Indian Railway

Planning ones travel journey is never easier and is like a nightmare if one is residing in a country where more than 67% people prefer the transport mode that you have opted for. The mood swings are enormous as you struggle through the long queues or maybe your internet speed wasn’t optimal and got you in the W/L category. You would have been busy checking the PNR status everyday on various PNR prediction platforms. For people who book e-tickets, they have chances of getting their journeys postponed due to last minute auto cancellations on account of non-confirmation of booked tickets. You might be completely unaware of the backend processes that determine the chances of getting your W/L ticket status confirmed.

What all factors play a crucial role in W/L tickets confirmation?

First and foremost misconception is that waitlist ticket statuses are not updated every day. Indian Railways update the ticket statuses everyday, however the real time front end might not reflect the same. This has been an issue of major debate when it comes to W/L tickets. But, if there is a single cancellation, then your waitlist status should move one place up at the end of the day (mostly a few hours after the cancellation updated in the database).

Some of the prime factors which determine the confirmation of any PNR are:

  • Train Timings: This is one of the prime factors when it comes to PNR confirmation. People generally prefer to travel during off hours of the day in order to compensate for the time loss incurred during traveling. Trains whose timings are between 5-8 P.M. are most trafficked ones. Waitlist PNRs really struggle to move towards confirmation in such ideally timed trains.
  • Seasonality Concerns: Festivals are the essence of Indian culture. It’s like discovering a hidden gem if you hit the CNF status during this season. Waitlisted PNR are least likely to move up the ladder and get CNF status.
  • Quota Systems: Most of the trains have different set of quotas marked for VIP, patients, Foreign travelers and handicapped travelers. Most of these seats go vacant and railway raises the bar at the time of chart preparations.
  • Situational Concerns: If there is a particular problem along the route which has led to the scarcity of trains, then the waitlist system can go for a toss. In such circumstances, the confirmed ticket holders from other trains are accommodated in your chosen train. And your waitlist is automatically cancelled. As these factors cannot be predicted, so you have to just wish that a predicament such as these do not befall close to your journey date.

Waitlist PNR Status Update- Why It’s Slower Initially and When Does It Take off?

Getting into the W/L quota is something which you would have to suffer even if you do the booking past the 120 days threshold. The activity levels (or movement) within the waitlist queue remains stationary in the first few months. There would be many confirmed ticket holders who have made speculative bookings (with a slim hope of making the end journey), the quota seats are still set aside and unless you are in a third choice train (the trains which travelers only opt as a last resort) you will not witness many cancellations within the first few weeks.

Movement or escalations in the statuses take off as per the trains. To understand it better, here is a brief description of the same:

  • First Choice Trains: As the name suggests these are the most popular trains on any particular route. They are fast, timely and have least stoppages en-route. Premium trains such as Shatabdi, Rajdhani, Duronto or other well-known trains fall into this category. Some trains might fall in this list due to their convenient departure timings. You would start seeing some activity in the waitlist status for such trains only as late as a week before the journey. Confirmed ticket holders just do not want to let go of their tickets and you should stay positive. Waitlist tickets do get confirmed at the last minute.
  • Second Choice Trains: When the passengers do not get confirmed berths in the First Choice trains, they often turn to this group of trains. They are mediocre in performance, may or may not be timely and have more stoppages then first choice trains (but less than the third choice trains). Movement in the waitlist status for such trains can be witnessed from 1 month before the journey. But there would be a trickling effect. You may still have to wait till the last week to see any major change in PNR status.
  • Third Choice Trains: The travelers will turn to these trains only when they have no other option. Such trains are slow moving, have a high number of stoppages and mostly turn up late at their destination station. The waitlist queue activity remains at its maximum for such trains. As these are mostly back-up plans, where the traveler has already made some other arrangements for the journey, so the cancellations for this group of trains remains highest. You can expect high waitlist movement from 2 months ahead of the journey date, onwards.

120 days is a long time and many things might happen in the life of a traveler in between. Most travelers set aside the thought of their future travel, until it is about a week to go. Most take a final call within the last 15 days. There is also a psychological angle (instigated by Indian Railways refund policy) to this trend. As per the refund policy, one can get complete refund (with the subtraction of cancellation charges) till 48 hours before the scheduled departure of the train. If you cancel after that then the refund amount gets lower. So, whether you cancel about a month before or within 48 before the scheduled departure of the train, you will get the same refund amount. The confirmed ticket holders like to use this luxury and opt for late cancellations. This is why the activity levels within 2-5 days before the journey date really escalates.

Added Reading: Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) Tickets- Everything You Wanted to Know!

Once the chart preparations are in place, the escalations are paused and every non-confirmed e-ticket goes for auto-cancellation and refund processes from the Railway servers. This is the whole gist of processed which every W/L status PNR has to undergo prior to confirmation or cancellations. This would suffice for all your queries related to waitlisted ticket confirmations.

Recent Posts

Author: Amit Roy

Amit is a Digital Marketing & Alliance Strategist at Railrestro. He is a jack-of-all-trades kinda person in the world of Internet marketing, excelling in market research to come up with a strategy based on the