Types of Reservations and Tickets in Indian Railways

Booking of seats in a particular train starts three months before the journey date of the train.

Anyone who is willing to travel through train can book the ticket of a particular train of any class three month before the schedule departure of the train.

In some popular trains during vacations or any big festivals like Eid, Diwali and Holi, seats are reserved so fast that even 2 months before the schedule departure of the train there is no ticket seat available.

Most of the people who are living away from their home plan to return during vacation/ festival to celebrate and enjoy the holidays with their family so at that time there is more rush for confirm ticket than normal days.

While booking the train ticket there might be four possibilities:

  • Confirm Ticket
  • RAC Ticket
  • Waiting
  • Regret

What are Confirm tickets?

Confirm ticket is granted to the passenger when there is full seat available in a particular train and particular class whose ticket need to be booked.

A passenger with confirm ticket gets PNR number printed on the ticket along with coach number and seat number.

The coach number and seat number is assigned randomly by the Railway Reservation System depending upon the availability of the seats.

However if you are booking the train ticket online through IRCTC or any other online platform then you can easily mention the berth preference (lower, middle, upper and side lower) and if preferred slot is vacant during the booking of the train then it will be assigned to you.

How to get Confirm Ticket?

The only way to get 100% confirm ticket is by booking the ticket three months before the schedule departure of the train.

However one can also get confirm ticket by booking the seat just one day before the start day of the train through tatkal scheme but it is very risky because there is certain limitation and very less chance of getting confirm ticket.

Tatkal window opens one day before the schedule departure of the train from the source station from 9 AM to 11 AM. The timing for tatkal booking of sleeper class and AC class is different and there is very less chance of getting confirm ticket because in a fraction of second all the tickets are booked and only waiting is left therefore tatkal has no surety as some time IRCTC server also hangs due to load of traffic.

What is RAC?

RAC is a short form of reservation against cancellation in which side lower seats of train is shared among two passengers.

RAC ticket is given to the passengers when there is no available seats left in the train. When train ticket is booked then first of all the seats that are available are booked and confirmed ticket is provided to the passengers.

When only few seats are left in train then RAC ticket is given to the passenger in which a person booking the ticket cannot opt for any seat like window side, middle or lower berth instead only side lower seats are provided and that also shared among two passengers.

In RAC booking passenger can only comfortably sit on the seat.

When RAC ticket is also finished then waiting ticket booking starts in which no seats are allotted to the passenger and the only way to confirm waiting ticket is when someone cancels his/her confirm ticket then only there is chance of getting RAC or waiting ticket to be confirmed.

What is Waiting Ticket?

When all the seats of a train ticket in a particular class is booked and there is no vacant seat left then waiting ticket is provided to the passenger.

A passenger having waiting ticket do not have right to sit on the seat and the only hope is to wait until the ticket is confirmed.

You might be thinking that if the passenger with ticket cannot take seat then why waiting ticket is provided, you are thinking absolutely correct but the reason behind this is because low waiting list tickets often gets confirm when someone cancel his/her confirm ticket.

When any passenger having confirm ticket cancels ticket then the seat becomes vacant and the same seat is delivered to lowest waiting list passenger and this process continues until the final chart is prepared.

If a ticket is booked through online platform like IRCTC and it remains in waiting list after the final preparation of the chart then it automatically cancels and the refund is initiated. Such tickets are invalid to travel.

However, if the ticket is booked from Railway Reservation counter then the passenger can travel with this ticket but cannot take any seat and the only hope is TTE.

Such passengers can talk to TTE and if any seat is left vacant then such seat can be granted by TTE because TTE is the only person having reservation chart and they note down which seats are vacant during checking of tickets.

TTE has right to grant seats to anyone but in a legal way.

Types of Waiting List

While booking waiting train ticket you might have noticed different types of waiting list mentioned. Let’s understand each type one by one:

  • GNWL
  • RLWL
  • PQWL
  • RLGN
  • RSWL

What is GNWL?

GNWL stands for general waiting list. This waiting list is provided to those passengers that book the ticket from the source station to destination station.

For example, Any train whose source station is Delhi and Destination station is Mumbai then all the waiting ticket booked from these station will receive general waiting list (GNWL).

GNWL has highest chances of getting in to RAC or confirmation list.

Any passenger with GNWL ticket or waiting ticket is not eligible to travel in train and it is subject to punishment.

Meaning of RLWL

RLWL stands for remote location waiting list. This type of waiting list is provided to those passengers who book the ticket from any remote or intermediate station.

For example, if source station of a particular train is Delhi and its intermediate stations are Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow and its destination station is Varanasi then if any passenger book ticket from intermediate stations like, Ghaziabad, Kanpur or Lucknow then he will be provided remote location waiting list.

The chances of confirmation of remote location waiting list (RLWL) are very less as compared to general waiting list (GNWL).

Meaning of PQWL

PQWL stands for pooled quota waiting list. Pooled quota waiting is provided when passenger book waiting ticket either from source station to any intermediate station or from any intermediate station to destination station.

For example, A train starts from source station Delhi has an intermediate station Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, and the destination station of the train is Varanasi.

Now, whenever any passenger books a waiting ticket either from source station Delhi to any intermediate station like Kanpur or from an intermediate station Kanpur to destination station Varanasi then pooled quota waiting is issued.

The chances of confirmation of such waiting tickets are almost zero.

Meaning of RLGN

RSWL stands for road side station waiting list. Tickets issued in road side station waiting condition has chances of either getting confirmed or getting RAC.

Meaning of Regret

Regret is a condition in Indian railway when all the tickets are booked and even there is no waiting ticket left.

In such situation no ticket is issued to the passenger because there is no chance of getting either confirm or waiting ticket.

When entire waiting list of particular in train is booked then it shows regret and the option of booking the ticket disappears.

Does RAC ticket confirms?

No doubt, RAC ticket is a confirm ticket with only limitation of half seat with restriction of side lower. Such ticket has coach and seat number mentioned.

RAC tickets can also become confirm ticket before final preparation of the chart and if the ticket is confirmed then you will be re-allotted new coach and seat number where you will get one full seat but before that make sure to check the PNR number after the final preparation of the chart.

It’s not necessary that you will get side lower seat only when your RAC ticket is confirmed, instead any seat can be allotted depending upon the availability of the seat in the train.

Can we choose seat layout in RAC ticket?

While booking the train ticket either online or offline, you can enter your seat preference but if the train has only RAC slot then only side lower berth is allotted to the passenger and this seat is shared among two passengers.

However if the ticket is confirmed before the final chart is prepared, then there might be chances of getting preferred seat but not sure.

There is also not surety of getting exactly the same seat preference even thought confirm ticket is available because there might be chances that all those seats particular class is already booked.

For example, there are generally 72 berths in a sleeper coach, now most of the passengers avoid for middle berth due to many reasons in such situation if all the side lower berth is booked two months before then any passenger who is booking just 10 days before the departure date and choose for side lower berth in the berth preference option then he/she will not get mentioned berth instead randomly vacant seat is allotted.

What is Tatkal Reservation?

“Tatkal” is a hindi word which means instant therefore tatkal ticket is type of confirm ticket which allows booking of confirm ticket just one day before the departure of train from the source station.

Tatkal ticket is meant for those passengers who are travelling in an emergency or a sudden plan is made to travel by train.

The rate of Tatkal ticket is higher than the normal ticket fare and the biggest disadvantage of this type of reservation is that a tatkal ticket is not refundable that is if a passenger cancels his/her tatkal ticket then no refund is entertained.

How to Book Tatkal Ticket?

Tatkal ticket can be booked just one day before the schedule departure of the train from the source station and the booking is open until the train has left the station from where reservation is to be made.

The chances of getting confirm tatkal ticket is very less because there are only limited number of seats with lot of crowd.

What is the Timing for Booking Tatkal Ticket?

Timing for booking tatkal ticket is different for both sleeper and AC.

The tatkal booking for AC starts at 10 AM in the morning and for sleeper opens at 11 AM.

What is Premium Tatkal Ticket?

Premium tatkal is a type of tatkal ticket whose reservation starts after the tatkal ticket is exhausted.

The rate of premium tatkal is higher than the normal tatkal ticket and it goes on increasing as the number of ticket decreases.

What is TQWL?

TQWL stands for tatkal quota waiting list. TQWL comes after all the confirm takal seat is booked.

Total number of tatkal ticket in a train is roughly around 20% of the total seats and when all these seats are booked then tatkal quota waiting list is issued to the passenger.

What are General Tickets?

General tickets are unreserved tickets that can be purchased easily from general ticket counter or booked online through UTS mobile App.

General tickets are suitable for passengers travelling for a short distance. A passenger with general ticket is allowed only to travel in general bogie and if any passenger with general ticket found in any other compartment then it is punishable and fine might be charged.

In the general compartment, there are only seats to sit and travel and there is not facility of reservation.

What is Platform Ticket?

Platform tickets are meant only for those who are visiting the station platform for some work like to receive someone coming from the train or to see off.

Platform tickets are valid for 2 hours.