The Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world spanning for over 1,00,000 km, running more than 10,000 trains carrying more than one crore passengers everyday and various commercial goods from one destination to other. Booking a seat in a train is very easy and can be done by anyone. There are a number of methods of booking a train ticket which include booking it through the IRCTC website, through IRCTC mobile application, through railway reservation counter and through an IRCTC authorised agents. Usually tickets have to be booked in advance and in some trains they have to be booked several days in advance in order to get a reserved ticket. You can always check the IRCTC availability status on the website or at the railway station. In case you are booking a ticket through the internet, you should always check the IRCTC availability of seats before booking because a waiting list ticket is liable to be cancelled and the amount refunded to the passenger. Here is an explanation of IRCTC availability of seats:
- Advanced reservation of seats is allowed, which for some trains is as early as 90 days from the date of journey. In case you can a reserved ticket, the seat number and the coach number allotted to you would be mentioned on your ticket. In case no seat number or coach number is mentioned, RAC or WL followed by a number would be mentioned on your ticket.
- RAC stand for reservation against cancellation. Passengers having an RAC ticket are allowed to board the train, however they are not allotted any berth but a seating accommodation. They may be allotted a berth depending upon the number of passengers cancelling their reserved tickets prior to the journey.
- WL stand for waiting list and passengers having a waiting list ticket are not allowed to board the train. They would be allotted a seat only when a certain number of RAC passengers cancel their ticket or when a certain number of RAC passengers are allotted reserved seats after they were cancelled by the passenger.
- The number of wait list tickets is always fixed and after the limit is reached, no ticket is booked. The system shows a REGRET status.
You can make an IRCTC availability enquiry at the railway station. You can also check the IRCTC availability status on the IRCTC website or the IRCTC mobile application. However, you should be aware that IRCTC availability status available on the internet is dynamic and changes every second. It also takes time to upload the new status. Every minute a number of tickets are being booked and cancelled because of which the IRCTC availability of seats on the internet lags from the original IRCTC availability status. It is always advisable to plan your travel well in advance so that you can get a reserved ticket for your journey. It is also advisable not to book your ticket if the IRCTC availability status is WL.
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