Check PNR Status – 3 Steps To Find Out (Explained in Detail)


Passenger Name Record (PNR)


It is a 10-digit unique number that is printed on the ticket. This PNR number has all the information, like the passenger information and itinerary for a passenger or a group of passengers, linked to it and kept as a record in the database of a CRS i.e. a computer reservation system. It helps you to check PNR status.

What Does PNR Status Signify?

PNR status is the actual status of your ticket. It tells you the status of your booking. It shows you whether your railway ticket is confirmed, reserved or on the waiting list.

Why And When You Should Know Your PNR Status?

Indian Railways allow you to book your ticket 120 days in advance. Not that we book our ticket that early but when you book a ticket, say a month or a week ago, you may find yourself on the waiting list. It is very common. You can then use the unique number i.e PNR to check the current status of your booking.

You can check this online easily. Just enter your 10-digit PNR number on IRCTC PNR Enquiry and you will see your current booking status.

What Does This Unique PNR Number Actually Mean?

PNR tells the current status of booking on the Waiting List (WL) or RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation). If you buy such a ticket, you will be given a unique 10-digit PNR number.

Ways To Check PNR Status

There are three ways with which you can check PNR status:

  1. Online through IRCTC website
  2. Using SMS service
  3. Through smartphone app

Check PNR status online through IRCTC website:

This is the easiest way to check PNR status. Just go to IRCTC PNR Enquiry and enter your 10-digit PNR number and click submit. Your current booking status would be displayed on the page along with all the other details including personal information which you entered in the form while booking the ticket.

Using SMS service to check PNR status:

You can use SMS service to check PNR status by sending an SMS to any one of the following numbers in the given format:

  1. Send the 10-digit unique PNR number to 139
  2. Send the 10-digit unique PNR number to 5676747

Note: You just have to type your 10-digit PNR number and click send. There are no special characters that you need to type in.

Using A Smartphone App to check PNR status:

There are a lot of apps now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store that allow you to check the current booking status by entering the PNR number. IRCTC Rail Connect is the official app, other than that there is Quick Book, Indian Railway IRCTC etc that will allow you to check PNR status.

Types Of Reservations And PNR Status

WL (Waiting List) and RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation)

When all the available seats are sold out on a train, then RAC’s are released for reservations. When RAC’s are sold then the Waiting List starts. Many confirmed tickets are canceled on a regular basis for many reasons. When these tickets are canceled, then RAC ticket holder’s are given the seat according to priority followed by the ones on the Waiting List.

When the final chart is prepared before a few hours of actual departure of the train, remaining seats from different quota are then given to RACs and Waiting List ticket holders according to priority.

Railway Tickets are sold in the following order:

  1. Available 02
  2. Available 01
  3. RAC 01
  4. RAC 02
  5. RAC 03
  6. RAC 04
  7. WL 01
  8. WL 02

Understand The Numbers And Indicators That Are Printed On Your Ticket

There are two numbers on your ticket. These numbers tell you the position where you joined the waitlist and your current position. Here is an example,

If you are booking a ticket online and you find that the class/seat you want to travel on the desired date has a waitlist WL 5, but you end up getting a ticket saying WL 5/WL 2. This means that when you started the booking process, you were 5th on the Waitlist but by the time you were done booking you moved up to be 2nd on the Waitlist. This happens due to cancellations that take place simultaneously. The first number, i.e WL 5 in this case, will stay as it is, while the other will change indication your current position.

Your railway reservation could look like:

  • WL 15/WL 8 (this is your starting position)
  • WL 15/WL 3
  • WL 15/RAC 3
  • WL 15/RAC 2
  • WL 15/RAC 1
  • WL 15/CNF

You cannot board the train with a Waitlist ticket.

WL 15/RAC 3 = RAC ticket allows you to board the train, but you may end up on a seat instead of a berth.

WL 15/CNF = Confirmed ticket means that you got a seat successfully.


If your ticket is on a waiting list and the trains final chart is prepared and the train is ready for departure, then the cost of fare will be refunded to your account directly.

There are many cancellations at the last minute, so there is a very good chance that you will get a confirmed/RAC ticket. So stick to your ticket if you really want to take that train.

I love to travel and I prefer trains for the most part as it is an inexpensive way to travel along our huge country. There are lots of problems that I go through and I share my experience with others to keep them well informed.

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