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Answers to Essential FAQ's about Indian Railways

Are you planning to enjoy a train ride in India ? A train journey is one of the best ways to gain a better glance at the culture and heritage of the land. Before you do so, here are some of the common questions regarding Indian Railways, and relevant answers to the same.

Q: Is it essential to have a train ticket?

A: In case of online booking, an original ID card and your PNR number are sufficient. In case of manual booking, train ticket is essential.

Q: How far advanced can I book tickets?

A: Since 2015, Indian Railways has allowed tourists to book tickets as early as 120 days prior to the travel date. However, not all trains have advanced booking option. For foreigners, the advanced booking period is 365 days in specific trains.

Q: How to make online ticket reservation in Indian trains?

A: For long distance trains, online booking can be performed by IRCTC website. You can also choose any service providers who book tickets for you, for a small fee.

Q: Can foreigners use online ticket reservation portals?

A: Yes, since 2016, foreigners can reserve train tickets and pay using any international card. This requires a registration to the online portal using a valid international mobile number and email ID. Registration fee is INR 100 for foreigners.

Q: Can a foreigner buy quota tickets from booking counter in the station?

A: Yes, foreigner can buy foreigner quota tickets at specific stations. You should present your passport to avail this quota. This quota is available only for 1AC, EC, 2AC, and others in specific trains.

Q: What are the classes of train tickets?

A: The most expensive and private travel option is 1AC (first class AC). Apart from this, you can find two-tier AC (2AC), 3AC, Sleeper class (SL), AC chair car (CC), second class chair car (2S), and unreserved compartment.

Q: What is Tatkal ticket?

A: Tatkal tickets are a small quota of tickets sold a day before the departure date. The window is open only for 20-30 minutes and the demand is quite high. The cost of the tickets is a little higher in this quota. Usually, there is a10% increase for second class tickets and 30% increase for other classes.

Q: What is waiting list (WL)?

A: Under WL, your booking confirmation is subjective to enough cancellation. If you are WL5, you will receive a confirmed ticket if five people cancel their tickets. RAC reservation allows you to travel with a guarantee of a seat, not a berth.

Q: How to order meals in train?

A: You can choose to order via the official catering service of IRCTC. A representative will walk from one coach to another, taking orders. Also, you can buy food from vendors on the station platform or from hotels outside the station.

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Q: What is Indrail Pass?

A: Indrail Pass is a foreign pass that allows them to travel as many times as they wish in certain trains. One can buy the pass from international destinations too, via online. The timespan of the pass varies from 12 hours to 90 days.

Q: Does train tariff include free food?

A: Some trains provide food as a part of their tariff like Duronto Express, Palace on Wheels, Shatabdi Express, and others. It is best to check with the service provider regarding the same.

Find here Palace on Wheels train Tariff

Q: What is CNF?

A: CNF means ticket confirmed. This means your ticket is allocated a berth.

Q: How much luggage can I take during train travel?

A: For first class, free luggage allowance is 70kg per ticket. For second class, the allowance is 50 kg, and 40kg for other classes. If you are travelling with slightly higher weight, you can pay for the additional luggage.

Q: Can I carry liquor in train?

A: Passengers are allowed to carry liquor but, are not allowed to sell or open the bottles. Only a few trains like Palace on Wheels sell liquor on-board. If found drunk in a train, you might be charged or even arrested. Some metro trains and long distance trains have banned carrying anything flammable. Read the instructions before packing.

Q: Does trains have ladies compartment?

A: Certain long-distance trains have a separate compartment for ladies and children. However, the demand for such compartments is reducing and you might not find one in newer trains.

Q: How to find which platform my train is on?

A: Visit IRCTC and click on the ‘Train Platform Enquiry’ button. Type your train number and the boarding station name. You will get the platform number. You can also check the coach option in a similar manner.

Q: Which is the first luxury train in India?

A: Palace on Wheels is the first luxury train of the country. It was started in 1982 and still runs its signature itinerary.

Q: What are the payment options for buying a train ticket?

A: If you are choosing to buy via the booking counter, you can use cash or bank cards. In case of using online platforms including mobile apps, you can buy via bank cards, digital wallets, and net banking.

Q: Do I get a refund for cancelling tickets?

A: If the tickets are cancelled within a time frame, IRCTC refunds the money minus the cancellation fee to your bank account within 7 working days. If case of failed transaction, the money is returned within 72 hours.

Q: What is the train tariff for a kid?

A: In general, a child less than five years can travel without a ticket and has to share a berth with the parent or guardian. For children between 5 -12 years, half the ticket tariff is charged without berth and a full ticket price is charged if a berth is requested.

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