Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation

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Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)
Subsidiary of the Indian Railway
Area served
Productse-ticketing, offline booking, online booking
ServicesCatering, Tourism and Online Ticketing
Revenue1,506 crore (US$220 million) (2016[1])
Members30 million registered users[2] (2015)
ParentIndian Railways

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways, with around 5,50,000 to 6,00,000 bookings every day is the world's second busiest and highest of 15 to 16 lakh tickets every day.[2] Its tagline is "Lifeline of the nation".


Online ticketing[edit]

It is known for changing the face of railway ticketing in India and is one of the Miniratna companies of Central Indian government. Prior to its inception, Indian railway passengers had little options for quality food while travelling. Passengers have to get off from trains at stations and buy sub-standard and unhygenic food available. The short halt at stations and the sudden surge in crowd at the stalls added to the travelers' panic. After the advent of IRCTC, pantry cars were introduced inside long or medium distance trains which catered to passengers by serving freshly cooked quality food, thus revolutionizing train travel in India. It pioneered internet-based rail ticket booking through its website, as well as from the mobile phones via WiFi, GPRS or SMS. It also provides SMS facility to check PNR status and Live Train Status as well. In addition to e-tickets, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation also offers I-tickets that are basically like regular tickets except that they are booked online and delivered by post. The tickets PNR status is also made available. Commuters on the suburban rail can also book season tickets through the website. It has also launched a loyalty program called Shubh Yatra for frequent travelers. Through this program, passengers can avail of discounts on all tickets booked round the year by paying an upfront annual fee.

Seeking to make it easier to book e-tickets, It launched a scheme called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS). RDS is an e-ticket booking scheme allowing passengers to reserve seats against advance money kept with the corporation.[3] It has also added flights and hotels booking facilities to their line of online reservation services.[4]

Passengers are allowed to book tickets through e-ticketing all the day except from 11:45 pm to 12:20 am, following when IRCTC shut down its main server for 35 minutes for maintenance.[2]

Tatkal scheme[edit]

Under the Tatkal scheme, passengers who plan their journey at short notice can book their tickets in almost all Mail/Express trains through the Indian railways internet portal. The booking starts at 10:00 AM daily for AC coach reservation and for Non-AC timing is residual to 11.00 AM, one day prior to the departure of the train from source station.[5] Tatkal E-ticket can be booked for selected trains one day in advance excluding date of journey from the train originating station. It can be booked on the opening day from 10:00 AM onwards for AC coach and 11:00 AM onwards for NON-AC.[6] Passengers travelling on Tatkal tickets should carry a photo ID proof along with them to be shown to the ticket checker. Earlier this year, the website has launched Lite version which doesn't include ads, pop ups, etc. and check PNR status.[7]


Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation also organises budget and deluxe package tours for domestic and foreign tourists. A popular tourism package for budget tourists covering important tourist destinations across India is called "Bharat Darshan". Luxury tourism packages are also available, that involve special luxury trains such as Buddhist Circuit Train and Maharajas' Express operations.[8]

Apart from conventional tourism, it also offers adventure tourism packages that include water sports, adventure and wildlife treks, etc. A provision for customising tours as per specific requirements is also an added attraction. Recently a new venture of Indian Railways, named as Rail Tourism India has been launched to provide direct catering and tourism packages to users.


As one of the biggest e-commerce portal in India, it made a lot of records.

  • On 2 September 2013, nearly 5,82,000 tickets booked in a day.
  • On 19 March 2014, nearly 5,80,000 tickets booked in a day.[9]
  • On 1 April 2015, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) created a new national record with 13,45,496 tickets booked in a day.[10]
  • On 2 April 2015, nearly 11,00,000 tickets booked in a day.[11]
  • In April 2015, nearly 13,40,000 tickets booked in a day.[12]
  • The inaugural of Tejas Express was on 24 May 2017 from Mumbai CST to Karmali, Goa[13]
  • Extension of Scheme of Alternate Train Accommodation System aka VIKALP for the benefit of Waitlisted Passengers with effect from 1 April 2017 in all Mail/Express trains.[14][15]
  • From 3 November. 2017, Service started to provide information to passengers through (SMS) regarding status of delayed trains. Initially, all Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Tejas & Gatiman Trains covered. From 15 December 2017, all Jan shatabdis, Duranto and Garib Rath trains have also been included. Now this service is available in around 250 trains.[16][17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Malviya, Sagar; Arora, Rajat (22 November 2016). "IRCTC net profit jumps 44% to Rs 189 crore in FY16". The Economic Times.
  2. ^ a b c "IRCTC Booking Time Window Extended by 15 Minutes". NDTV Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  3. ^ IRCTC to launch 'Rolling Deposit Scheme' for e-ticket - Economic Times. (28 August 2012). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Indian Railways to introduce Rolling Deposit Scheme for E-Ticketing". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  5. ^ Welcome to Indian Railway Passenger reservation Enquiry. (30 June 2006). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions".
  7. ^ "IRCTC Lite Version For Tatkal Launched". 28 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  8. ^ Gupta, Jayanta (19 March 2010). "Rs 1 lakh a night on Maharajas' Express". Times of India. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  9. ^ "IRCTC record: 5.8 lakh etickets sold in a day". The Times of India. 21 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Record Number of Train Tickets Booked As New Reservation Rule Kicks In". NDTV. 2 April 2015.
  11. ^ "4-month advance railway booking: Record 11 lakh tickets sold online". The Times of India. 2 April 2015.
  12. ^ Malviya, Sagar (27 November 2015). "IRCTC rakes in Rs 20,000 crore from online ticketing, revenue double of Flipkart's". Indiatimes.
  13. ^ "India's first ever high-speed Tejas Express to be inaugurated today". The New Indian Express. 22 May 2017.
  14. ^ "VIKALP Terms and Conditions".
  15. ^ "Railways' new Vikalp scheme to help waiting-list passengers to travel in premium trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani". Business Today. 22 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Welcome to Indian Railway Passenger reservation Enquiry".
  17. ^ "Sms Service Code".
  18. ^ "Now get SMS delay alerts at halt stations; service extended to 1,104 more trains". The Economic Times. 3 June 2018.