If you plan to take a train on your next trip, you need to first find out which train best serves your needs, not to mention whether seats are available on your travel date. While travel guides might list a few trains, do their suggestions match your needs?
How do I find out whether there's a train connecting my origin and destination?
You could either refer to the printed timetable, or use one of numerous websites specialising in train routes and timings. Each website has its own format for displaying train schedules and routing; some have additional features such as suggesting multi-train combinations if no direct train is available, some display unreserved trains as well. Different people are comfortable using different websites. See this article for an elaborate guide to the various websites.
Okay, so I've found a train, but is it available on my travel date?
The websites mentioned in the above article - apart from telling you the timings of trains on your route - can also fetch you the availability position of your train for your particular travel date. Again, refer the guide to searching for trains and checking whether they're available.
I checked for availability on a particular date, and the status says something like "GNWL78/WL44". What does this mean?
Yes, the way in which the railways tell you whether your train is available (or not) can be quite bewildering. This article demystifies the various figures you will see when checking for availability.
I checked for availability, but got a totally different set of messages from those mentioned in the previous article...
If the messages you saw when you checked for tickets differ from any of the messages you see in this guide, it's probably an error message. Worry not, I have an article that explains error messages while booking tickets too!
Okay, I've found a train for my journey and it's available. What now?
Excellent! Head to the section on booking tickets for more information.
Articles in this gallery:
|Finding trains between places and checking whether they're available|
|Understanding availability figures|
|Common error messages while checking for availability|
Last updated on 16 November 2013.