Travelling by train in India
"Every person desirous of travelling on a Railway shall, upon payment of his fare be supplied with ticket specifying the class of carriage for which, and the place from and the place to which, the fare has been paid." (from the Indian Railways Act)
Royston Ellis's book India by Rail is highly recommended. Details on this book are available in the section on books.
Familiarize yourself with the different classes of service that IR provides. Basically, you have a choice of second class, which is pretty basic but adequate (and relatively cheap, hence popular), first class which is more plush, and various air-conditioned classes which provide protection from heat and dust but may be downright chilly at night. (Railfans should note that the view is often not very good through the windows of the air-conditioned coaches which cannot be opened.)
Sleeper class variants of all these exist (2-tier and 3-tier refer to how many levels of bunk beds the coach has). Not all trains provide accommodation in all classes. Reservations are usually necessary (in addition to purchasing the tickets) for almost all long-distance or overnight travel; there are extra charges for sleeping accommodations.
The Rajdhanis, Shatabdis, Jan Shatabdis, and Super Deluxe Expresses have only reserved accommodations, as do the various luxury tourist trains. In addition, a few trains such as the Deccan Queen, Pragati Exp., Indrayani Exp. (all between Mumbai and Pune) and the Hazrat Nizamuddin - Gwalior Taj Express are also [6/04] fully reserved. Recently [1/05], however, IR has recently been allowing unticketed passengers (or those with just platform tickets), or those without reservations to board these trains at intermediate stations depending on seat availability and the discretion of the TTE; a penalty fare of twice the normal fare has to be paid and the passenger is not assured of a seat nor has access to any of the on-board catering and other services.
Travel without reservations (in the few unreserved coaches that most trains have) is not for the faint of heart, except for shorter day trips. :-) (Note that some trains have only reserved coaches.) Day trains do have reservations, although the number of reserved seats may be small (except for the Shatabdis, Jan Shatabdis and others where all the accommodation is reserved), and for short-distance trains you cannot reserve seats more than 4 days in advance.
For Shatabdis and other medium-distance day trains with sitting accommodation only, the advance reservation period is 10 or 15 days (this has varied: some trains had 3, 7, or 10-day reservation periods). For most long-distance trains with sleeper accommodation, the advance reservation period is 60 days (some trains may have 45 days -- the periods have varied in the past).
Class Codes : The various classes of accommodation are referred to using abbreviations in many places. A list is given below. Note that these codes are used solely with reference to accommodation and reservations or ticketing. They are not the codes used to refer to the coaches based on their structural features. For a list of coach types, see the section on coaching stock.
- 1A : First class air-conditioned (Executive class in Shatabdi Exp. is treated as equivalent to this for fare purposes). Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day.
- 2A : Air-conditioned 2-tier sleeper. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day.
- FC : First class. Berths for sleeping at night, and seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- 3A : Air-conditioned 3-tier sleeper. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- 3H : High-capacity air-conditioned 3-tier sleeper. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- CC : Air-conditioned chair-car. Only sitting accommodation (individual chairs). Occasionally (especially on SR and SWR) these are referred to as Second Class AC Chair Cars, to distinguish them from the Executive Chair Car.
- CH : High-capacity version of the air-conditioned chair-car class. Only sitting accommodation (individual chairs).
- EC : Executive Class, or First Class Air-conditioned chair-car. Only sitting accommodation (individual chairs).
- SL : Sleeper class. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- SH : High-capacity (81 berths) sleeper class. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- 2S : Second class Sitting. Only sitting accommodation with bench style seats.
- ACC : (OLD - no longer in use) First class Air-conditioned sleeper, with coupes of 2 and 4 berths each.
Some trains have different fare schedules, e.g., the Garib Rath category of trains have a lower fare for accommodations that are very similar to the AC-3T coaches normally found in other trains.
Coach designations: Coaches in a train are marked externally according to the class of accommodation. These designations were changed in April 2007. These are also the designations used in the seating charts pasted to the outside of the coaches and available on the ticketing information web sites of IR.
Old Coach Designations
- S-1, S-2, etc., are usually the sleeper coaches on overnight trains, but can also indicate sitting-only coaches in day trains on SER, ECoR, NR, ER, some SR.
- SC-1, SC-2, etc., are second-class sitting-only coaches (WR, CR, etc.).
- A-1, A-2, etc., are the AC 2-tier coaches.
- H-1, H-2, etc., are the AC first class coaches.
- HA-1, HA-2, etc., are the composite 1AC/2AC coaches.
- AS-1, AS-2, etc., are the AC 3-tier coaches (except Garib Rath).
- FC (sometimes just F) is used for first-class
- G is used for the Garib Rath AC 3-tier coaches.
- GC-1, etc. is used for coachs of Garib Rath chair cars
- FS-1 is the rare first-class / sleeper composite seen on the Brahmaputra Mail
- CC (less common) and C are used for chair car coaches. AC Chair car coaches are most often marked C-1, C-2, etc.
- EC is used for executive chair car coaches.
- (OLD) SS-1, SS-2, etc., were used for second-class sitting coaches.
- (OLD?) SL-1, SL-2, etc., were used for sleeper coaches.
- GS and sometimes (rarely) GEN are used for unreserved second-class accommodation.
- UR-1, UR-2, etc., are also used for unreserved second-class accommodation.
- ES-1, ES-2, ..., are sometimes occasionally seen for what seem to be ordinary sleeper coaches -- probably stands for 'Extra' sleeper coaches provided to accommodate rush travel periods.
- SL : Sleeper class. Berths for sleeping at night, seats by day. The number of seats is greater than the number of berths.
- EX-1 : Also sometimes used for extra coaches attached to trains to clear rush traffic.
New Coach Designations (2007)
- Sleeper coaches' designations are unchanged: S-1, S-2, etc.
- 1st AC coaches' designations are unchanged: H-1, H-2, etc.
- AC 2-tier coaches' designations are unchanged: A-1, A-2, etc.
- First class coaches' designations unchanged: FC or F.
- AC Chair Car coaches' designations unchanged: C-1, C-2, etc.
- B-1, B-2, etc. : AC 3-tier (formerly AS-1, etc.)
- D-1, etc. : Second-class sitting (formerly S-1, or SC-1, etc.)
- E-1, etc. : Executive class (formerly EC-1, etc.).
- J-1, etc. : Garib Rath chair car (formerly GC-1, etc.), also Yuva Express AC chair car coaches.
- Garib Rath AC 3-tier coaches' designation is unchanged (G-1, etc.).
- Composite coaches combine letters for the constituent classes, e.g., HA for 1st AC cum 2nd AC, AB for AC 2-tier cum AC 3-tier
- L-1, L-2, etc., are sometimes used for high-capacity 3AC coaches. This is intended to be an internal code for ticketing and passenger information, but is sometimes used for seat charts.
- M-1, M-2, etc., are sometimes used for high-capacity chair-car coaches. This is intended to be an internal code for ticketing and passenger information, but is sometimes used for seat charts.
- N-1, N-2, etc., are sometimes used for high-capacity (81 berths) sleeper coaches. This is intended to be an internal code for ticketing and passenger information, but is sometimes used for seat charts.
Some other codes exist, e.g., 'PC' for the pantry car although these do not play a role in reservations and ticketing.
An 'R' prefix may be seen sometimes on the passenger information systems for RAC tickets. E.g., 'RB1' indicates an RAC ticket for the B1 coach.
Tickets can be purchased for journeys from the station where you are buying the tickets, for round-trips (return journeys), for journeys to the station (reverse journeys), or for journeys from other stations (usually intermediate points on train routes from the station where you are buying tickets, but in areas where different stations' ticketing systems are linked by computer networks, a wider choice is available).
If you have a reservation, you probably also have to look at the reservation charts either pasted on the outside of the coaches, or on boards in the station, to find out which coach and seats/sleepers are yours. (The information on the printed reservation slip you get at the time you make the reservation is not always correct.) Starting in 1999, reservation status can also be checked from special information kiosks (I-ASK) and touch-screen computer terminals at select locations, as well as over the phone in some cities.
Train status information is available over the phone (in some cities), at railway stations, and at information kiosks.
Reservation Against Cancellation ('RAC') refers to a ticket status where you have requested a reservation for a berth but do not actually have a reservation for a berth until some berth becomes available through the cancellation of some other reserved ticket. RAC ticket holders can board the reserved coach for the overnight journey, but are only assured of reserved sitting accommodation on the seats at the side of the coach (not in the compartments). If no berths become available, two RAC ticket holders have to share the seats on the side without converting it to a berth by laying down the bunk over them. A third RAC ticket holder gets to use the upper side berth. The side berths are shorter than the berths in the main compartments.
Tickets on the Wait List ('WL') are not even guaranteed such sitting accommodation, and are entirely unconfirmed at the time of issue. Seating or sleeping accommodation will be available only if enough other persons with reservations cancel their tickets. On some popular routes, high wait-list numbers in the hundreds are not unusual, and holders of such tickets may still end up with reserved accommodation by the day of the journey since there is a lot of flux as people cancel and re-arrange their trips.
For many trains it is not unusual to see high numbers for the waitlist positions, such as in the 300s. For some trains, this is still reasonable because the trains typically see a lot of cancellation and re-booking activity in the days just before the journey. For some other trains, the high numbers on the wait list indicating that such requests for reservations are still being accepted may simply mean that the zonal railway is planning to run an additional trains as specials to clear the rush later. When the maximum wait list number defined for a train is reached for a particular day's journey, the reservation system refuses to accept any more requests for that day. In such cases, this is shown as 'REGRET' in the reservation status.
The reservation status for a train is shown online in a format such as 24-4-2005 WL 273 / WL 189. This indicates that earlier the position was a wait list of 273, and now the wait list has shrunk to 189; i.e., if you were to try to book a ticket now, you would get a wait list position higher than 189. A notation such as 24-4-2005 REGRET / WL 215 indicates that earlier no reservations were being accepted even on the wait list, and now the wait list position is at 215.
Most waitlisted tickets are issued by the originating station of a route. Stations close to the originating station may also share the same wait list (e.g., Chennai Egmore, Mambalam, Tambaram, Chengalput all share wait lists and reservation quotas with Chennai Central). This waitlist is the General Waiting List or simply Waiting List (WL).
The number of tickets that can be issued in total for travel from the originating station, issued by booking offices of the originating station and other nearby stations is known as the General Quota (somewhat unintuitively abbreviated 'GN'). Smaller intermediate stations that do not participate in the networked computerized reservation system issue tickets from specific quotas, known as Remote Location Quotas ('RLQ') and Road Side Quotas ('RS'), and these quotas can themselves have wait lists.
A Pooled Quota Waiting List ('PQWL') is shared by several small stations in a particular region. E.g., Tiruppur, Salem, etc., share in the quota and wait list for some trains originating from Trivandrum or Mangalore. As another example, the 2723 Andhra Pradesh Exp. has three quotas, for Secunderabad - New Delhi, Secunderabad - nagpur, and Secunderabad - Bhopal. There is also a pooled quota for passengers travelling from Secunderabad to stations beyond Bhopal but short of Jhansi. If this quota is exhausted, a passenger is placed in the pooled quota waiting list. Pooled Quotas normally operate only from the originating station of a route, and there is only one Pooled Quota for the entire run. The Pooled Quota is intended to be utilized by passengers travelling from the originating station to a station short of the terminating station, or from an intermediate station to the terminating station, or between two intermediate stations. Such remote location quotas are also provided when there is a very strong demand for the train in question, because of which, without such additional quotas, all seats or berths might be fully consumed by passengers from the originating station leaving nothing available for those wishing to travel from intermediate points. Vacant Pooled Quota berths are automatically tapped by the PRS for booking end-to-end passengers. Passengers in the Pooled Quota Waiting List are cleared against the vacancies in the earmarked Pooled Quota only, or against General Quota vacancies available at the time of charting.
A Running Line Waiting List ('RLWL'), also known as Remote Location Waiting List or Road-Side Location Waiting List applies to the quotas of specific intermediate ticketing stations on a route, known as the Remote Location Quota. E.g., Solapur has a quota with a corresponding wait list on the Mumbai - Chennai mail). The intermediate stations are usually the more important towns or cities on the route. The RL quota takes care of passengers travelling from these intermediate stations up to or short of the terminating station. RL quota tickets are never available from the originating station of the route. When the RL quota is exhausted, RAC (Reservation against Cancellation) begins, and it is then followed by ticketing on the RL Waiting List; in some cases when the RL Quota is small, the RL Waiting List is active immediately. There can be more than one Remote Location Quota for some long distance trains, corresponding to different stations en route. Passengers in the Remote Location Quota Waiting List are cleared against the vacancies in the earmarked Pooled Quota only, or against General Quota vacancies available at the time of charting.
In some cases if a ticket is to be booked from an intermediate station to another intermediate station, and is not covered by the general quota nor by the remote location quotas or pooled quota, the request for the ticket may go into a Request Waiting List ('RQWL'). A ticket on this list is usually confirmed only when there is a confirmed ticket for a passenger travelling from the originating station to that intermediate station, although in the case of some Rajdhani routes and other long-distance trains specific quotas may be earmarked for use by passengers on the RQWL, for some intermediate stations. Tickets for travel from an intermediate point to the terminating station are also handled in the same way if there is no Remote Location Quota defined for that intermediate point.
For road-side station quotas, berths or seats are booked by the originating station for journeys up to the road-side station and distance restrictions may not apply. If berths or seats are redefined from a remote location, then booking can be done beyond the road-side station, within the limits for the remote location's quota. In no case, however, will through passengers be booked on multiple quotas, e.g., partway on the general quota of the originating station and the rest of the journey on a remote location quota.
Other Quotas: There are several kinds of quotas for tickets for various special categories of passengers, other than the quotas for intermediate stations mentioned above, ticket agencies in other towns ('OS' = Out-Station quota), etc. These include small numbers of seats and berths set aside for railway officials ('HO' = Head Office quota ('High Official' quota)), ministers and high bureaucrats as well as members of parliament and their staff ('PH' quota ('Parliament House')), defence officials ('DF' quota), foreign tourists ('FT' = Foreign Tourist), handicapped travellers ('HP' = Handicapped Person), railway staff on duty ('DP' = Duty Pass) (this has its own waiting list, the 'DPWL' or Duty Pass Waiting List, especially for railway staff travelling on Privilege Passes on Rajdhani trains), women travellers ('LD' or 'LQ' = Ladies Quota), and those needing to travel for extremely urgent reasons ('EQ' = Emergency Quota), etc. Each one of these quotas can theoretically also have its own waiting list, usually denoted by the quota abbreviation followed by 'WL', e.g., FTWL, EQWL, HPWL, etc. RAC or Reservation Against Cancellation (see above) is technically not a quota, but is often shown as one, as 'RC' quota.
Tatkal Scheme: For a surcharge, which varies depending on the class of travel, it is possible to reserve accommodations for a rail trip just 1 to 5 days before the start of the journey, even if the normal reservation quotas are fully booked. The Tatkal scheme originally allowed booking a ticket just 1 day in advance of the journey but this was later changed to 3 and then to 5 days in advance - and subsequently shortened  to 2 days. (Please check the current rules.) An identification document should be shown during reservation and the same document carried on the journey and produced on demand, a measure to foil the re-sale of reserved tickets. This scheme was introduced by IR as a measure against travel agents and touts monopolizing reserved tickets, and to allow for emergency travel on busy sections. Tatkal reservations come out of a Tatkal Quota (code 'CK', with waiting list 'CKWL'), although in some cases 'TQ' has been seen in reference to this. Concessional tickets are not allowed under the Tatkal Quota, nor are Senior Citizen passes. The complete end-to-end charges for the journey are collected in addition to the Tatkal surcharge, even if the passenger intends to board the train at an intermediate station. (This may have changed  and the correct partial fare for the journey may be payable now.) In some cases, Tatkal quota fares are charged at Peak Period rates even if travel is during non-peak periods. The Tatkal scheme was originally introduced for selected trains, and for end-to-end travel only, but has now been extended to all trains where reservations are available and for partial journeys as well. The Tatkal booking period was originally 1 day in advance of the departure date, but was later extended successively to 3 and then 5 days. At the beginning of the scheme, the Tatkal Quota allowed for 72 berths in SL, 6 berths per coach in 3A, 4 berths per coach in 2A, and 6 seats per coach in CC, but the quota has been greatly expanded in recent years . The Tatkal Quota is higher on the weekends than on weekdays for most trains. Vacant berths in the Tatkal Quota are used for clearing General RAC and WL passengers.
Tatkal scheme details can be found on the IR site.
Quota Examples: As an example, a train such as the 6339 Mumbai - Nagercoil Express may have the following quotas:
- CSTM-NCJ General Quota
- CSTM-NCJ Pooled Quota
- CSTM-PUNE Road Side Quota for Pune
- CSTM-SUR Road Side Quota for Solapur
- CSTM-GR Road Side Quota for Gulbarga
- PUNE-NCJ Remote Location Quota for Pune
- SUR-NCJ Remote Location Quota for Solapur
- GR-NCJ Remote Location Quota for Gulbarga
Credit Cards: Some railway stations allow the use of credit cards to purchase tickets and make reservations. As of [7/99] this is not yet very widespread. [9/99] A Rail Credit Card, which is a Visa card issued by Standard Chartered Bank, can be used for booking travel over the phone; the tickets have to be picked up 48 hours prior to the beginning of the journey from special counters at the station. There is a service charge of Rs. 50. As of [9/99], this scheme was available only in New Delhi. [2/06] The State Bank of India also issues a co-branded credit card with a loyalty feature where points can be earned when using the card to buy railway tickets; the points can later be redeemed for travel on IR. A Shubhyatra card has also been launched with the redeemable points feature without the credit card facility.
Internet booking: [8/02] IR has now implemented online train reservation and ticketing through a web site from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corp. Tickets booked in this way (called 'i-tickets') can later be picked up from a railway station or delivered to your residence (in major Indian cities). More recently [9/04] IR has also begun ticketing over mobile phones. Around 2004, IR was studying proposals for 'e-tickets', where official printed tickets do not need to be physically delivered to the purchaser; this was implemented around 2005. IR has also proposed [1/05] allowing a form of online auctions for railway tickets for frequent travellers registered with IRCTC.
I-Tickets I-Tickets can be booked only up to 2 days before the departure date at the IRCTC web site. I-Tickets are delivered to the address registered by the passenger on the online application. I-Tickets cannot be cancelled over the web but must be taken to the PRS counters for cancellation. I-Tickets can be issued even if the status for the train moves to the Waiting List status.
E-Tickets E-Tickets can be booked online up to 4 hours before the departure of a train. They must be printed out by the passengers themselves and presented along with identity documents of the passenger in whose name the booking was done, when travelling. E-Tickets are not available once the train is in Waiting List status. E-Tickets can be cancelled until the time of chart preparation for the train (which is usually 4 to 6 hours before the scheduled departure - but note that trains that depart in the morning may have their charts prepared the previous night). E-Tickets cannot be cancelled at a PRS counter, but must be cancelled online. If an E-Ticket for the person in whose name the booking was made is cancelled, all passengers travelling under the same ticket will have their reservations cancelled. E-Tickets have numerous restrictions: they cannot be booked on railway passes, IndRail passes, or concessions (except senior citizens' concessions); they cannot be booked to cluster stations (stations not on the route of the train); for reservations on pre-bought tickets; for tickets with break journeys; bulk booking, etc.
Other than at railway stations, tickets can also be purchased at various agencies in the bigger towns (known as the railway "town booking offices" or "city booking offices"). A railway "out-agency" is an agency that handles railway ticketing at locations that are not on the railway network (usually handling combined road and rail journeys from there). Outside India, railway reservations / tickets are handled by the "General Sales Agents" of IR.
Q. Is there any place on the web where I can look up schedule information?
A few of the more useful sites are given below.
- Indian Railways Reservation Online has status, schedules, fares, train numbers, station codes, passenger service rules, and more.
- Indian Railways' official website has a searchable timetable, and tourist information, etc.
- TrainEnquiry.com is IR's online train status site with current running status of trains, reservation status, and other useful travel information.
- Central Railway's website lets you view timetables and actual arrival/departure times, etc.
- Western Railway's site has some schedules too, including Rajdhani/Shatabdi information.
- Southern Railway's site has current status, schedule changes, etc.
- Trainweb.org has a few IR timetables scanned in.
- Rajan Mathew's Konkan Railway resource page has KR timetables.
Q. How can I buy tickets or make reservatioins for train journeys while I am in India?
The time-honoured way is to go to a railway station and buy your tickets or make your bookings there. However, these days there are many other options, including using independent travel agents, or booking online at IR Catering and Tourism Corporation. See above under ticket types and quotas for information on 'I-Tickets' and 'E-Tickets' that can be booked online. In some towns IR also maintains 'Railway Out-Agencies' that handle reservations where the nearest railhead is some distance away. In 2009 IR also introduced ticket booking from mobile phones, and also announced plans for Post Offices to sell railway tickets.
Q. I'm in [some foreign country]. Where can I buy tickets or make reservations for train journeys?
IR maintains General Sales Agents (GSAs) who can sell IndRail passes, tickets, book tours, etc., in various countries. It may be best to contact a travel agency or peruse the phone directory of the capital city or major cities in your country to find the contact information for a GSA.
Check out IR's web page on GSAs to locate one that you can use.
Q. Are there any discount passes available for tourists and what is an IndRail pass?
[3/99] IndRail passes are issued by IR to foreign (i.e., non-Indian) nationals and Indians residing outside India. The pass allows unlimited travel on all regular IR passenger services during its validity (reservations must be made separately). The pass may be purchased for 1st class, A/C sleeper (2-tier or 3-tier) or A/C chair car class, or 2nd class, for varying durations ranging from a half-day pass up to a 90-day pass. A pass for one class is also valid on the lower (i.e. less expensive) classes of travel.
Fares differ for adults and children. [10/99] Adult fares are approximately $90 for a 1-day pass, $370 for a 15-day pass, and $550 for a 30-day pass. (Please check with a travel agent or IR's web site for current prices.) Payment must be in US dollars or other foreign currency, and identification in the form of a passport or other document is required. Travel agents outside India who deal with IR can help make reservations in advance of the pass-holder's journey to India; or else reservations may be made later in India.
The main advantage of an Indrail pass is the convenience of not having to buy separate tickets for all segments of your journey. It also saves you some money with first class or AC travel (although not as much as it used to do) over buying all the tickets and making reservations separately, especially if you intend to travel a lot. The passes or shorter durations are less of a bargain than the ones for longer durations. You also get access to the Tourist and VIP quotas for reservations, and an Indrail pass usually makes things much smoother at a Tourist Guide or Tourist Booking Counter at a railway station.
You can ask your travel agent who issues you the IndRail pass (usually a GSA or general sales agent of IR) to make the reservations for your journeys if you know the details. You will not get the seat and sleeper details immediately, and you will have to check at the starting railway station in India, or at the foreign tourists' counter at major stations (e.g. the International Tourists Bureau at New Delhi station), for confirmed seat and sleeper allocations.
Some GSAs give you vouchers which you then have to exchange for the tickets and reservations in India. Others will simply issue you a receipt. It is recommended that you confirm your reservations early and often! You can also reserve your journeys after you arrive in India. Of course, if you want you can also travel unreserved with the IndRail pass.
IR recently [6/99] announced the Explorer Pass which is supposed to be something like an IndRail pass but available to Indian citizens and residents.
Q. What are Circular Journey tickets?
Circular Journey tickets may be purchased for any custom route starting at one station and going through a number of others before ending at the starting point. Applications have to be submitted in advance at a railway station and may take a few days to process. Specific routes have to be specified between any consecutive pair of stations on the route you intend to take, in case there are multiple possible routes. The zonal timetables list the 'standard' circular journeys, which can be booked directly without much trouble. However, for any custom route, the route first has to be approved by the Commercial Manager at the booking station.
Check the zonal timetables for details on restrictions and time constraints. Stations cannot be visited twice on the same journey, which makes this less useful if one plans to use one town as a base for touring. (There is also an odd rule about the distance one way to the farthest station from the station of origination being at least 15% more than the distance the other way.)
There is no minimum period of stay required at any point of a circular journey. The trip has a specified total duration within which all travel must be completed, but how the time is distributed among the intermediate points is up to you. A circular journey also allows up to 8 breaks of journey. If you are considering using a circular journey ticket, remember that if your route schedule is such that your train changeover takes less than 24 hours at an intermediate station, it is not considered a break of journey, which means that with careful planning you can often get a day to spend at an intermediate point without its being counted as a break of journey.
Earlier the fare charged was the telescopic discounted fare based on the total distance of the journey, but now IR computes the fare as twice the fare for half the total distance of the circular route. With this and considering the trouble involved in applying for a circular ticket, in many cases it may be simpler instead to buy the corresponding regular tickets for all legs of your journey. There are some advantages to a circular ticket, however. The journey can be split over more days than with the corresponding ordinary tickets (total distance divided by 150km to get the number of days); also, one can break journey at 8 places instead of just twice on each ordinary ticket.
Other passes and discounted fares
IR has a large number of special fares, discounts, monthly passes, season passes, student passes, and so on for different categories of travellers, such as certain government officials, sportspersons, pilgrims, daily commuters, bereavement travel, medical travel, students en route to examination centres or commuting to school or college, etc. It is beyond the scope of this web site to document all of the various categories of fares and special travel arrangements available with IR. Note that most of these forms of discounted travel, such as Monthly Season Tickets (MST) require proofs of residency and/or employment, and so are not available to tourists visiting India. Some like the 'Izzat' monthly season ticket also require proof of income levels to qualify for them as they are intended for low-income travellers.