What is the tourist quota?
The tourist quota essentially allows foreign visitors to book places on trains which are otherwise fully booked. A number of places in certain classes on popular tourist routes are held back in the ‘tourist quota.’ You cannot book these places online – only at train stations within India.
If you are interested in booking Indian trains online then take a look at my guide here.
How do I find out which trains have tourist quota places available?
1. Log in to cleartrip.com and search for the train that you want to check for tourist quota. You then need to note down the train number, and the 3 digit station code of both the origin station (departure station) and the destination station
3. You will then need to enter the train information, select the class you are interested in, and also ensure quota is set to ‘foreign tourist’
4. If tourist quota isn’t available on that particular train then repeat the above steps for a different train number as quota may be available on an earlier or later train
How do I book tourist quota places?
1. Follow the steps above in order to find a train with tourist quota available, then go to any station in India with the following details in order to book:
Origin and destination station 3 digit code
Your passport (you will need to write your passport number on the booking form – some ticket offices ask for a copy of your passport, but most won’t request one)
2. Once you arrive at the station you will need to get a reservation slip from behind the reservation desk (you don’t need to queue to get this – simply slip to the front of the queue and ask to be passed one
3. Fill in the reservation slip with the train details you wish to book and write in capital letters on the top of the slip ‘TOURIST QUOTA’
4. Queue up and pass your slip to the man (or lady) behind the reservation desk in order to book your places
N.B You can book tourist quota places at any station in India, not just from the station you wish to depart. Therefore if you have a set itinerary it makes sense to book all your tourist quota places as soon as you arrive in India. If you plan to book your tickets at Delhi station then beware of the scams that operate there.