After a few exhilarating weeks of development and testing, all of us at Cleartrip are thrilled to announce the launch of online train bookings in partnership with IRCTC. Over 17 million passengers travel daily by train, and Cleartrip is proud to be India’s first online travel agency to offer a new way to book Indian Railways trains online.
The government-owned Indian Railways boasts one of the largest and most trafficked railroad networks in the world–over 18,000 trains operate daily, plying across over 60,000 kilometres of railroad tracks and over 6,800 railway stations.
Cleartrip has always been a technology-driven company and creating a booking system to handle the scale and complexity of the Indian Railways has been a big and exciting technical challenge. There’s a vast amount of data to be computed, stored and queried–over two million unique fares across seven hundred thousand unique routes. We wanted a system that kept things simple, while delivering search results in under a second–and we’ve reinvented the wheel to create that system.
On the surface, we’ve tried to provide a clean and simple interface to ease the process of searching and booking rail. Under the hood, we’ve had to engineer a highly sophisticated system to enable speed and simplicity for railway bookings.
Rather than emulating existing online sites, Cleartrip started from scratch by focusing completely on creating the easiest method for people to purchase railway tickets online. Instead of having to check things separately, a single search provides users with train fares, routes and schedules simultaneously. Cleartrip displays multiple stations from a city instead of forcing users to search for specific stations; this feature lets users select the stations most convenient to them, while comparing fares from other stations in the city.
In addition, users can instantly compare fares from multiple classes such as AC 2-Tier and AC 3-Tier, letting them upgrade to a higher class of travel if they choose. Detailed information is provided for each train including arrival and departure times, number of stops and the train’s route. A wide variety of payment options are supported while booking, including credit cards, debit cards and net-banking. All railway bookings made on Cleartrip are permanently stored in each user’s account, allowing registered users to access their itineraries and e-tickets online; users can also cancel their bookings online at any time.
We’re thrilled to be offering railway bookings to all of our users.