Indian Railway

It was the year 2002 when Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) launched its services online with an initiative to host rail services on the web. Whether it’s the IRCTC PNR status enquiry or booking of rail tickets, it served as the best journey planner for the rail travelers. It was observed that 29 tickets were booked on the first day which has rapidly increased to 13 lakhs per day. Before the online mode, it was the PRS counters available at every station for booking of reserved tickets. Each ticket was embedded with a 10-digit PNR number which is the identity of the traveler throughout his journey. Passengers used to check PNR status via SMS services provided by the Railways. We would have received a reserved ticket from over the counter, but never pondered on how this happens and what mechanism operates behind the scene of booking a railway ticket. As a common passenger, we are facilitated with many online services like IRCTC PNR status enquiry, booking of tickets within a few clicks, booking of cabs, etc. but it’s only the front-end view. There’s a certain hidden mechanism that works behind the scene.

Railway Ticketing: How the Cycle Starts:
If we discuss the front-end view, it’s the normal passengers who reach the PRS counter, fills up the relevant details on the reservation requisition form. This form is transferred to the on-duty railway staff sitting behind the counter. The ticketing staff enters the details of the journey and checks the seat availability on that particular train. He/she conveys the status of the reservation whether it’s RAC/Waiting/Confirm status and leaves it up to the travelers’ end whether they want to book their tickets on not. If you take a virtual tour to the ticketing elements, you will find Indian Railway PNR status, seat number, berth number, coach number, distance of the journey etc. The physical ticket is handed to the traveler which is valid for the journey. The online process seems to be quite easy as it needs a valid IRCTC account credential through which the user can login and enter the station details along with other details like name, age, quota, seat preference, etc. The ticket is generated online after online payment of the ticket price. The software generates a ticket for the user depending on the availability of seats. It can book your tickets either in RAC, waiting or provide confirm tickets with seat/berth number and coach number. The best part of online ticketing is that the passengers can book food in train of their choice from e-catering services.

Recommended Read: How to Pre-book your meal in advance via RailRestro?

Why is train chart prepared before the journey?
Any passenger having confirmed/RAC rail ticket will have his/her name printed on the final chart along with other details. A train chart is the detail of passengers’ who are about to travel in a train. It is generally prepared 4 hours ago before the train departs. This detailed list helps the passengers to locate their seats and on the other hand, it helps the on-duty TTE of the train to check tickets serially.

How PNR numbers and Train Charting are interlinked?
There’re several PNR facts which every traveler one must know. It’s not only a 10-digit number but serves as a unique identity until the passenger is in train. The same PNR number is listed in the IRCTC reservation chart which is also available online on its official website. As soon as the passenger reserves a ticket for the journey his/her seat is either confirmed or Waiting or in RAC. For eg., A traveler who wants to book a ticket from New Delhi to Bangalore can contact any PRS counter of Indian Railways and reserve his ticket via offline mode. The PNR number is recorded in the database of Railways after generating the ticket. In the case of online mode, generates a valid ticket having a PNR number. The factor which interlinks both the concept is the PNR number through which the train chart is prepared. One of the important factors for the travelers to note down is that the final chart is prepared four hours before the train departure but it keeps on updating till 30 minutes before the train departure. PNR status live check on mobile and website is also available for the passengers to check the status regularly.

Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) Manages the Entire Backend Scene:
Whether it’s the Passenger ticketing or freight operations, crew management system control to handling Railway tenders; every supporting website and app is developed and managed by CRIS. Being an autonomous organization it includes 1000+ IT professionals who have expertise in programming, developing and designing online software. As the passenger books, a ticket; the details are stored in the software developed by CRIS that is used by the Indian Railways. CRIS stores the database of 7000+ trains and reservation details of the passenger as soon as the staff or users book their tickets online or offline. Every day, the software handles uncountable data of the passengers’ journey and the same data is fetched to prepare train charting. At present, the IRCTC portal also lists the dynamic railway chart online which gets updated regularly. Now passengers can book their tickets even after chart preparation.

Tips for Booking Train Tickets Online

  • Book your tickets 120 days of ARP so that there’re high probabilities of confirm tickets.
  • Keep your details ready in advance while online form submission. You will get tickets easily.
  • Try premium tatkal Quota as the last option when you do not get tickets through general/tatkal quota.
  • Keep your Anti-virus system off. This speeds the process of ticket booking.
  • Do not create multiple logins on IRCTC account. Your account can be suspended.
  • Make payment using internet banking as this is the fastest mode of payment.

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Author: Rohit Choubey

Rohit is an avid guest blogger as well an eminent digital marketeer. He has immense passion towards food blogging. His hobbies include travelling, cooking and watching movies. He is the content analyst at RailRestro