eventually, a change to "Confirmed" status and, as noted, assignment of seats when the chart is prepared. that is when you need to check back online to see what your carriage and seat/berth assignment is. For our WL booking, this info was not available online til the night before our trip. You should definitely check at that time if you are in this situation, since the charts were not posted on our train or platform. You would have to rely on getting on the train and checking with the ticket agent there to identify your seat assignment, which is a disadvantage when everyone is stowing luggage etc.
#12 Nov 15th, 2007, 01:39
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#12

From OP: My encouragement note - think I was just lucky

Well this thread has added lots of extra information, detail, and nuance. I did some more reading on the forum (had previously done several hours of it on trains) and found this post from Beach who is one of the good authorities:

"The irctc site is one of the heavly used databeses in the world. Also the worlds highest graffiti stuck welcome page!

Imagine Indian railways book 4.5 billion tickets an year.

(just a comparison, the whole of international airlines combined book about 1.5 billion tickets an year)

...and that explains the troubles.

one needs to be quick & a bit lucky to get through the first attempt."

So I am grateful for my virginal experience but I am now convinced it was probably beginners luck; hope it continues for my second ticket in 10 days.

Edward
#13 Nov 17th, 2007, 07:39
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#13

Still feeling lucky and grateful

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edor View Post Well this thread has added lots of extra information, detail, and nuance.
So I am grateful for my virginal experience but I am now convinced it was probably beginners luck; hope it continues for my second ticket in 10 days.

Edward
Well, just booked another sleeper train, took me under 9 minutes. Perhaps still luck, but feel like I am winning at the roulette wheel.

Hopefully your first experiences of making bookings online is as easy as mine have been.

Edward
#14 Nov 20th, 2007, 09:48
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  • the opoponax is offline
#14
Edor, I just had a relatively easy time booking my first set of tickets, too!

Hopefully not just beginners' luck, eh?

Though I have to say I had a major brain flash when someone in another thread described navigating the site as being like a video game -- I gave it a few dry runs, and by my 3rd attempt, I was using it like a pro. It probably helps that I have my computer set up to auto-fill forms it's already seen before, which meant I didn't have to keep re-entering all that info.
#15 Nov 21st, 2007, 18:41
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#15

Thanks to all..

.. who helped with my itinerary, especially Steven_ber and Epicure.

I've just booked my first two train tickets and I'm feeling rather pleased with myself!
I must say the IRCTC site booking worked flawlessly and I was through it in a matter of minutes.

However, a complication arose when my card issuer declined the second booking, made minutes after the first. I had to call them and make arrangements for accepting IRCTC payments. This despite calling them the previous day to warn them what to expect.

Anyhow, spoke to an obliging call centre (in India - natch!) and it should be sorted for subsequent transactions - hopefully..

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