For those who are modern users of the Indian Railways are familiar with the new gateway to Indian Railways online services – The IRCTC. It stands for Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. It is a subsidiary unit of the Indian Railways. The IRCTC is responsible for handling the catering, online ticketing as well as tourism aspects of the Indian Railways.
Catering was the primary service which was separated as a unit to be known as IRCTC. Since the catering requirements are quite extensive in the Indian Railways, this unit was formed separately to concentrate on the quality of food offered as per the different classes in which people travel. Also, depending on the duration of travel and distance covered, IRCTC is responsible for equipping trains with pantry cars or arranging for meals to be collected from selected stations. As it developed, it expanded into the online ticketing area for Indian Railways. It now provides the services for online ticketing, checking PNR status, mobile services via SMS or GPRS. It also enables passengers to request for cancellations online and opt for electronic or e-tickets which can be printed out and presented in the train. By post deliveries of train tickets is also possible on IRCTC.
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There are various ways to check one’s PNR status by using the services of IRCTC. When one books one’s ticket through IRCTC, one needs to create a free account by providing valid personal details and contact information. When ticket booking is done through IRCTC, one can look for availability of train tickets on various quotas and can accordingly book tickets online. When the PNR status of booked tickets comes as RAC or WL, one can keep checking back on the site itself to know whether the PNR status has been upgraded to confirmed or RAC respectively. Today, there are many other sites which have been set up to help reduce the load of online traffic which flock to IRCTC. Facilities like checking for PNR status online can be done on other sites like irctc-pnrstatus.com or http://www.indianrail.gov.in/pnr_stat.html. These sites allows one to type in their PNR number and get the information directly without having to log into any account as it is required in IRCTC. However, besides checking PNR status, one can do other things simultaneously in IRCTC which is not provided on any other site.
On finding that the PNR status is remaining at WL or when one is not able to travel on a given date for any reason, one can log back into the IRCTC account and place in a request for cancellation. As per the different cancellation procedures, one’s money is refunded back into the bank account or credit card account provided to IRCTC. One can also opt for additional services like taxi pickup booking, hotel booking, special tourist train packages and other services through IRCTC which is not available on any other site.
When the traffic is heavy on IRCTC and one cannot access one’s account, one can also call up the Indian Railways Enquiry System at 139 and obtain information about their PNR status.