The IRCTC online ticket booking system is used for booking tickets over the internet. For any train, the online booking can be done 60 days prior to the date of journey. This is known as Advance Reservation Period (ARP). Only exception to this is the IRCTC online ticket booking under tatkal quota, where the ticket booking opens only 1 day prior to the train leaving day.

The steps involved to use the ticket booking system are straightforward. In order to do online train reservation a person can follow the following steps:

Note: these are simplified steps. For comprehensive information on online train ticket booking in India (with details of latest railway rules), read IRCTC online railway ticket booking system in India.
  1. First Step - Create account on irctc's next generation eticketing system. If you don't have one you can do so by following the procedure explained at individual registration on irctc sign up page.
  2. Second Step - If you are already a registered user, use your username and password and sign in into the site as explained at irctc login for next generation system page. 
  3. Third Step - If you are able to login successfully, you can actually start to plan the journey by using the 'journey planner' or 'plan my travel' page. To finalize the online ticket booking on irctc and for instructions on how to do it we have created a user guide. Download the next generation e-ticketing journey planner guide which provide clear instructions on booking etickets online. Since this guide is in pdf format it can be saved on your computer and can be used whenever you sit for booking tickets online on irctc to get help.
irctc online ticket reservation form
while doing online ticket booking irctc needs you to enter passenger details
and train details, like train no. and train name. The ID card is required at the
time of journey and while doing tatkal booking.

It is so easy to do train ticket booking. In fact it is so easy that more and more people are moving towards cyber cafes to get rail tickets online rather than standing in a queue at railway reservation office. One can easily understand this as irctc online system is fast, secure, and saves time spend in booking tickets.

Note that it is not only that the tickets can be booked online. The tickets can be cancelled online too. To learn how to do it you can see our eticket cancellation guide.

The fast nature of online ticket booking also means that if you are late, it is possible that the tickets are already sold, and they are not available. Or you might not get a confirmed ticket. To avoid this problem it is recommended that you do booking of tickets well in advance, as early as possible. There is always extra rush in indian railways, especially during festival period and holidays, and if you are planning to travel home during this time it is better to logon to irctc online ticket booking system many days before the journey date and at least check the seat availability in trains to get the idea if it will be possible to get a confirmed ticket later.

Sometimes the online ticketing system does not work. If irctc is not working there are many alternatives. There are authorized agents that are permitted by irctc to issue tickets on their behalf. Go and contact them to get tickets at the same price as what you  would spend if you purchase them directly from railway.

Apart from authorized agents there are various unofficial travel agents that can also provide you tickets. But understand that these agents will charge you more than the normal fare. We recommend that you use it as a last option. Use it if you don't get a confirmed seat even under tatkal scheme.

There is no doubt that ever since the irctc online ticket booking has started it has proved to be beneficial for railway users in india and has also increased the revenue of railways.

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