Great Work by Indian Railways

Ever since Indian Railways launched their online booking service via IRCTC’s website, I stopped going to the railway station for booking tickets.

This website is great! Initially, they did not have the concept of e-tickets. They just had i-tickets, which are booked online but are delivered to the customer by post and look just like regular train tickets. But still they’re an improvement, in that if someone finds them, he can’t go to the station, cancel them and get a cash refund. Here, the money is refunded to the card or account from which it was booked.

IRCTC ticket booking page

Then, of course, they started e-tickets as well. These are great. They can be booked AND cancelled online. And of course, carrying a printout of the online booking confirmation (called ERS) is enough.

The website has been improving continuously over time. In between, they also changed the look and made it a bit more stylish. It is very easy and straightforward to book tickets here. Just enter the origin and destination, select the date and class and the site shows the list of trains on that route. You can see the route map, ticket availability, fare, etc. before booking it.

Tatkal booking can also be done online now, which is great and very useful! But for Tatkal booking, they should insist on some identification, to prevent mass bookings by travel agents.

There are numerous payment options, be it credit card, debit card or net banking. There is no dearth of choice here, which is great! But there are transaction fees levied by the payment gateways, which is silly. No other travel website does that.

There is also a ‘Booked tickets’ section where you can see the booking history. If there is a problem during online payment, you can check here to see if the booking was done or not. Initially there used to be occasional failures during payment but all that has been taken care of now. But try to avoid ICICI Bank payment gateway as far as possible. Citibank gateway is the fastest and best, from my experience.

There also used to be a lot of sudden temporary downtime initially, where the site would go down for short periods of time several times a day. But nowadays it has improved on that significantly.

Customer care is decent, just had to use it once. It’s ok.

Now for the problems:

– They should add an option for one-way and round-trip booking. Right now we need to repeat the process for round-trip bookings.

– The option for selecting class should be removed. The booking form should show all trains between origin and destination on the given date, and all classes (Sleeper, AC 3 tier, AC 2 tier, etc.) supported on that train should be shown alongside the train itself. Right now, we need to repeat the search with a different class, if the earlier chosen class is full or not available on that train.

– Bookings can be done only between 5 AM and 11.30 PM, which is fine most of the time, but doesn’t make sense in today’s age. On any other travel website, bus or air tickets can be booked round the clock. I don’t know what is stopping IRCTC from doing the same?

– As said earlier, they should insist on some identification for Tatkal tickets, to prevent mass bookings by travel agents.

– They should add a toll-free 24 hours customer support number. The current number is a regular MTNL landline number based in Delhi, so we are charged at STD rates for calling them.

– Profile can be edited but does not allow you to change your name! I think that’s very silly. I haven’t seen any site not allowing you to update your name, at least indirectly (by mailing them). It doens’t make any sense at all. In my case, I changed my name legally via an affidavit a few years back, but this site doesn’t allow me to update my name. I mailed customer care but they also said that the name cannot be changed, and asked me to create a new account!

But all in all, great job done by Indian Railways! Keep it up!



  1. Vishal BhallaVishal Bhalla12-10-2012

    I just have a Query.Please provide me with an answer.Thank you.

    1.How does the Irctc System work simultaneously along with the real time ticketing which is also taking place at the counter.Is it because of the real time database and the tickets booked via IRCTC are blocked for a certain duration and not available then at the counter?
    2.How much is the duration.
    3.IRCTC has a tie up with all banks to support this scheme right?

    • Vijay PadiyarVijay Padiyar12-10-2012

      IRCTC ticketing works just like any other e-ticketing scheme. Just as you can book a movie ticket online as well as at the counter, the same system works for IRCTC. And yes IRCTC has a tie up with all major banks.

  2. when was the last time you visited the site??

    • Vijay PadiyarVijay Padiyar05-19-2012

      I visit it every now and then. But I don’t believe in modifying reviews once written, except to add more information. If many things have changed, I write a separate fresh review.

  3. ChinmayChinmay07-21-2010

    Hey Pranjal i guess This is the same thing that happend to me as well. Now i realise the Importance of the Agent who used to book my tickets earlier. there was no hassles nor any tension to wake up early and book those tickets. there is no change in the system. it stil shows numerous errors. it was a better option to go to an agent pay money and get the ticket rather than sit manually on internet face so many problems and not get a ticket.

  4. PranjalPranjal07-20-2010

    I have an IRCTC account which is locked second time.
    When i tried to reset the password through forget password link, it asks User id, question and Answer. I provided all the details and it throws an error “Answer is Incorrect”. This happend second time and both the times i tried to login through the actual password.
    I waited for a week and there was no response from IRCTC customer care. I called them up on 24 Hrs. Customer Support at 011-23340000 and it took about 12 calls to make them understand about the issue. When ever i called up the customer support the person attnding the call will redirect me to someone else after listening to my detail and again i need to explain whole story, inshort that was waste of time and money.
    I sent an email at also submit at and got an automated email as Ticket Confirmation for the request.
    IRCTC should hire service and satisfaction oriented support executives so that it a common man has no pain of wasting time and money.

    Can someone please help me.

  5. Shivam RanaShivam Rana07-13-2010

    Its True Vijay, just like you majority of the population shifted to online booking, may be at home or through IRCTC Authorized Agents, but now when a decision has been passed by the IRCTC that these Agents wont be able to book online Tatkal Tickets, i really don’t know how the commn man would react to such a scenario.
    Its reali sad to see such a decision being taken by IRCTC who has always worked for the betterment of the General Public.

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