Insights into simplifying train travel

A Look through some unknown RAC Ticket rules

Do you like reading detective novels with a thrilling plot? If so, you might get the same feeling when trying to read through some of the Indian Railways rules and regulations. No wonder, the average train passengers always have thousand questions in their minds. The RAC (Reservation Against Cancellations) ticket rules. While there are hundreds of sites that talk about the general rules of RAC, there are many grey areas which the passengers have no idea of. At RailYatri, we would like to help the train passengers by answering some of these. And mind you, we would try to keep it really simple.

How many seats are kept reserved under RAC quota in a normal express train?

RAC Quota

In a normal express train 142 tickets can fall under the RAC quota. Let us explain (for the convenience of your understanding, let us take Sleeper coaches as our reference): on a general level any express train has 12 Sleeper coaches. There are 72 seats in each of the 12 Sleeper coaches, making the total number of available seats 864 (72X12). In an express train, the total berths reserved under the RAC quota are 71. Now, each of these 71 berths will be shared by two people, so the total RAC count is conventionally 142 (71X2).

Are you authorized to travel on a RAC ticket?

Berth Sharing on RAC

In more than 95% of cases you can be sure of making a journey, though you might have to share the berth with another person. As you know, under the RAC quota the Side lower berth seats are allotted to two people who have to share it, if the ticket does not get confirmed or there are no vacancies on the train. But there is one instance where you might not be able to make a journey, read below to find out.

Can a RAC ticket be moved to Waitlist?

RAC to waiting list

Yes, though it rarely happens, but a RAC ticket can be moved to waitlist. If some coaches of the train are unavailable and there is a scarcity of seats such a step can be taken. Suppose, there are 12 Sleeper coaches in a train and out of them 1 coach develops a technical issue and cannot make the journey. So, the confirmed ticket passengers have to be accommodated with one less coach. In such rare instances a RAC ticket can be demoted.

Are there any categories in RAC tickets?

Though not apparently, there is an Emergency Quota valid in the RAC tickets. The Emergency Quota has tickets booked by VIPs, railway staff, etc. which by some chance have not been confirmed. Often these tickets are given preference over normal RAC bookings when queued for Confirmation.

Do Confirmation of RAC tickets always follow the serial numbers?

No, not in all instances! As you see there are Emergency Quotas in RAC. So, while RAC 1 should be the first to be confirmed, at rare times one of the tickets from lower serial order of RAC may be confirmed due to EQ.

If you have a RAC ticket, are you always allotted Side Lower berth seats?

That is the general norm; however, there may be certain instances when the amount of Confirmed ticket cancellations is so high that middle or upper berth may be allotted to the passenger. This seldom happens.

Why some passengers on RAC tickets are allowed Solo Berths?

RAC Solo Berth

At times you may find that a person with RAC ticket gets a solo berth, without the general convention of sharing. Such a pleasant surprise may come when the person allotted the same seat gets ticket confirmed at the last moment and there is no time for re-allocation.

Why do tickets show two RAC nos. e.g: RAC 15/RAC 9?

Many people are confused by such a status. It means when you started the booking process you were at RAC 15, but during the process 6 more tickets were cancelled, so you moved up to RAC 9 at the present status.

If you are travelling with another person (with same PNR) and have RAC 3 & 4, will the seats be together?

Family travel on RAC quota

RAC tickets get confirmed only when there is a cancellation. So, the progress of your tickets is dependent on cancellations. However, Indian Railways generally tries to accommodate tickets on one PNR in the same space. So, you may share the same seats.

Can the Confirmation chances of a RAC ticket be predicted?

Yes, it definitely can be predicted and that is what we do here at RailYatri. But for such an analysis, a detailed analysis of the rush, cancellation history and train’s on-time performance is needed.

Hope these answers would answer some of the questions you had about the RAC ticket system. If you have any suggestions, views or enquiries please do write back to us.


ALSO READ: Surge Pricing model, Tips to Book Tatkal Tickets

32 thoughts on “A Look through some unknown RAC Ticket rules

  1. Manish Chandra

    RAC tickets have many rules and regulations attached with it. But I think that it is a good facility provided by Indian railways where passengers if not allotted a berth, can now share a berth and can continue their journey in emergency. Sometimes its troublesome in long journeys, but not a bad option in short or overnight journeys.

  2. Satish Joshi

    It may be better than the ticket remaining unconfirmed but one can not avoid a feeling of getting cheated, as the railways charge full ticket fare, reservation charge etc. As a result, the passenger travelling on an RAC ticket, sharing a side lower berth with a perfect stranger, still ends up paying the same amount that a confirmed ticket holder pays! The railway earn 81 full fares for 72 berths! Railways should offer a discount of at least 40% for tickets ending up as RAC.

  3. Devendra Pal

    But pls mention this too that side upper berth person also has the sitting with both RAC ticket holders,as whole side lower birth is not free for only both RAC HOLDERS( Except night sleeping hrs).During day timings upper berth holder has the provision to sit on lower side berths.

    1. Bhavesh Gupta

      Good Evening everyone. I would like to write about one of my worst train experiences, which I faced today. I had a confirmed Side Upper ticket, while the Side Lower seats were occupied by two other passengers with RAC. These two people denied me seat in the lower window seat. When I lodged a complain, in this regard with the TTE he showed me the Rule Book that shows: if you have Side Upper Confirmed ticket, and if the Side Lower is occupied by RAC ticket holder, then you have no rights to sit in the Lower Berth. I am very shocked to hear about this rule. This rule definitely needs to changed to make journeys better.

  4. Rakesh Agarwal

    Are RAC ticket holders travelling in A.C. eligible to get seperate linen set?
    Let say I am holding RAC ticket and sharing berth with stranger. Will we both get separate Linen set?


        It’s not true.My practical experience is that the coach attendance refuse to provide pillow and blanket for each Rac tkt holder.As per his version pillow and blanket are allowed one set for each berth

        1. RailYatri

          Hello Subhashish,

          Many passengers face this same problem. As you are entitled to make the journey, similarly you are also in your rights to get bedding. If you face the same issue in the future just send SMS to +918121281212 quoting train number, coach number, seat/berth number or PNR and problem in short. We hope this will solve your problem.

  5. Basu kashyap

    Rac tickets are not valid when booked via online systems… This info should’ve been there in this post… Or if the rules have changed… Please confirm it

  6. manish

    Where will the person who is allotted for side upper berth sit during the day? If sits on his allotted berth there will be three people sitting on the side lower.

    1. RailYatri

      Hello Manish,

      During the day time usually the lower berth can be kept in sleeping position which will accommodate three people easily.

  7. HARSH A

    Dear Team,

    Thats a good blog. I wish to highlight, in train where 3 side seats exist in 3 Tier. RAC is given in lower seat to 3 people, so that they can sit. I wish to ask, How is prediction given in ur website when Railway does not do that? How u fetch data from and integrate to Railway?

    1. RailYatri

      Hello Harsha,

      One of the highlights of our app is that we are able to make sense out of huge train running data. Our intensive data analysis (which takes into account many key criterion) helps us predict the Confirmation Probability for your Wait list or RAC ticket.

  8. Avinandan Chakraborty

    I hv a tckt of RAC 12 OF 3rd AC of Howrah New Delhi Poorva express, so after boarding the train on 16th oct how do I know which seat is alloted for me? Do I have to ask the TT? Should I step into any coach of 3rd AC and wait for the TT?

  9. Harry

    Dear IRCTC.
    I m the first time user to IRCTC site & in fact I was unfamiliar to this site for booking train ticket from home rather than moving to an agent etc. I had an experience of booking a Return tkt of 4. which was booked on 6/09/16 in Gnrl. SL.for Nandigram Express. journy dt 8/09/16. showed status WL9.10.11.12/4,5,6,7 till 17:00 hrs on 7/09/16. On this circumstances I booked another Tkt of 4 after 17:00 hrs on 7/09/16 in Ttkl. SL. which was Cnfrmd in 1st attempt.
    Now my quest is-: is this meant for only grabing money from we innocent Indians? who travelling with the fmly have no choices left rather than tracking of tkt conformation whole day n night with the prediction that if the same is not confirmed then the fmly have to suffesuffer.

  10. mhn

    In my opinion Indian Railways is making a fool of common for the sake of money. The tea or food served by the Pantry vendors is of worst quality and yet no action is taken against them on an administrative level.

  11. Hitesh Sharma

    Reservation Against Cancellation was really very confusing before reading this article thank you for sharing such a detailed piece. Also please share an article on seat matrix of Indian railway 🙂

  12. Amit

    What are the chances of getting an RAC confirmed in Indian Raiways?
    Reservation Against Cancellation was really very confusing before reading this article thank you for sharing such a detailed piece.


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