ndia has the fourth largest railway network in the world and nearly 2.2-crore people travel by trains every day. No wonder, it is often very difficult to get a confirmed ticket, especially during holiday seasons or when the travel involves a busy train route such as Secunderabad (Hyderabad) to Allahabad.
Being a frequent traveller, I used to find it one of the biggest challenges in the world. But not anymore! I recently undertook an extensive research and have discovered some tricks that are very helpful in getting a train ticket confirmed.
In Indian Railways’ jargon, you must have encountered some abbreviations like GNWL, RLWL, PQWL, TQWL. Before I share the tricks for getting confirmed tickets, without waiting for the dicey Tatkal, it is necessary to understand these abbreviations so to be able to make a wiser decision.
GNWL: If you book a waitlisted ticket for a journey from a train’s originating station (e.g. Secunderabad) to terminal station (Danapur) or closer to the terminal station (Varanasi), your waitlisted ticket will be prefixed with GNWL (General Waiting List) (See Railway Circular Below). The good part of GNWL is that it has the highest chances of getting confirmed a later stage.
RLWL: If you book a waitlisted ticket from an intermediate station (e.g. Nagpur) to another intermediate station (e.g. Allahabad), you will get issued a Remote Location Waiting List ticket (RLWL) (See Screenshot). This type of tickets is given a separate priority: RL stations prepare their own chart 2-3 hours before the departure of a train.
PQWL: Pooled Quota Waiting List (PQWL), the name implies its nature. PQWL is shared by several small stations. In general, Pooled Quota is applicable for journey from the orgionating station to a station en route (See Screenshot).
TQWL: During Tatkal ticket booking, if you get a waitlisted ticket, it will be prefixed by TQWL (Tatkal Waiting List) (See Screenshot). If Tatkal waitlisted ticket gets confirmed later, it gets a full confirmation and does not go thorough RAC, unlike GNWL tickets. Followed by GNWL tickets, TQWL has the second highest chances of confirmation (See Screenshot).
Now that we have understood the basic differences between all the waitlisted tickets, it shall be easy to decide, which waitlisted ticket we should opt for if not getting a confirmed ticket instantly.
Suppose you want to travel from Secunderabad (Hyderabad) to Allahabad on 3 January 2018 or on any day in the next one week. Search for booking a ticket on IRCTC today and you will find that the tickets are already in the waiting list. The chance of the ticket getting confirmed is less as it is in PQWL (See Screenshot).
The instant option available is to wait for Tatkal until the last day of the journey. But then, that too is full of uncertainty, especially for a busy route like this.
The ticket price from Secunderabad to Allahabad is Rs.1, 635. If I say that by paying only Rs 85 extra, you can get a confirmed ticket. Sounds amazing, right? Go for a booking from Secunderabad to Varanasi and get down at Allahabad, which comes before. You will get a confirmed ticket (See Screenshot).
The trick here is, while booking a train ticket, look for the next major station that comes after your destination, where General Quota is applicable. Keep searching for the next major station until you get a confirmed ticket or at least a General Quota waiting list ticket.
(Author is an agriculture scientist based at Hyderabad.)