Users of IRCTC (online railway booking system) can now opt for Vikalp Scheme. What is it? How can you benefit from Vikalp scheme of railway. Its use, rules and regulations, and what as a train ticket buyer you should be aware of when you opt for Vikalp Scheme, all is discussed here.

IRCTC Vikalp Scheme

Term "Vikalp" means "the option" in English. IRCTC Vikalp scheme provide options to people who have done online train booking to get seats in alternate trains leaving from same place within 30 minutes to 72 hrs of the scheduled departure of the original train in which they have booked their train ticket.

irctc vikalp

It is specially useful for people having waiting list ticket and they realize that it will be difficult for their ticket to get confirmed. 

These users can opt for vikalp scheme to see if railway can give them accommodation in alternate train. It's not a guarantee that you will get a confirmed seat, but it's worth trying especially when  you won't be charged extra for using this scheme.

Rules of Vikalp Scheme 

  1. You should opt for Vikalp Scheme before chart preparation of train.
  2. Once opted for Vikalp Scheme no modification in journey (like change in passenger name, cancelling few passengers) is allowed.
  3. Only those passengers who are in waiting list even after chart preparation are considered for allotment of seats in alternate train.
  4. Vikalp scheme doesn't guarantee confirmed seat in other train. What this means? This means that if you have a waiting (WL) status in original train you may get WL/RAC? confirmed status in alternate train.
  5. If you don't get a confirmed ticket in alternate train, you can cancel your e-ticket on IRCTC by filing TDR (ticket depository receipt) online. But when tickets are cancelled you will be treated as a passenger having a confirmed ticket in alternate train. The cancellation charges and refund will be granted accordingly. 
  6. Either all passengers on same PNR ticket are transferred to alternate train or none at all.
  7. Vikalp Scheme applier can choose max 7 alternate trains for getting alternate accommodation.
  8. Passenger can travel in alternate train on authority of original train ERS (Electronic Reservation Slip) or SMS received from IRCTC. 

Benefits of Vikalp Scheme

As a user of Vikalp Scheme, users of IRCTC online e-ticketing system  have following benefits:
  • Higher chances to get accommodation in train.
  • You can travel in faster/ higher grade train even though you have purchased the ticket of normal passenger train without paying extra money (difference of fare).
  • You don't have to buy tickets for many different trains in order to see which one gets confirmed. This way you save money, not only on booking of train tickets but also cancellation charges that would have been applied while giving you refund on cancelling untraveled tickets.

Be Aware of Following Vikalp Scheme Rules

  • Your boarding point, class of travel, type of train may change when you apply for Vikalp Scheme. Your boarding point could be any among the cluster of stations. It simply means you should be prepared to catch the train from nearby railway station.
  • Suppose your original train was Rajdhani but you are given confirmed ticket in alternate train under Vikalp which is superfast, Indian Railway won't pay you refund for travelling in lesser train type.
  • Once you get a seat in alternate train, you cannot travel in original train.
  • You should check the pnr status after chart preparation of original train to see if you are given seat in alternate train. Your PNR status will show you seat number, train number and other details of new train.
  • Once get a ticket in alternate train you are treated as normal passenger of that train. It means you can do all the things that a normal train traveler having Indian Railway ticket can do. You can also be chosen for irctc auto upgradation scheme in alternate train, if you ticked on 'consider for auto upgradation' while doing original booking online.
  • Once you are chosen under Vikalp Scheme, your reservation details won't appear in reservation charts of original train. Instead you can see those details on alternate train's chart, as separate attachment.

How to apply in IRCTC Vikalp

  1. Once you have done train ticket booking using online railway reservation system of IRCTC. Go to "My bookings" section. You will find it under "MY Account" menu option on IRCTC. It is visible to only those users who have done IRCTC login already.
  2. Now select your ticket and you will have option for applying in Vikalp Scheme.
  3. You will be asked to provide max 7 choices from list of trains in which you wish to travel. Make choice, and submit.
That's it! Indian Railway Catering and Tourism (IRCTC) Vikalp scheme is definitely a wonderful scheme for Indian Railway users as it increases their chances of getting confirmed accommodation for journey. It applies to all trains and for all classes, across all quota's (including concession tickets and tatkal bookings).

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