A journey often requires meticulous planning and in India, if even a part of the journey involves trains, one has to double the efforts in planning every single detail! The Indian Railways has one of the largest networks in the country and even with hundreds of trains speeding their way through the country’s vast expanse, thousands of travelers have to go without confirmed tickets. Thanks to the fact that a majority of the population here is entirely dependent on trains for their journey to various destinations, even the gigantic rail network fails to accommodate every traveler. This is especially true on popular routes where the train availability may be more, but since the number of people traveling is more too, the demand and supply pattern never seems to match.
Trains in India are an integral part of the travel scene. In a developing country where the impoverished chunk of the population as well as those from the middle class depend only on trains for their journeys, even the vast network of the Indian Railways certainly does not match up to the number of people that wish to travel on the trains. Almost every route in India that is covered by trains also sees a number of travelers vying for tickets on it. It seldom happens that a train on a particular route does not have many takers. Most of the newer trains that are introduced in fact see the light of day only after travelers from the particular routes who feel that need they need a train or even an extra one begin demanding for one, and that too vociferously. This process sometimes even takes years and the support of the political class too turns out to be advantageous in such cases. The gist of it all remains that the demand for trains is a lot more than what is actually available.
When planning a trip, business or official, it is therefore imperative that the train reservations are first taken care of, especially while traveling on routes that are highly popular. Trains plying between important cities or those that one is scheduled to travel on during the festival season or the summer holidays are especially difficult to find confirmed seats on. Waiting lists too turn out to be highly unreliable. Sometimes, even the highest numbers trickle down resulting in confirmed seats for most while in other cases even the ones that top the list do not get seats.
Considering the train availability in India, and the high demand for the ones that are available, it is therefore always a good idea to book one’s train tickets well in advance. This not only saves the traveler from unnecessary worries, but also allows him to make further plans in his itinerary now that the train ticket is confirmed.
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