November 18, 2015

Book a train ticket

Want to book an Indian train ticket?

Booking an Indian train ticket is a complicated process. Let us explain you the basics to book your first ticket by yourself.

The Classes

First, you need to choose in which classes you would like to travel. Travelling without Air Condition in Summer can be tough.

  • book train ticket
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1AC – Twice the price of AC2. Fairly spacious, carpeted and lockable 4-berth & 2-berth sleeper compartments with washbasin.
Linen provided. With Air Condition.
2AC – AC2 provides padded leatherette seats by day, convertible to flat padded bunks at night, not divided into separate compartments.
Linen provided. With Air Condition.
3AC – For us, best ratio quality-price
AC3 provides seats by day, convertible to flat padded bunks at night, not divided into separate compartments. Less space than 2AC.
Linen provided. With Air Condition.
Sleeper – Sleeper provides seats by day, convertible to flat padded bunks at night, not divided into separate compartments. Beds width smaller than 3AC. No window glass in most of the trains.
No Linen provided. No Air Condition, only fan. Can be crowded during the day.
Chair Coach – CC – An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of five seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
Food usually provided (on shatabdi train). With Air Condition

The availability

Then, you need to check if your train is available. Go to the website, enter the stations and the date, then on the board you will see the different classes.

  • If there is an x, that means this class is not available. Click when it is written « GET ». You will see if there is a seat available on this date, and also for the next week.
  • If it is written for exemple AVAILABLE 8 in the 3A column that means there are 8 more seats in the third class.
  • If it is written for exemple RLWL26/WL18: that means you are on a waiting list, there were 26 people who were waiting, now you are the 18th person. If you book this ticket, you will know if you have a seat at least two hours before the train arrives, and you won’t be able to cancel this ticket if you have the seat.
  • If it is written RAC 18 for exemple, that means you are on a waiting list but you can still take the train (maybe you will have to share your seat with someone). It means Reserve Against Cancellation


There are different quota to book your ticket. Check on the general quota at the beginning.

Then if you don’t find any seat, you can wait to book your train ticket 24h before the train departure, with the tatkal quota: it is a last minute booking, some seats are available. You must book it fast, many people are trying to book their ticket in tatkal.

If you have a tourist visa you can book it through the tourist quota: in most of the trains, some seats are available for tourists, but you can’t book it online, you have to take it in a train station in India (not in all the train station, for exemple you can only book it in the New Delhi Railway Station in Delhi).

Book a ticket

Now you know if the train is available, how to book the ticket? It is quite complicated for a foreigner, but it depends if you have an indian phone number or not and an indian bank account or not.

  • If you have an Indian phone number, you can book you train in the IRCTC website ( First, create an IRCTC account. Once you register all your details, they will send you a code by SMS and another one by email, then you will have to use the two codes to confirm you account. Then, when your account is created, login to book a ticket.

You will although not be allowed to buy tatkal tickets (last minute) if you do not have Indian bank account.

  • If you don’t have an Indian phone number: it will be more difficult, as there are some extra steps. But if you are patient you can try.
    1. You are ready to pay 100rs. You can now create an account with foreign phone number if you pay 100rs by international card before receiving the code by SMS on your phone. It covers the cost of sending a SMS abroad. An account created this way allows you to book tourist quota ticket in 1AC and 2AC with an extra charge of 200rs. These online tourist quota tickets are expensive though. System is not working very well as per our guests feedback. Not everybody is receiving the SMS.
    2. You do not want to pay 100rs or you are not receiving the SMS on your phone.
      1. You need to send an email to to ask them to send you your mobile OTP on your email address. Attach in the mail a scan of your passport, and give your IRCTC user ID. Explain in your mail that you are a foreigner (give your name), that you don’t have an indian number, and that you want to receive this code in your mail address to activate and synchronise your cleartrip and IRCTC account. You will receive a mail from saying that they have recieved you mail. Note the Ticket ID that they give you.
      2. Then, wait for their answer (it can takes a few days). They will give you your new mobile OTP and they will change your IRCTC password, so note it. If you don’t receive any answer in the next few days, send them another email asking for your mobile OTP, as you already did. Once you get the answer, you can activate you IRCTC account. Go to the IRCTC website, login and enter you mobile OTP in the mobile verification code.
      3. Then you can pay directly in the IRCTC account.

Now you should be able to get your train tickets !

Some extra tips

  • gives you the chance to be confirmed. Avoid to book if chances are less than 90%. This website also gives you alternatives.
  • You should book your ticket as soon as possible, up to 120 days before departure if you can. On some trains, you can book only 30 days before.Book train ticket
  • Taktal are sold 2 days before if trains are started one day before reaching your station of departure.
  • We can book your train tickets, we charge between 150 and 300rs/ticket (upto 6 passengers).