Indian Railways is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, covering a route length of over 62,000 km and transporting about millions of passengers and freight daily. The railways meandering through the tunnels, the deserts, and mountain ranges traverse through the length and breadth of the country, unfolding the landscapes and history of each state.
History of Indian Railways
The history of Indian Railways dates back to the British rule in India. The British authority needed a fast and reliable mode of transport for troop movement in this huge country and then they inaugurated the first train in the sub continent on 16th April, 1853. This was the first passenger train that ran over as stretch of 21 miles from Bori Bunder to Thane. This historic first train of India consisted of 14 carriages carrying about 400 passengers reached the destinations in india.
Indian Railways at present
Today the Indian rail system uses three different gauges depending on the rail traffic and area of the tracks. The first one is the Broad Gauge that is used in areas with high traffic and in areas with less traffic meter gauge is used. Mountain ranges like Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway resort to narrow gauge. This rail system is further divided into sixteen zones.
The zones are as follows:
There are various special trains to cover the rail network of India. The most popular trains are Palace on Wheels, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Samjhauta Express, Lifeline Express and many others. Railways also have some holiday specials exclusively running during summer holidays and other long Indian holidays. East India Travel, North India Travel, South India Travel
Indian Railway Rules
General Conditions: The Railway Administration reserves seats, berths, compartments, or carriage in accordance with the rules and conditions published in the Coaching Tariff.
A passenger seeking reservation of berth or seats should purchase tickets from the Railway Reservation Offices/Authorized Travel Agency only.
Advance reservations are made generally up to 60 days in advance for all classes and all trains. The period of advance reservation (ARP) is exclusive of the day of departure of the indian trains.
At intermediate stations where the train arrives on the following day, such reservations can be done more than 60 days in advance of date of journey from the intermediate station. ARP is in relation to the date of journey from train originating station. In case of some Inter-city day trains, the ARP is less.
An individual can book only up to six passengers on one requisition form provided all passengers are for the same destination and for the same train.
Only one requisition form is accepted from a person at one time. However, if onward/return journey are involved, 2 or 3 forms can be accepted for the same passengers.
Accommodation will not be reserved without purchase of necessary journey ticket. No reservation of accommodation will be made on provisional basis.
When berths are reserved for passengers, the intention is to provide sleeping accommodation between 9 PM to 6 AM. During 6 AM to 9 PM, the passengers concerned, if required make room for other passengers in compartment up to its carrying capacity.
Passengers are requested to quote PNR number which is printed on each ticket on the top left hand side for any enquiry or complaint relating to reservations.
Reservation ticket issued by the computerised system against pre-bought ticket must be accompanied by the journey tickets on train. Similarly journey cum reservation tickets bearing zero amount are not valid for journey unless accompanied by the valid authority to travel authorising issue of such tickets.
Allotment of accommodation is done by the computer as per pre-defined logic. Efforts are made to provide compact accommodation to persons booked under the same PNR on first come first served basis.
The Railway Administration will endeavour to provide reserved accommodation but does not guarantee the same and will admit no claim for compensation for inconvenience, loss or extra expense due to such accommodation including carriages, not being provided or reserved carriage not been attached to a particular train. The supply of any particular type of carriage or the provision of a particular berth and seat is also not guaranteed.
Departure time printed on the ticket is indicative for the guidance of the passengers. Passengers must ascertain correct timings from the Railway station on the day of journey. Such tickets are printed up to 60 days in advance. Any changes in timing after the issue of ticket can not be advised.
While every endeavour is made to advise changes in Time Table by due publicity, Railway Administration shall not be liable for any claim/compensation if a passenger misses a train on this account.
Important - for Senior Citizens: From 1st September 2001 onwards, concession to senior citizens through PRS (Passenger Reservation System) shall be granted only on demand and not by default as at present. The demand for concession shall be made on Reservation Requisition form in the case of reserved tickets. In the case of tickets issued to senior citizens on concession, during journey the concerned passengers are instructed to carry some documentary proof showing their age or date of birth, issued by any Government Institution/Agency/Local Body. Like Identity card, Driving License, Passport, Educational certificate, certificate from Local Bodies like Panchayat/Corporation/Municipality, or any other authentic and recognised document. This documentary proof of age should be produced if demanded by some Railway official during the journey. Weekend Destinations.
Indian Railways Rules and Regulations
Indication of Berth/Seat Numbers: Passengers with confirmed reservation will be allotted berths at the time of booking and the coach and berth numbers are indicated on the ticket itself, except in case of first class ACC and first class coaches. The compartment/cabin/coupe numbers for first ACC and first class are allotted at the time of chart preparation.
Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC): The passengers whose names figure under R.A.C., are provided reserved sitting accommodation initially and are likely to get berths becoming vacant due to last minutes cancellation of reservation of passengers not turning up in time before the departure of the train. Travel to India
When Reservation Work Ceases: The requests for reservation at the reservation counters are accepted up to 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the indian trains, after which, the reservation will be done at the current counters at the stations up to one hour before the scheduled departure of the train and thereafter by the Ticket Collector/Conductor on the platform, if vacant berths/seats are available.
Reservation From Intermediate Stations: Requisition for reservation of berths in all classes from intermediate stations not having computerised reservation facility are entertained on purchase of journey tickets only. Such requisition should be given to the Station Master of the Intermediate station 72 hours before the scheduled departure of the train from the station. Such application shall be sent to the nearest computerised reservation office at the earliest.
Cancellation Of Reservation Due To Late Arrival Of Passenger: If a passenger, for whom a berth or seat has been reserved, does not turn up upto 10 minutes before the scheduled departure of the train, the Railway Administration may cancel the accommodation reserved for him and allot it to the passenger on the RAC list/Waiting list accordingly on priority.
Change Of Boarding Point: If a passenger desires to occupy reserved accommodation from any station enroute, he would be permitted to entrain at any intermediate station he chooses irrespective of the distance from the starting station subject to the following conditions :-
A specific request must be made in writing at the station from where the ticket is purchased and reservation made atleast 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train from the starting station.
The Railway Administration reserves the right to use such accommodation from the originating station up to the station at which the passenger is due to entrain.
No refund will be permissible for the portion of journey not performed by the passenger.
Indian Railways More Rules
Transfer/Resale of Tickets Prohibited: Under Section 142 of the Railways ACT, journey tickets including any half of a return ticket and season ticket are not transferable.
If any person not being a Railway Servant or an agent authorised in this behalf:
1. Sells or attempts to sell any ticket or any half of a return ticket, or
2. Parts or attempts to part with the possession of a ticket against which reservation of a seat or a berth has been made or any half of a return ticket or season ticket. He shall be punishable under the Railways Act.
In addition, if the purchaser or holder of transferred ticket travels or attempts to travel therewith, he shall forfeit the ticket which he so purchased or obtained and shall be deemed to be travelling without a proper ticket.
Payment through credit cards: Payment through credit cards for issue of reserved tickets is accepted on some nominated counters of computerised locations in India. In Northern Railway these counters are at IRCA, Reservation Office, New Delhi, Delhi, Sarojini Nagar, Kirti Nagar and Karkadooma and the computerised reservation office.
All Master Cards and Visa Cards are accepted.
Military Officers travelling on free warrants, officers and staff of the Railway and P&T department travelling on Railway passes and MPs travelling on Identity Card are exempted from payment of reservation fee.
The supplementary charge is not recoverable from MPs travelling on Identity Card, tourist holding Indrail passes, Railway Staff travelling on duty passes, privilege passes and PTOs.
A passenger found travelling in a Super Fast Train without paying supplementary charge is liable to pay a penalty of Rs. 50/- in addition to the supplementary charge. However, passenger holding through ticket duly fulfilling distance restriction and boarding a superfast train at an intermediate station as per the ticket is required to pay only the supplementary charge.