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Checking the status of your ticket (PNR)

Note (2 April 2014): The railways have introduced a system of SMS-based alerts for passengers that have entered their (Indian) mobile phone number whilst booking. As such, you will be notified by SMS of your ticket's final status when the chart is prepared.  That being said, understanding how the data will be sent to you is extremely useful and you should read this article either way.

There are many reasons you might want to check the status of your ticket before reaching the station itself.  Some common reasons are:

  • If you've bought a waitlisted or RAC ticket, you will want to check whether it's moving towards becoming a confirmed ticket, and finally what your coach and seat/berth numbers are.  
  • If you've bought a ticket by First AC Sleeper or First Class Non-AC, your coach and berth numbers will not be decided until the train's chart is prepared, approximately four hours before the train leaves. 
  • You might want to verify that your ticket has been booked correctly (though that can be done just as well by carefully reading your ticket).  If you've bought your ticket from a travel agent, it's always good to check that the ticket is indeed valid.

There are several ways to check your ticket's status: online; by calling the IVRS enquiry number or by using the Railways' SMS enquiry system.  If you have a smartphone, there are quite a few apps that monitor the status of your tickets, alerting you when any changes occur.  I have an Android phone and use the app Indian Railway Train Alarm to keep track of my tickets.  It does have a few bugs, but saves me the trouble of constantly having to check my ticket's status manually.

These apart, it's also possible to just head to the station and look at the passenger charts, but this has several problems - you'll have to physically locate them in the station or on the train, and if your waitlisted ticket has not moved to become an RAC or confirmed ticket, you'd have made a totally unnecessary trip to the station.

I now outline the ways you check your ticket (PNR)'s status, and how to understand the incredibly complicated way the railways display it to you.  The simpler ways are to call or SMS the enquiry service.  If, however, you want more information, you'd do well to check your ticket's status online.

Checking your ticket status online:

You can check your ticket's PNR status at the official website, at Erail and at India Rail Info, among others.  The official website - Indianrail - is full of pop-ups, and I usually stick to Erail, which displays the same information in a similar format.  The screenshots from this tutorial are from Erail.

Step 1: Go to www.erail.in and enter your ten-digit PNR number (on the top-left corner of your ticket) in the box I've highlighted below.  If this is your first time on the website, you will be prompted to download a plugin.

Screenshot from www.erail.in

After inputting your PNR number and pressing enter, you will be shown a screen like the one below.  It has a lot of information and can be quite intimidating.  Fear not, I break it down into bite-sized pieces in this article.

I've highlighted the relevant sections in differently coloured boxes.

 

 Screenshot from www.erail.in

Box 1 (Red): This tells you the number and name of the train you're taking.

Box 2 (Orange): Displays the date you board the train in the date-month-year format.

Box 3 (Yellow)The class you're travelling by.  Only class codes are used.  For convenience, I'll elaborate them below:

Abbreviation Full form
1A

First AC Sleeper (Executive Class if the train is a Shatabdi Express)

2A Second AC Sleeper
FC First Class Non-AC
3A Three-tier (third) AC Sleeper
3E AC Sleeper Economy
SL Sleeper Class Non-AC
CC AC Chair Car
2S Second Class (Sitting)

Box 4 (Green): Lists your boarding and destination stations.

Box 5 (Blue): Mentions the departure and arrival times of your train at your origin and destination.

Box 6 (Pink): This column lists the number of passengers travelling.  However, the names of the passengers aren't mentioned - they're just referred to as "#1", "#2" etc.

Box 7 (Grey): This column lists the status of your ticket at the time it was booked.  

If your ticket was confirmed when it was booked, this column will state your coach and seat/berth numbers, followed by the quota under which your ticket was booked, like in this image:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

The first number (in this case B2) is the coach number; the second number (63) the berth number, and the third (GN) the quota code.  Frequently seen quota codes are:

Quota Code Full Form
GN General
PQ Pooled
CK Tatkal
FT Foreign Tourist
LD Ladies
SS Lower Berth Quota
DF Defence
HO Headquarters

With a confirmed ticket, the quota under which has been booked isn't particularly important to the average traveller.  

If you have booked a ticket in First AC Sleeper or First Class Non-AC, your PNR enquiry will not mention any coach and berth numbers even if the ticket you've bought is confirmed.  This column will just state "CNF", followed by the quota code.  This is nothing to worry about - in these classes, berth numbers are allotted manually when the train's chart is prepared, usually around four hours before the train's departure.

If your ticket was on either the RAC list or the waitlist when it was booked, this column will mention the serial RAC/waitlist number you have been allotted, like in the image below:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

The format followed here is your serial RAC/waitlist position followed by the particular type of waitlist it happens to be.  Your serial RAC/waitlist position will never change (see this article for a brief explanation on what serial RAC/waitlists mean).  Here, the passengers have a serial waitlist positions from 28 to 31 and are on the remote location waitlist (see below).

The main types of waitlists are:

Waitlist Code Full form
GNWL General Waitlist
RLGN or RLWL Remote Location Waitlist
PQWL Pooled Quota Waitlist
RSWL or RQWL Roadside Waitlist
CKWL Tatkal Waitlist

Different waitlists have differing chances of getting confirmed.  Putting them in order of "best" waitlist to "worst" waitlist, I would say: 

  1. General Waitlist
  2. Remote Location Waitlist
  3. Tatkal Waitlist
  4. Roadside Waitlist
  5. Pooled Quota Waitlist

This list is rather an oversimplification - depending on the particular train you're taking, this order might shift slightly.  Not every train has every type of waitlist.

Box 8 (Lime Green): The most important column, this tells you the current status of your ticket and (occasionally) the position of your coach in the train's formation.

If your ticket is confirmed, it will say "Confirmed" or "CNF".  On the other hand, if your ticket is on the RAC/waitlist, it will tell you how far down the list you've progressed.  In the example below, the passengers were RAC 72-74 when they booked, but are now RAC 41-43:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

Even if your tickets are confirmed, this column will not mention your coach and seat/berth numbers until the train's chart is prepared - usually four hours before the train departs.  When this happens, your coach and seat/berth numbers will be displayed in the following manner:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

The first number is your coach number (in this case C2) and the number after it is your seat/berth number(s) - here, seat number 65.  If you're travelling by First AC Sleeper or First Class Non-AC, there will be no second number, but a letter, which is the cabin or coupe in which you've been allotted a berth.  For example:

H1 D  (you have a berth inside coupe D of coach H1)

F1 B  (you have a berth inside cabin B of coach F1)

If your ticket is still in the RAC list after the train's chart has been prepared, this column will look something like this:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

Here, the letter "R" at the beginning indicates that the ticket has remained in the RAC list even after the train's chart has been prepared.  The letters immediately after "R" indicate the coach (B3) and the number after the space is the berth number.  In this case, the passenger is in coach B3 and has berth 47, which s/he will have to share with another passenger.

Box 9 (Purple):  Tells you whether the train's chart has been prepared.  This is an important box simply because once the train's chart has been prepared, no further changes can occur to your ticket's status - if it is still in the waitlist after chart preparation, you cannot board the train.  If your ticket has confirmed, the time of chart preparation is when your coach and seat/berth numbers will be decided.

***

Checking your ticket status through SMS:

SMS PNR <your ten digit PNR number> to 139.

You will get a reply in this format:

PNR <the PNR number you SMSed them>

Train: <the number and name of your train>

Dt: <your date of journey>

BoardingStn: <the station code of the station at which you get on>

ReservedUpTo: <the station code of the station at which you disembark>

Class: <code of the class by which you're travelling>

P1 : Curr Stat: <the current status of your ticket>**

ChartStatus: <whether the chart for your train has been prepared or not>

Schd Dep Time: <the departure time of your train from your station>

**This is the all-important row.  P1 means "Passenger 1" (and if there is more than one passenger on the ticket, you will have subsequent rows that say P2, P3 etc).  The current status of your ticket is the same as the "current status" box when you check your ticket's status online, and the information displayed here will be the same.  Please click here for an overview of the information you might see in this row and what it means.

***

Checking your ticket's status through the IVRS

Call 139.  The first menu will ask you which language you would like.  Option 1 is Hindi; option 2, English; and option 3, the vernacular language of the state you're in.  

The next menu will allow you to check the status of your PNR, which is the first option in this menu.  Enter your ten-digit PNR number.  You will then be told the current status of your ticket and whether the train's chart has been prepared.

Last updated on 2 April 2014.