Computers are ubiquitous and it hasn't left Indian Railways behind. IRCTC is a site for booking train tickets online.
Unlike the booking of air tickets, IRCTC accept your debit cards as well. So, those who don't like credit cards (for any matter), can use this site to book tickets online without any fuss. Even now, I can see so many people standing in a long queue to book their tickets! If you know how to create a e-mail online, then you can book a train ticket as well.
It will take about 5 minutes to book a ticket online when you have all the other information handy. You can use many other sites to check for the availability and then carry on to this site to book the ticket online.
Better use e-ticket option
There are two options in the site. one is i-ticket and the other e-ticket. When you choose i-ticket, the ticket booked will be delivered at your doorstep. When you choose e-ticket, the ticket will be instantly delivered through your printer! Even if you don't have a printer, go to the nearest xerox shop which takes print-out, and take one. This does saves time and you needn't have to wait to get your ticket.
Booking Wait listed tickets - Beware!!
Now, IRCTC has come up with an option for booking wait listed tickets as well as e-ticket. But, If you book the wait listed ticket and it is not confirmed on time, you will considered ticket less.
So, Have this in mind while booking the wait listed tickets.
Can I take a print-out of the ticket from my mail?
IRCTC does a good job in making a secure connection gateway with various banks and books your ticket online. It also sends an email to you regarding the ticket booked.
If you want to take the print-out of the ticket, Go to the booked tickets and enter your ID no and take the print out. Don't ever take the print-out of the mail sent by IRCTC.
I saw few people in train having the print-out taken from the mail sent by IRCTC. TTR was completely against that and asked for the fine. More than the fine, the horrifying time that you spend in there will make you miserable.
The problem is actually, the mail doesn't contain the ID (License,Passport etc.,) number and TTR is supposed to check the ID number for confirmation.
If you are booking tickets for your friends/relatives and you are not traveling, Please make sure to copy the needed print-out in some format and attach that in your mail to them. Don't ever just forward the mail sent by IRCTC. This will make the journey more merrier without any hassle with the TTR.
Money lost while booking ticket - This will not happen
Sometimes, when you are booking the ticket through IRCTC, money will be taken from your account but the browser says there was some problem while booking the ticket. Don't worry. This happens once-in-a-while in IRCTC and they reverse the money taken from your account in couple of days.
But before you try to book the same ticket, please check if the ticket is booked under the Booked tickets. If this is the case, you might end up booking the same ticket twice and there will be no refund.
For these things, the service charge is around Rs.10/- per ticket per person. you can book for max. 6 persons at a time (one of them should carry ID with them) and for each person added, the service charge of Rs.5/- will be added.
If you have a bigger group, you can book in a group of 6.
Other than this there will be service charge from the bank/card as well.
But considering the advantages we get by booking tickets from home, it clearly outweighs booking tickets through counter on all cases.