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Big Harvey
Post subject: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 10:04 on 16th May 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2376
Booking train tickets through http://www.cleartrip.com used to be wonderfully simple. You just registered with the site and booked the train you wanted.

However the quaint old Indian tradition of making something quick and simple much more complicated and time consuming has struck yet again!

In order to book through Cleartrip, you now need to register with both that site and the Indian Railways site, and link the two accounts together. Even if you are already registered with both sites, you now can't make a booking until the two accounts are linked. The procedure is straightforward enough except for one pretty major issue. The linking of the accounts requires two computer-generated one-time passwords (OTPs). One OTP is sent to your e-mail address, the other by SMS to your mobile. However therein lies a snag. The system can only send to an INDIAN mobile number!

The good news is that you only need to do it once, and there is a work-around involving e-mailing a scan of your passport to care@irctc.co.in asking them to e-mail you your SMS OTP back to you. The bad news is that you might have to spend a week or more badgering them in order to get what you require. For example it took me 8 days and three e-mails before I got what I wanted.

For details check out http://www.seat61.co.uk/india.htm under the heading "How to buy tickets - from outside India." Because of the time involved it's best to do it ASAP.

The other change from last time is that tickets can now be booked 120 days in advance instead of 90.

If this is your first tour, train travel in India is thoroughly recommended. Forget about the pictures you've seen in magazines of people riding on the roof. If you have a reservation, you get your own seat or berth.
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homersdad
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 19:53 on 17th May 2012

Joined: 13:04 on 28th Apr 2008
Posts: 360
Harvey, when you have gone through this rigmarole can you book tickets for others or will each individual have to book thier own tickets ?
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Big Harvey
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 22:41 on 17th May 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2376
homersdad Wrote:
Harvey, when you have gone through this rigmarole can you book tickets for others or will each individual have to book thier own tickets ?


It seems to allow you to book for up to 6 people.
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homersdad
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 15:50 on 18th May 2012

Joined: 13:04 on 28th Apr 2008
Posts: 360
Big Harvey Wrote:
homersdad Wrote:
Harvey, when you have gone through this rigmarole can you book tickets for others or will each individual have to book thier own tickets ?


It seems to allow you to book for up to 6 people.



Thanks, that might make things a bit easier (hopefully)
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ianjones
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 10:03 on 7th Jun 2012

Joined: 09:57 on 7th Jun 2012
Posts: 2
thanks for the info Harvey. i sent a copy of my passport on monday, and i have received my password to access the sit on wednesday
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pepper_brooks
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 12:54 on 29th Jun 2012

Joined: 11:47 on 24th Apr 2008
Posts: 443
Don't forget that once you get out to India you can avail the Tourist Quota on most trains between the big cities and also use the Tatkal system- which appears to be being tightened up according to this piece in today's ToI:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 500825.cms?
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ThePondFence
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 05:36 on 30th Jun 2012

Joined: 20:03 on 29th Jan 2011
Posts: 57
I went straight to India after the Sri Lanka tests and went through the frustrating process of opening an IRCTC account and synchronising it with Cleartrip back then.

For anyone having difficulties with this, I would suggest sending an email to wsoperations@irctc.co.in - this is the team that can actually do something to help those trying to set this up from abroad (without an Indian mobile etc.).

Also, this link http://www.cleartrip.com/trains/irctc/account/activate is helpful in getting to the activation page.
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FEL1948
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 09:09 on 26th Jul 2012

Joined: 08:40 on 3rd Jan 2012
Posts: 56
Harvey,
I have taken your advice and managed to register with IRCTC /Cleartrip.
I also sorted out the sms OTP by sending an email (with a scan of my passport attached) to care@irctc.co.in. Got an email back within 24 hours. Now booked (allows up to FOUR names) Ahmedabad to Mumbai on the 20th November.
Cheers

Erik
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Big Harvey
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 15:34 on 26th Jul 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2376
FEL1948 Wrote:
Harvey,
I have taken your advice and managed to register with IRCTC /Cleartrip.
I also sorted out the sms OTP by sending an email (with a scan of my passport attached) to care@irctc.co.in. Got an email back within 24 hours. Now booked (allows up to FOUR names) Ahmedabad to Mumbai on the 20th November.
Cheers

Erik


Glad to be of assistance, and also glad IRCTC seems to be getting its act together on this. Regarding the maximum number of names, maybe it's different on some trains, but I've just had a look, and if you select 6 adults from the dropdown menu before doing your initial search for trains, it will normally present you with 6 names to be filled in when you make your booking.

You're doing the right thing by booking well ahead. With Indian trains if you even think you're going to need one, the best policy is to go ahead and book it. If you need to cancel, you'll get nearly all your money back, and normally very quickly too!
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bobh
Post subject: Re: Important: Indian Railways Booking Changes
PostPosted: 19:17 on 27th Aug 2012

Joined: 10:45 on 3rd Aug 2008
Posts: 16
IRCTC getting its act together???
Have been wrestling with this on a daily basis for over a fortnight, while I can see the number of available sleeper tickets going down and down.
I already had an IRCTC account so I thought it would be straightforward.
In case anyone else is struggling, here's some of the things I've discovered.
1. Beware of mis-typing your email address. Once you've updated your IRCTC profile, you can't log in again till you've entered your mobile verification code - which you can't get by SMS, so they have to email it to you. And you have to request this from the mis-typed email address you put in your profile. [Guess how I discovered this - OK, that was my fault]
2. You may as well put in any 10-digits as your mobile number, because you'll not get the SMS messages anyway.
3. Your Cleartrip user-id has to be your email address (it doesn't say this on the web-page).
4. Cleartrip error messages don't always mean what they say.
5. The "Mobile Verification Code" is the same as the "Mobile OTP" - Mobile One-Time Password
6. The care@irctc.com team will reply to your email requests for help - but they have a limited number of stock answers. So you'll get one of those rather than the answer to the question you've actually asked.
7. Having now got a new activated IRCTC account, the Cleartrip site refuses to link to it. My latest advice - by phone, from Cleartrip - is to ask IRCTC to re-set my mobile verification code. Doesn't matter how I spell this out to IRCTC, it's beyond their comprehension.

I'll post back if I find the key to making all this work.
If all else fails, can I bribe someone into booking some rail tickets on my behalf?
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