Finding and Choosing Trains

How do I find out whether there's a train connecting my origin and destination?

You could either refer to the printed timetable or (better) 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 fully unreserved trains as well. Depending on your interests, you might find a certain website works better for you than others.  I'm currently updating a guide that explains how to quickly navigate these websites to find the information you need and it will be posted on this website soon.

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.  I will shortly post a revised article on how to check for availability on the train you've chosen.

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.  I will soon be linking to an article that demystifies the various availability status messages you might encounter.

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.  Many of the error messages and codes displayed by the Indian Railways have changed recently and I will discuss them in a more detailed article that will be added soon. 

Okay, I've found a train for my journey and it's available.  What now?

Excellent!  Head to the section on buying tickets for more information.