I booked an online ticket for traveling on Indian Railways for a Short Distance Journey, but my ticket was not confirmed at all and is on the waiting list.

Can I travel with the waiting list ticket in the General Compartment?

  • Could you elaborate what you need? Did you mean to ask whether it can happen that you ticket doesn't get confirmed prior to the departure of the train? If that was what you meant, the answer would be yes, definitely, but it all depends on what route and what WL number you have at the time of your booking.
    – rlab
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 16:27
  • @rlesko I have edited my question to make it much more clearer.
    – user2168
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 16:36
  • you could not board with waiting E-ticket, for that you'll be considered as without ticket as per Indian railways rules. Make sure your E-ticket must be confirmed before your boarding....I hoped the answered.
    – user3729
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 6:00
  • can rac ticket holder travel in e ticketing???
    – user3756
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 5:39
  • @bjj - welcome to Travel.SE. You answered this question, which is not the way to get more information. I moved your answer to a comment. If you'd like to ask an actual question, please click 'Ask Question' at the top right of the page.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 5:45

2 Answers 2


OK, great, now I can answer the question. General quota and general compartment are two completely different things. Quotas can be general, foreign, women etc. and that only refers to how many seats are reserved in certain quota. This is a useful in case you can't get a confirmed ticket in general quota because then you can try foreign quota or any other applicable one. Mind you, you can book other quotas only in person, at the counter.

General compartment on the other hand is one of the classes for traveling by train in India. It is also called Unreserved 2nd sitting. In that class you can travel no matter which ticket you have, be it a General class ticket, a Sleeper class ticket or even 1AC class ticket. General class ticket is the cheapest one that you can get and doesn't fall into the limitations of general quota. If you have a ticket for your train, you can always go to general class. Sometimes this class is totally abandoned and you can sit, lay or do whatever you like but it is usually overcrowded without any space for you to move in. You may sit if you get there on time but as soon as you get up, you lose your seat. Riding in this class can be fun if you don't have too much luggage and if a route is not too long. I usually take general class for short (up to 4 hours) daytime rides.

Now, to answer your question - no, if you ticket doesn't get confirmed, you will not be able to ride in general class simply because you won't have a ticket since you get refunded for your ticket as soon as they're sure you are not getting confirmed. Don't despair though, you just buy a general class ticket before boarding your train and hope that there will be enough room for you on that train, you won't get anywhere by being polite, just push your way through to get on. Also, one other thing - TTE (Traveling Ticket Examiner) almost never checks the ticket in general class.

BTW, you might be able to get a Tatkal quota ticket for your trip. It is a last minute quota which is a bit more expensive but it might just get you on that train without the need for pushing and shoving in general compartment.


To update my answer, I found that for popular places people just board the train with a waitlisted ticket in Sleeper class which gets them to their destination but is very annoying as they sit on your berths all the way and is kinda unfair since you paid the ticket price and don't get the "comfort" you deserve for your trip. But that's all India, I guess...

  • What if the ticket was not booked online but at the railway counter, then there is no refund. Can I travel then?
    – user2168
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 18:03
  • 1
    You can get a refund, actually, you are suppose to collect your refund if you ticket isn't confirmed. Since you're at the counter already, you can just buy a general compartment ticket then.
    – rlab
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 6:06
  • Meant to write your ticket...
    – rlab
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 12:10

Ticket categories are:

  • Sleeper
  • Chair Car
  • AC -3 Tier
  • AC-2 Tier
  • First Class
  • Unreserved, and so forth

Ticket Status for any category (except Unreserved) can be:

  • CNF/Confirmed - You get a confirmed booking and your berth is reserved for you.
  • RAC/Reservation against Cancellation - You can board the train, and once the seating charts are prepared (which is 2-3 hours before the train departs from the starting point) you will be allocated a single berth which will be shared with another RAC ticket-holder. This means you get a place to sit.
  • WL/Waiting List - This means the passenger's booking is not confirmed. Legally you cannot board a train with a ticket which has a "Waiting List" status. The Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) can fine you, or ask you to pay a bribe. You need to have at least a bunch of newspapers, because you will have to sit/sleep on the floor (passage ways).

A ticket with a WL status may get confirmed. You need to keep checking the reservation status of your ticket's PNR (unique identifier that stores your ticket and journey details) online.

Order of status change: WL --> RAC -->CNF

General Compartments of the trains on most popular routes get crowded within minutes of the train pulling in at the source station. Unless you are prepared to shove/push/fight, give up the idea. If you manage to get in, you may or may not get a place to sit.

  • Also there are different type of WL/waiting list like CKWL, PQWL, etc.
    – blvdeer
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 18:54

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