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.
Notably, Cleartrip is also the only website that accepts international credit cards to pay for bookings. Not all of them are accepted, but many are.
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.