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Common error messages while booking/checking availability

Edit 27/08/2014:  Several people have reported seeing a "TRAIN SUSPENDED: DBA ADMINISTRATOR" message when checking for availability.  These trains have not been suspended.  Please use the IRCTC website to check for availability on these trains - you will get the correct availability position.

It's not uncommon to come across various error messages whilst booking tickets or checking for availability.  Some of the most frequently reported messages are:

NOT AVAILABLE go to section

RT CLS SUSPNDED go to section

The Dates given were outside ARP go to section

Station not in the ISL of the Train (or) ISL STN DELETED go to section

Train Suspended : DBA Adminstrator go to section

All the screenshots in this article are from Erail, and depending on which website you use to get train information, you might find these messages displayed in different formats - but the messages themselves are the same.

NOT AVAILABLE

This is a fairly common error message.  I can think of around three major reasons you might be seeing NOT AVAILABLE when trying to book a train:

[a] The chart is prepared and the train is full

Once the train's chart is prepared, no further changes can occur with a train's availability.  If the chart is prepared and there are no seats left, the availability for that class will simply display NOT AVAILABLE, like below:

Screenshot from www.erail.in 

If you are searching for a train leaving today and you can get normal availability statuses for the following days (again, like above), this is probably the reason.

What you can do:  Check other classes of the same train to see if there are a few seats vacant after chart preparation.  If yes, you can go to the current booking counter at the station (if it is a big station) and buy a ticket for the higher/lower class in which seats are available.  If all reserved classes in the train are also full, then you have to either travel in one of the unreserved coaches of the train or choose a different train (or mode of transport).

You might also see a different message which simply says "Charting Done".  This is less conclusive than NOT AVAILABLE as it's possible seats are available after the chart was prepared.  Visit the current booking availability page on Indianrail and check if you're in luck for the day.

[b] Your journey is too short!

If you're trying to book a ticket for a short journey on a train that travels a long distance, you might encounter this error message.  The railways try not to fill relatively long-distance trains with short-distance passengers and thus will not allow you to book.  For example, if you try to book a ticket from Bangalore to Mysore (139 km) on the Karwar Express (which travels a distance of approximately 700 km), you'll get the following series of NOT AVAILABLEs:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

What you can do:  Check to see if booking up to a station further down the line gets you availability.  In this case, booking upto the next station (35 km further down the line) is permitted.  In some cases you might not have to pay much more - here, there is no difference in fare - whereas in others you might have to book up to a station extremely far down the line, making it prohibitively expensive.  In that case, you might need to take another train or mode of transport.

[c] The quota you want doesn't exist for your train or class

The Indian Railways operate with a multitude of quotas (some examples are general, tatkal, foreign tourist, ladies, defence, senior citizen and this isn't even the full list!).  However, not every train has every quota, and even when a train has several quotas, they might be confined to the lower classes.  For example, less than ten trains in India have a foreign tourist quota in First AC Sleeper, but well over a hundred have an allocation for foreign tourists in Non-AC Sleeper.  

If you're searching for a quota in a train/class combination that doesn't have the quota, all you will get is our old friend the NOT AVAILABLE message:

Screenshot from www.erail.in

For some quotas (such as ladies, foreign tourist and senior citizen among others), when all seats are sold the status automatically changes to NOT AVAILABLE - there is no waitlist for tickets booked under such quotas.

What you can do: Travel in a different class if the train has the quota of your choice in that class.  If not, choose another train or mode of transport.

RT CLS SUSPNDED

If you see this message, it means the class you're searching for has been removed from the train, such as in the case below:

Screenshot from www.erail.in 

Here, Three-tier AC Sleeper has been removed from the Jaipur Udaipur "Special" Express.  Whether this removal is temporary or permanent is not known.

What you can do: Book in a different class (in this example, you can book in AC Chair Car - "CC").  If you're insistent on a particular class, choose another train.

The Dates given were outside ARP

The full form of ARP is Advance Reservation Period - the earliest date from which you can start booking tickets for a train.  For most trains, this starts 60 days before the train leaves its originating station - so if you're taking a train that starts from somewhere the day before it reaches the station you board at, you can book tickets 61 days in advance - but some trains have a reduced advance reservation period of 30 days - generally, short-distance day trains in North India.  For a list of prominent trains with a reduced advance reservation period, click here.

If you ask for a train before its ARP opens, you will see this message:

Screenshot from www.erail.in 

What you can do: Wait till the train's advance reservation period starts and then book your tickets.

Station is not in ISL of the Train (or) ISL STN DELETED

ISL stands for Intermediate Stoppage List and refers to the list of each station the train stops at (the origin and destination stations are counted in this list as well).  If you get the following error:

Screenshot from www.erail.in 

..it could be for several reasons:

  • You're searching for a station that isn't on the route of the train,
  • The station you wish to board/disembark at has been removed - the train no longer stops there,
  • The train is running on a diverted route and doesn't touch your station as a result of the diversion,
  • The database is being updated and this is a temporary bug.

What you can do: Look at the schedule of the train - has the route been changed?  Does it now depart/arrive at a different station in the city?  Have stops been deleted from its schedule?

You can also visit the train's page on India Rail Info for any updates about the train.  If there are no changes whatsoever, wait for a while and then try again.

Train Suspended : DBA Administrator

This is an error I occasionally encounter on Indianrail for seemingly no reason.

What you can do: Check availability at IRCTC or Cleartrip, which seem to not encounter this error.

That summarises some of the main error messages you might find whilst booking or checking availability.  If there are any other error messages you find that you would like explained, please contact me with the exact error message.

Last updated on 14 November 2013.