IRCTC is launching a new scheme for people holding wait-listed train tickets. There are often situations where one train will be overbooked with a long wait-list while another train traveling the same route a little later is nearly empty. The new scheme means that if you have a wait-listed ticket that doesn’t clear, you automatically have the option of taking the next available train on the same ticket without paying anything extra. You can also be upgraded or moved to another class without any extra cost under this scheme. So in theory, at least, any ticket can be used to travel in the premium trains, including Shatabdi and Rajdhani. This hasn’t been possible in the past.

This is only for tickets booked online via the IRCTC website, not ones purchased over the counter. Once the chart is prepared, if you are still wait-listed, you will get an SMS informing you of the Vikalp option, including your new train, with the coach and berth numbers. You have the option to chose the Vikalp option that is offered or cancel the existing ticket.

If you opt for the Vikalp option, you can upgrade to another higher class in the new train by paying the difference in cost. For instance, if you had an AC3 ticket but under Vikalp, you got a sleeper class berth, you would pay the difference to upgrade to AC3 in the new train if a berth was available, which doesn’t actually make much sense to me. That’s the one drawback I can see.

If you accept Vikalp and then cancel, the cancellation will be treated as a confirmed ticket. The refund won’t be calculated  on the basis of the original wait-listed ticket.

From April 1st, Vikalp will be available nationwide, although they have been doing this on a pilot basis on certain routes since November.

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