Indian Railway is one the of the most popular mode of transportation in India. It is unavoidable mode of transportation as well. Unavoidable Yes! Thanks to its fantastic reach. You may be an elite traveler used to plane travel and luxury cars but be prepared for train travel if you are going to move extensively in India.
To few train travel is a frightening spectacle especially if you cannot afford to travel in AC class. The dirt, squabble and chaos of second class travel is by no means palatable especially if you are traveling for a long distance. Anyway here are few this to remember:
Book you ticket in advance. Reservations start forty five day before travel date.
Booking can be done online as well through booking counters on stations.
Tour & Travel operators also book tickets through booking counter.
Book in AC Class if not on budget travel. Ist, 2nd & 3rd.
Keep tab of your reservation if in waiting.
Book by Tatkal reservation system if seat availability is not there.
Tatkal reservation is available three day before travel date.
Do not eat from unregistered eateries and porters. IRCTC catering is safe.
Carry mineral water, colas and packed fruit juices.
Do not eat food offered by suspicious elements in fact avoid totally. Carry you own food.
Buy fruits with peel.
Keep tab on your luggage. Best use chain lock.
Keep tab on personal valuables. Keep your ticket safe.
Do not alight at the station en route if necessary do it for short time. Ask a fellow traveler that you trust to keep a tab on your luggage albeit it is no guarantee. Do not blindly trust anyone.
Know your rail route before hand.
Know your train particulars name number and timings.
Reach station before hand and make sure of the platform it is arriving at.
There is an inquiry counter on every station for information. Do not trust anyone for information. The porters can be of assistance. Check for registration number plate on shoulder.
Indian Railway travel is safe and enjoyable as it offer you sight of vast cross section of the country. Basic precautions have to be taken like in case of any mode of travel. Since number of passengers is so high it can be a bit chaotic. Travel by AC class if you need more privacy and comfort.
IRCTC website offers online reservation facility. You can buy I-ticket and E-ticket online. If the ticket is in waiting list then you can check online. Railway reservation status is checked using the 10 digit PNR number on your ticket. You can find reservation status using pnr number online at IRCTC website. The site provides pnr status enquiry tool to find your reservation.
Other means to check pnr status is through mobile phone sms service. IRCTC has made it possible to check reservation status using SMS pnr enquiry number assigned. This is done through mobile messaging utility. You should keeb a tab of your reservation status. If your train berth or seat is confirmed than note down you coach and berth number to avoid last minute finding about.
Find the arrival platform early and then see the coach number mentioned on the plates hanging from the station roof. The platform number is also shown in this manner. Stand with your luggage in less crowded portion of the platform. As the train arrives confirm the train number as well as the coach number mentioned on the coach. Confirm your berth on chart next to the door if posted. Or seek the TTC help who is normally available few minutes before the arrival of train near the coach.
For more serious matters relating to any discomfort or service you can seek guidance from the top authority - The Station Master.