Its not easy to book tickets on the India Rail website either....
The Boi and I decided to pre-book our tickets for the Haridwar --> Varanasi leg of our trip. Diwali is on, so there would be a lot of people travelling at that time. Its also an 18 hour train trip (does anyone else have visuals of The Boi and I hanging onto the outside of a train?).
The India Rail website is composed of 3 different websites you need to be able to navigate - Trains at a Glance (the timetables), the Reservation Enquiry site (gives seat availability) and then the actual booking site here. It also helps to have their Route Map open in another browser window.
1. You use the Route Map to figure out your starting and ending points are - then look and see if they share anyof the same route numbers.
2. Now use Trains at a Glance, open up the correct route tables and hope that the train does indeed go between those stations - sometimes it doesnt!
3. Flick through 3-4 different route tables until you can find the train that leaves and arrives at the time you want. Make sure it runs on the day you want too (oh yes, some trains only run twice a week). In this case we wanted the one that left at 6pm, and arrived 4pm the next day.
4. Visit the Reservation Enq site, hunt around for the link (its in tiny size 4 writing at the bottom of the screen), and check the train number for station names . Write down the 2 you need - HW and BSB.
5. Go to another link, check seat availability. If there's some available in the class you want, proceed to the booking site. If not, return to Step 2. Doh.
6. Booking site - you have to create a profile to even get a looksie in here. And i can only be accessed after 9.30am sydney time.
7. Now you have to go through a similar process as above, enter the starting and ending station, the date, the correct class etc. Any incorrect information makes you do it again.
8. Next page, you have to enter all the passenger details, and where you want to sit. The easiest part of this whole damn process.
9. How to pay, there is 20 - yes thats correct - different ways of making payment. You have to choose the correct one (and none of them is labelled International Credit Card BTW). Wrong answer, go back to step 7.
Done. Now you can print out a ticket and take it with you to India - no need to queue.
Except that all the trains we wanted to take were full. We now have to go via another station, change trains, hope for the best - well it is an adventure right?
This has just sapped me for the last 2 days.