India Travel

Indian Railways: How To Buy Train Tickets Online

Travelling on a train is one of the best means of transportation in India. You can admire all the amazing landscapes en route to your destination and also make lots of new friends during the journey. A lot of tourists prefer this way of travel. If you want to be one of them, read on to know how to book your tickets.

The Process

The process of booking a ticket can be very confusing. A decade ago there were no websites through which you could book online tickets for Indian railways. As a result, people had to stand in long lines at the rail stations to book one.

Thankfully, with the initiation of lots of new travel websites, you can book your tickets online now with zero hassles.

You can book your tickets directly via IRCTC (a site launched by the Government that lets you generate e-tickets). Since it’s by the government, it’s 100% safe and genuine. But it has lots of technical issues, and that can be very annoying.


There are other websites like Cleartrip where you can book tickets with much ease. And the best part is that this site is affiliated with IRCTC, so it’s genuine. Their interface is really straightforward and safe with no chance of confusion. So it’s best to reserve your seats from here. They also provide you with a lot more assistance in addition to just booking tickets. Here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you book tickets via Cleartrip.

Tip: Before you start with Cleartrip, go to the IRCTC website and register yourself there. This is mandatory while making bookings on Cleartrip.

Filling Basic Details

1. Visit the Cleartrip website, and when you open it, the page should look something like this.

The default page on Cleartrip

2. You can see from the options on the left side that you can book Hotel tickets, Resort tickets and much more. They even give you offers and discounts sometimes. Since we’re looking to book a train ticket, choose the option “Trains”. Then the page will look like the below. Don’t bother with the options on the right side like “Checking PNR Status”. This is for those people who have already booked their tickets.

The train booking page
The train booking page.

3. Now start with the first part of the process, which is selecting the stations from which you are departing and the one you’re going to (your destination). Now, remember that there is usually more than one station in every state. Therefore, be certain about that before you continue with the process. The moment you write the name of a state or city, the drop down box will show all the stations of that place.

4. Now that you’ve selected your From and To destinations, the next option is selecting the class that you want to travel in. This can be very confusing for many people but don’t worry. Check out our article, Indian Railway: What the Different Classes Mean. We’ve explained each class elaborately there so you can choose one that suits your needs.

5. Once you’re done with that, pick the date on which you plan to start your journey. This should be fairly easy. The next option is stating the number of people that are travelling. This is separated by age limits because the price differs accordingly. Below each one of these options, age limits are given so you can choose if you fall in the Adult category or Senior Men or Senior Women category (for example, a person between the age of 12-60 years falls under the Adult category). Click on the Search Trains option after this.

Choosing a Train

1. A new page has opened up displaying the names of many trains that are departing on the date you’ve mentioned from your entered location. If you have a preferred departure or arrival time, you can set that using the options provided on the left side of the page. The results will be shown accordingly.

2. I suppose that you’ve already registered yourself on IRCTC. If yes, then you can check the available seats for your desired train by clicking on Check Availability button. If not, then you can do it now. When you click on Check Availability, they’ll ask you to enter your IRCTC username. If you haven’t registered, there is a link attached right there where you can do so. Click on that and follow up the instructions.

3. While checking for seats, if it shows available then you’re good to go. But if options like Tatkal and Waiting List are shown, you might get confused.

Well, let me tell you that if you’re on a Waiting List, then you don’t have a reserved seat. Sure, you’ll have a ticket. When someone with a reserved seat cancels their ticket, a person from the waiting list will get it.

If your number on the list is 1, then the first cancelled seat will be reserved for you and the next cancelled seat will go to the 2nd person on the list and so on. In my opinion, if the waiting list is less than 5 or 7, there’s a good chance you’ll get a seat, but more than ten might not be a good idea.

Tatkal ticket means booking at the last moment. For example, if you have an emergency and have to book a ticket suddenly (a reserved seat), then you can opt for Tatkal. But do remember that you’ll have to pay extra money for that. These tickets are released the day before at midday.

4. The total fare of each train will differ slightly. So choose the one that suits your pocket and click on the “Book” button.

Final 4-Step Process

Now that you’ve booked your ticket, there are four pages that you’ll have to fill in your basic info into. These are relatively easy. After this process, your e-ticket will be generated.

Page 1

The first page is just a review of all the options you selected including the name and number of the train, the class, reserved or not and your chosen dates of departure and arrival to and from the respective locations.

Also, the total price inclusive of all taxes will be shown here. The best thing about Cleartrip is that on the right side of this page, they have broken down your price to show you how much of it is the tax, service fee, etc. Check the “I understand” option if there is no further confusion.

Page 2

This page asks for your email address, but since you’re registered with them already, it’s fine.

Page 3

This page is what I mentioned earlier about Cleartrip providing additional facilities beyond just booking a ticket. This page is divided into two: Traveller Info and Contact Info.

In the former part, you are asked to fill your name, age, berth preference and meal preference. If you have booked a ticket for more than one person, you have to fill this for each one of them.

In the latter part, you have to provide your name and contact number.

Page 4

This is the “Payment Page”. All the payment options are available. Your info is protected so don’t worry about anything of that sort.


Finally! You’re done with all the processes. You can view your generated e-ticket now. Print this and carry it with you during your journey. If you’re on a waiting list, keep checking your PNR status every day from the website to see if you’ve got a reserved seat or not (PNR number will be on your ticket).

Enjoy your trip!

By Merlin Chacko

Currently studying English Literature at Delhi University. Obsessed with Harry Potter and NOT Shakespeare. I believe that nothing nourishes the soul like books and travelling. Constantly amazed by the Indian culture and its history. Personally feel that the old forts and ruined palaces in India are almost magical.

Leave a Reply