India Train Bookings from Abroad without Local Mobile Number

solo traveling new delhi - jaipur - agra (india) in 1.5 days
may 18-19, 2012 friday to saturday
As of April 2012, India local mobile number is required for processing all train bookings abroad or for any tourist coming outside India. The following updated procedure tells how to book online without actually having it;

1. create an account in IRCTC:
- makemytrip.com and cleartrip.com has a tied agreement to India Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to avoid illegal selling of train tickets. After filling up everything required (with asterisk) just put any 6-digit number for ZIP CODE and any 10 digit india formatted number for mobile number (example: 834949****, this was my random number used, you may used it replacing the last 4 asterisk. Incorrect format will put your email account to junk status. Thus, you have to create new one with another email). Then click SUBMIT. An email from IRCTC will be received from your email within 10mins stating your one-time passwords (OTP) for log-in and email. The third one is Mobile OTP which will be received via SMS on mandatory indian mobile number (with country code starting with 91). Don't worry there is a reliable alternative for this method if you really don't have any local sim card or Indian friend to help you.

registering in IRCTC website

email to IRCTC requesting for mobile verification code

IRCTC mobile verification code

2. New process to claim that Mobile OTP:
- email IRCTC via care@irctc.co.in asking for assistance to claim your Mobile OTP having your scanned passport as attachment to validate passenger's name. You will received an auto-generated reply from them giving your 6-digits transaction ticket number. Wait for at least 1-2 days for customer service email respond for your mobile verification code. Email them with your ticket number as part of the subject if no replies received yet. IMPORTANT: click only the link included in email once the mobile OTP is received (this is to make sure that the mobile OTP corresponds to your email OTP or else it will reset back). Congrats, you can now book your train ticket using your international credit card. cleartrip and makemytrip requires email OTP and mobile OTP for one-time registration.

3. booking website:
- go to make my trip website or clear trip website and make your personal account. Booking is not available from 2330H to 0030H daily. Please note that IRCTC does not accept foreign credit cards (only the two above-mentioned website does).

4. check availability of your chosen date:
- booking in advance will be open 90 to 120 days (3-4 months) before your travel date and is advisable to grab this opportunity due to high volume of locals and foreign tourists especially on peak season months.  Or else, you will just be given a wait list status or RAC (reservation against cancellation) booking which, I think, possible only to around 4 passengers only upon arrival on that schedule.

lots of continuous follow-up email due to server inconsistency

makemytrip sample error for invalid combination of email and mobile OTP

cleartrip sample error for invalid combination of email and mobile OTP

5. train seat class description:
1A - The First class AC: This is the most expensive class
2A - AC-Two tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths
FC - First class: Same as 1AC, without the air conditioning.
3A - AC three tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths. 
3E - AC three tier (Economy): Air conditioned with sleeping berths, bedding is excluded
CC - AC chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of five seats in a row
EC - Executive class chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of four seats
SL - Sleeper class: The most common coach, and usually ten or more is attached
2S - Seater class: bench style seats and without the air-conditioning.

6. another mobile OTP request
take note of this: for any site that links to IRCTC and whether you had already a confirmed IRCTC account, registering always need to have email OTP and mobile OTP. therefore, you will email IRCTC again requesting for another mobile OTP (same as procedure in item 2)

7. final step:
- print your booking itinerary and do not lose it until the train conductor verified or else you will be charge a fine on small amount only (showing also your passport).

the link where to click if mobile OTP is received that corresponds to email OTP indicated

confirmed booking but waitlisted due to volume of passengers over 1 month before my travel date

As for my plan, I booked via cleartrip. I just know this new procedure 1 month before my travel date and received the complete IRCTC requirements within 4 days only. Since I did not know that advance booking of more than 2 months is important in India railway, all of my preferred schedules were on waitlist confirmation...




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