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Sharell Cook

Online Indian Railway Reservations Now Possible Using Cleartrip

By September 29, 2008

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What a relief! At last, there's a user friendly alternative to the temperamental Indian Railways computerized reservation system for online train bookings. Cleartrip has partnered up with the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation to launch its own online train reservation service.

I had a quick look through the interface and it really makes train bookings a breeze compared to the online service offered by Indian Railways. While the Indian Railways service was having one of its many unresponsive moments, my search for trains on Cleartrip was completed within seconds. Another great thing about the Cleartrip service is that it displays all the necessary train information, including fare, availability, and length of journey on the one screen. Therefore there's no need to go digging for information like on the Indian Railways website.

The only drawbacks are that Cleartrip levies a 1.8% service charge on the cost of the train fare, and that there's no facility for bookings using quotas such as the Foreign Tourist Quota. Users also need to be aware that service doesn't operate from 11.30 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. Indian Standard Time.

Have you used the new Cleartrip service? Please do share your thoughts about it.

November 14, 2008 at 9:28 am
(1) Kaushik says:

I love cleartrip ! The old indian railways reservation site sucks …. this is so much better.

May 28, 2009 at 3:52 am
(2) Sriram says:

I just tried this, while the interface is much better I get a “General:Failed” when I tried to check availability.

June 19, 2009 at 12:02 am
(3) sarit says:

So much better than CRIS.Works almost like Kayak and tells the availability for several consecutive days.

Didn’t see where it talks about the extra charges but should be worth paying!

January 14, 2010 at 4:46 am
(4) Mandy says:

Booking thru Cleartrip was unbelievable easy. I’ll never use the terrible Indian Railways site again!

May 2, 2010 at 1:42 am
(5) Praveen says:

Well guys, I agree that the user interface is much better than that of Indian Railways. However, you cannot really look for trains in surrounding stations using cleartrip in one screen. That is a bummer.

Most of the cities in India have two or more train stations. Railways online site shows the trains that start of all stations in the city regardless of the station name you enter, and when you select a train to book, it will ask you to select the origin train station. For me, it is very useful because you can look for the availability regardless for stations because most of these stations are not that far from each other.

Also, Cleartrip levies transaction fee on top of the fare.

October 1, 2010 at 6:08 am
(6) Jesse says:

I have been on 5 times now and I can’t book a simple train ticket. The server is down the message says. I called customer service, they tell me I can’t book a ticket over the phone. I have to use the site that does not work. This is a real bummer. I have been trying for almost a full day now, just to book a train ticket. How about you guys invest in some better network hardware.. Just a thought… feeling Frustrated.

October 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm
(7) marilena Albertini says:

Tried to book a trip from Mumbai to Sainagar Shirdi and says that this trip doesn’t exist!

October 5, 2010 at 12:13 am
(8) goindia says:

I just tried it and could find the train no problem. You need to type in Sainagar Shirdi…and the train only runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Hope this helps.

October 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm
(9) Peter C says:

I have tried the rail website for the last two days to pay for a journey using 3 different UK credit cards. I have spent in excess of 7 hours in the process and each time the booking failed. I even contacted my bank and they assured me that they were never requested or declined any transaction. Be warned, the website does not accept foreign credit/debit cards any longer—-discovered this after a 30 minute call to the 24/7 help desk at Delhi!

Cleartrip, you are my saviour. Very quick and efficient transaction which took less than 10 minutes to complete. Keep it up.

October 6, 2010 at 12:37 am
(10) goindia says:

Hi Peter C, very interesting about the international credit card situation. I did some research and it does seem to be the case (although American Express is still accepted). How extremely irritating. I’ll write a blog post about this so others are aware. Thanks for the heads up!

December 30, 2010 at 6:49 am
(11) Desi B says:

Had the same problem with UK Credit Cards on the Indian railyways website and foolishly kept trying for the past week or so. Emailed their customer care contact and got a response within a few hours confirming that non Indian issued cards are not accepted.

founf Cleartrip a treat to use. whew!

January 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm
(12) Tessa Gunn says:

I have found very mixed feedback on the net about Cleartrip and when I (quite fearfully) decided to give train booking a go (which generally had better feedback than planes or hotels), I got to the final stage (i.e. after entering credit card details etc.) only to have it say …. ‘Oops, your booking didnít go through
Sorry, we were unable to confirm your booking. We know itís annoying, but it happens. We are trying to confirm your booking. If the confirmation does not happen, we will refund the amount you have paid. Please call us in the next 15 minutes to know the latest on your booking. ‘

This leaves me feeling very unsure about the system. e.g. How long to leave it before trying again? Will they contact me to let me know it has gone through? How long will it take them to refund the money if it didn’t go through? is there something wrong with my credit card authorisation etc..? I’ll report back, but so far I’m not feeling reassured!

January 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm
(13) Roger says:

Similar experience to Tessa, except I was left at the last confirmation stage for over 20 minutes until I finally closed the session and I have no news of the booking or the debit.
Having tried again all I get now is :-
Oops, your booking didnít go through
Perhaps the web site does not operate between 11.30pm and 5.00 am Indian time

February 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm
(14) Suresh says:

I love makemytrip train section because it has many flexible features.

May 6, 2011 at 4:09 am
(15) Sarita says:

I’m trying for days to book traintickets via Cleartrip, but it’s not working. What am i doing wrong?

May 7, 2011 at 4:56 am
(16) goindia says:

Hi Sarita, at what stage of the process did you get the error message, and what did it say?

May 18, 2011 at 4:21 am
(17) Sarita says:

Hi Goindia, the stage that I have entered all the names.Going from stage 2 to stage 3.
It says that the server has taken to long to respond. This might be a problem with our service or your internet connection.

May 18, 2011 at 7:19 am
(18) goindia says:

Hi Sarita, I’m really not sure. It’s best you email Cleartrip with the issue… About.com is not involved with them in any way. They are a separate company. It could be that their server is overloaded. I don’t have much technical knowledge unfortunately. You could try at a different time of the day and see what happens. Hope you get it resolved!

July 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm
(19) Val says:

This sounds great, but it seems to require an Indian mobile number? That’s not very foreign tourist friendly.
am I missing something?

July 31, 2011 at 1:38 am
(20) goindia says:

Hi Val, you don’t have to provide an Indian mobile number. That is only required if you want to get customer service messages (eg. a text message containing your booking details).

September 11, 2011 at 9:43 am
(21) DHERMESHWER says:

expect cyber problem clear trip system is more easy one than window style booking.

October 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm
(22) Tuula says:

Yes! Works and does not require fantastic amounts of work and mobile phone verifications – I have not found any other site to book in then mentioned Tourist Quota either, though I cannot use the official one because of the lack of Indian mobile phone, so I can’t say if that had worked. Though it is a bit of a CATCH 22 if you need Indian phone to book Foreign Tourist quota tickets…

October 17, 2011 at 12:02 am
(23) crazy singh says:

It is simple but service charge seems to be more than 1.8%. The train ticket I looked for was for Rs. 510 on the IR website and Rs. 560 on Cleartrip.

October 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm
(24) Chandra jackson says:

I booked a 1st class ticket from Delhi to Agra via my iPhone with Cleartrip and had no problem. I received my E-ticket with an assigned seat within a few moments.

October 31, 2011 at 4:26 am
(25) goindia says:

Great, thanks for letting us know Chandra! 8)

December 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm
(26) Rahim Petsch says:

Went through all the steps of booking trainticket ok, however when wanting to pay, it said Safari can not connect to this site. (site not safe!)

Any idea what to do?

December 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm
(27) goindia says:

Hi Rahim, could you use another browser? Or force it to connect?

December 26, 2011 at 11:00 am
(28) stefano says:

i booked tickets from italy, as with the official indian railways site I had too features that i didn’t understood.
What’s really different from here is the waiting list.. i really hope i’ll be able to get the trains!!!!

December 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm
(29) goindia says:

Hi Stefano,

What WL positions did you get, and when do you intend to travel, and by what class?

February 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(30) karl says:

wow- I just booked a reservation on cleartrip- I never knew that anything connected with India travel could be so easy!

February 13, 2012 at 2:31 am
(31) goindia says:

Hi Karl, glad you had a positive experience! Some things are getting easier and easier, thankfully. :-)

March 11, 2012 at 9:55 am
(32) Hari Cheema says:

As with all things India, nothing is straight-forward!
It seems red tape is the dish of the day………..EVERYDAY!
If you are resident in the UK, there is absoulutely no way you can make a straight-forward booking onto a train service in India because you need an IRCTC account which does not allow for addresses/mobile numbers from outside of India.
Just spent the best part of an hour trying to make a booking.
Clearly nobody wants my business so I will fly instead!!
What a complete waste of time!!

March 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm
(33) Ben says:

Disappointing that in order to activate one’s account, an Indian mobile number is required. This is very inconvenient for international users.

July 14, 2012 at 1:30 am
(34) Laneyjunita says:

I am at the peak of confusion right now. I am a Malaysian and I am trying hard to register with IRCTC and I can’t until now, manage to do so. It says I have to check all fields and I have filled everything. I filled on my Malaysian address and hp number, and it doesn’t work. The most important and straight forward question, are we (non-Indian international travelers) or are we not eligible to book for the train ticket? i saw a few comments from international traveler (they seem international by their name) saying that they manage to book. But I am not so sure about this. My trip will be in November by the way.

July 14, 2012 at 4:04 am
(35) goindia says:

Hi Laneyjunita, unfortunately it’s become impossible for foreigners to book since the Indian government introduced new procedures. Have a read of this more recent post:


Even I didn’t succeed in booking. :-( I would suggest that you go through a travel agent to make the bookings. Try http://www.unicrystalholidays.com/ They are reputable and a friend of mine always uses them.

August 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm
(36) Anju says:

I have wasted so much time on the Indian railways website firstly because you have registered with them before you can use Cleartrip and they have this crazy policy where you must add an India mobile number, so I had to use a friends number and she kept getting codes that she had to then send me. The address box allows you to add an oversea address but not a postcode, the whole system is flawed. I tried every credit card I had and they all failed. I am desperate to book my rail tickets for my planned trip,

February 7, 2013 at 3:46 am
(37) Jo says:

Very tedious…you still need to send (scan) in passport documents and wait hours for reply and still trying to jump through hoops with different idea numbers…brutal!

March 11, 2013 at 9:20 am
(38) Bryan from Bangkok says:

Indian rail system and Cleartrip doesn’t work anymore. Seriously spent more time on this then the actual train ride would be if I could ever book it. Fail on all ends can log into Irtc site, but can’t pay with a credit card from outside India. Clear trip says my mobile OTC is wrong (even thought the Irtc says its correct and that I have completed registration. Fail fail!!

April 2, 2013 at 11:15 am
(39) saskia says:

Does anyone know when I can book a ticket on the 0111 Konkankanya Express from mumbai to goa on the 4th October 2013. It is not possible at this moment.

April 2, 2013 at 11:34 pm
(40) goindia says:

Hi Saskia, you can make reservations maximum four months in advance.

August 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm
(41) shankari says:

The online reservation for indian railway through cleartrip sucks……it is impossible to book…there is always an issue. It is so frustrating and we go to india with no train reservations. So much for tourism in India.


August 17, 2013 at 10:27 am
(42) ligaya says:

spent two nights trying to get pass IRCTC registration. . they said my username belonged to someone else when it was clearly mine… how can they send mobile password when they instructed to use a dummy number for non-indian residents… precious time wasted using cleartrip!!!

October 23, 2013 at 1:28 am
(43) Linn says:

Have to agree with the comments above as to the difficulty of using Cleartrip. It sucks.

January 4, 2014 at 8:53 am
(44) Jens says:

I’m trying to book a trainticket from Mumbai to Goa using Cleartrip & the Indian railway. But it seems i can’t pay with a mastercard or Visa?

Am I correct? & If so , is there an alternative to book traintickets in advance?



January 4, 2014 at 9:15 am
(45) goindia says:

Hi Jen, unfortunately international cards aren’t always accepted on Cleartrip for railway bookings. I wish there was an alternative. :-( None of the other booking sites accept international cards, except AMEX on the IRCTC site.

February 4, 2014 at 7:29 am
(46) Kelly says:

I managed to book tickets for the Mandovi Express through Cleartrip although these are still showing as waitlisted? I’ve emailed Cleartrip direct to find out what’s going on as the payment has already left my account. I’ve still not had a response from customer care at Cleartrip, has anyone else experienced this Waitlisted status before?

February 4, 2014 at 8:39 am
(47) goindia says:

Hi Kelly, it happens this way when booking Indian Railways tickets. Waitlisted means that you haven’t actually got a confirmed seat, you’re in the queue. Your WL number indicates your position in the queue. When people cancel their tickets, you’ll be moved up in the queue and **MAY** get a confirmed seat. But you may not, depending on how many other people are also on the waitlist. You can find more information here: http://goindia.about.com/od/indianrailways/qt/Indian-Railways-Waitlist-Ticket.htm

If your ticket doesn’t get confirmed, the money will be automatically refunded into your account. Or, you can cancel your ticket and get it refunded. Hope that helps!

February 26, 2014 at 7:31 am
(48) Franjo says:

I was trying to book a train ticket on Cleartrip and when i entered my card number (Visa) and all the other data i got this message: We’re sorry, but something went wrong. We’ve been notified about this issue and we’ll take a look at it shortly. What does this mean?

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