Indian Railways is an enterprise owned by the state and run by the Indian government through the Ministry of Railways. Advanced booking is done in India days before the said journey. Actually, ticket sales are open 120 days before the travel.
One can book the tickets offline at the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) or online by using IRCTC.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Cooperation (IRCTC) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that helps you check, reserve, and confirm ticket availability online through their website. The tickets here you will find have a certain status on them. This will either be RLWL or WL.
So, therefore, this brings us the question, “What are RLWL and WL, and what are the differences”?
WL means “Waiting List.” The train has a fixed number of available seats and if at the time of your booking there are available seats, then your ticket is instantly confirmed. So, therefore, once you have booked your ticket online in IRCTC, your request for a seat on the train can be received but not confirmed depending on the availability of the seats. If there are no more available seats, your ticket will be WL. The confirmation then will depend on the cancellation of a confirmed ticket.
So when your ticket has WL on it, it means that your ticket is waiting to be confirmed, and you will be given first priority in case any passengers cancel their already confirmed tickets.
A final chart will be posted usually four hours before departure time. If there are no cancellations of confirmed tickets and your ticket is still waitlisted, then it will be cancelled and you cannot board the train. Boarding the train with a WL ticket will get you a fine of a certain amount. However, you will be refunded the whole amount if your ticket is cancelled.
In case confirmed passengers cancel their tickets, your Waiting List status moves to Reserved Against Cancellation (RAC). When the chart is put up and your ticket is RAC, then you can board the train. Further cancellations before departure time will confirm your RAC ticket to full berth. This means that you are now fully booked on the train.
RLWL stands for “Remote Location Waiting List.” It is a type of waiting list ticket. Most trains have remote locations that have important stations where they stop and pick up more passengers en route. Each train will have a number of reserved seats for these locations. However, the seats are few.
Just to give an example, if you have booked a ticket from point B to C on a train that moves from point A to D through point B and C, but there weren’t any available seats on the train, the confirmation of your ticket will depend on the cancellation of a confirmed passenger from point B to C. In this instance, you have to keep checking on the status of your booking online before getting on the train.
Also, a final chart is put up two to three hours before the time the train is set to depart. Chances of getting an RLWL ticket confirmed, however, are very slim because the number of RLWL tickets on the train are few as compared to the other destination tickets.
The main difference between the two is mainly the chance of getting confirmation for either. Chances will be higher if you get on the WL rather than when you get an RLWL ticket, because the majority of passengers on the train do not have Reserved Location tickets; hence, cancellations will be few.