How to book a Indian Railways train ticket from your mobile phone with just two SMSes


IRCTC copy

Indian Railways ticketing has always been cumbersome. While the online booking system indeed solved some of the issues, the IRCTC website always makes us nostalgic of the long waiting queues at stations and be the pinnacle of utter disappointment at times. While the website offers infinite control over your ticket booking, there are a lot of times when you just want it done, with minimal effort. Till now, it hasn’t been possible but worry not, a new and easy way of booking train tickets for Indian Railways is here, and it takes just two steps to book a ticket for upto six passengers! Read on to find out how.

Previously used for querying on train ticket confirmations and bookings, the 139 SMS service from Indian Railways now lets you book tickets! But before you get all excited, here are some prerequisites you need to consider –

Pre-requisites to book a ticket through SMS on 139

  • User should be registered on IRCTC’s website (www.irctc.co.in)
  • User should have MMID & OTP (One Time Password) for IMPS Transaction
  • Same Mobile Number should be registered with Bank & IRCTC

So, yes, you should have been a registered user on the IRCTC website, and have the MMID & OTP (One Time Password) for the IMPS(InterBank Mobile payment service) transaction that is about to happen. You can get the MMID from the bank if you haven’t already –

MMID stands for Mobile Money Identifier and is 7-digit number that is provided by Bank to customer. This number is used to identify customer Bank and is linked to the account number. The combination of mobile number and MMID is unique for the particular account, and customer can link same mobile number with multiple accounts in the same Bank, and get separate MMID for each account. Here’s how you register your mobile number and obtain MMID from the bank.

The OTP is the password that you get for an impending transaction right at the time of the same. Here’s how you can generate the OTP. And of course, the mobile number you book from, has to be the same as the Bank’s register mobile number of your account. Now, armed with these pre-requisites, lets see how the actual booking process is.

Step 1 (Booking the ticket):

Send below SMS with Journey & passenger information to 139

BOOK <TrainNo> <FromCity> <ToCity> <TravelDate(DDMM)> <Class> <Passenger1-Name> <Age> <Gender> <Passenger2-Name> <Age> <Gender> (Upto 6 passengers)

For Example:

BOOK 12420 NDLS GZB 2606 2S Rakesh 55 M Sarita 53 F

If the format sent is valid, you will receive a response SMS from 139

Trans Id: 34004567 Ticket Amount: 120 IRCTC SC: 11.24 Total Amount: 131.24 Seat: AVAILABLE-0095. For Payment SMS PAY <34004567> IMPS <MMID> <OTP> IRCTCUserID to 139 to book ticket.

Step 2 (Paying for the ticket):

For payment, send SMS with the following information to 139

PAY <Transaction ID as received> IMPS <MMID as received from bank> <OTP as received from bank for this transaction> <IRCTCUserID>

For Example:

PAY 340045667 IMPS 98453672 453289 Rakesh

Confirmation SMS will be received from 139 on successful booking of the ticket

Your ticket booked successfully. PNR is: 2345678901 Ticket No: :0672261674  Booking Status: Rakesh CONFIRM C1 76 WS Sarita CONFIRM C1 77 Ticket Amt: 120.0 SC: 11.24 Src: New Delhi Dst: Ghaziabad Date of Journey: 26/06/2013 Sch Dep 12:30 hrs

And that’s it! That’s all you need to do for booking a train ticket. But the most common practice after booking a ticket for a train journey is, of course, canceling it. You can do cancellation too, with the 139 SMS service, here’s how –

Cancellation Procedure:

Case 1: If the ticket has to be completely cancelled

Send below SMS with the following information to 139

CAN <10 Digit PNR> <IRCTC UserID>

For Example:

CAN 2345678901 Rakesh

If the entered information is valid, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

We have received your request for cancellation of tickets for < Passenger 1 Name> for PNR Number 2345678901. Please confirm the cancellation by sending YES to 139 or for any change in cancellation data, send a fresh request.

Once the cancellation is confirmed, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

Your ticket for <Passenger 1 Name> with PNR Number: 2345678901 is cancelled. Amount: 60 will be refunded in your account.

Case 2: If the ticket has to be partially cancelled

Send below SMS with the following information to 139

CAN <10 Digit PNR> <IRCTCUserID> <Passenger Number>

For Example:

CAN 2345678901 Rakesh 1/2/3 (Upto 6 Passengers)

If the entered information is valid, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

We have received your request for cancellation of tickets for < Passenger 1 Name> for PNR Number 2345678901. Please confirm the cancellation by sending YES to 139 or for any change in cancellation data, send a fresh request.

Once the cancellation is confirmed, you will receive the following response SMS from 139

Your ticket for <Passenger 1 Name> with PNR Number: 2345678901 is cancelled. Amount: 60 will be refunded in your account.

And that’s how you book or cancel a Indian Railways train ticket with just two SMSes. Have you given it a go already? How is the service? Did you face any issues? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Author: Bharadwaj Chandramouli

Bharadwaj is obsessed with technology and is a self taught designer who covers news, writes features, reviews, loves to take photos and produces videos. He is currently using a review unit. You can follow him on Twitter @bharadc23 and on Google+