IRCTC or Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation provides a special facility that enables users to opt for alternative trains in case their primary tickets do not get confirmed. Called Vikalp, this scheme is available for passengers of all train types and classes, and is applicable for waiting list - or wait-listed - passengers irrespective of booking quota and concession, according to IRCTC's website. Under the Vikalp scheme, a user gets to opt for a maximum of seven alternative trains, according to IRCTC, which is the ticketing arm of the Indian Railways. However, IRCTC noted that Vikalp does not mean that confirmed berth will be provided to passengers in alternate train. It is subject to train and berth availability.
Here are some other important details about IRCTC's Vikalp scheme:
IRCTC ticket booking: Who can opt for Vikalp scheme
The Vikalp scheme is applicable for those holding train ticket bookings with a “waiting” status. Individuals remaining fully wait-listed after charting are considered for allotment in the alternative trains opted by them.
Wait-listed passengers eligible for transfer to an alternative train under the Vikalp scheme should check their PNR or passenger name record status after charting. In rare situations, passengers accommodated in alternative trains might get dropped or re-allotted due to last minute change at the time of chart preparation. Such passengers should check PNR status also after preparation of charts for final status, according to the IRCTC website.
(Also read: IRCTC summer special Northern Railway trains)
IRCTC booking: Train timings for alternative trains under Vikalp
Under the IRCTC Vikalp scheme, the transfer to an alternative train - opted by the user - can be for a departure between 30 minutes and 72 hours from the scheduled departure of the original train, according to the Railways arm.
IRCTC booking rules for Vikalp scheme
All passengers booked in a PNR are transferred to an alternative train in the same class, according to IRCTC. That means all passengers with one PNR booking are required to exercise the transfer to an alternative train together. Also, once allotted an alternative train, the passengers are not allowed to board the original train.
Passengers once provided accommodation in an alternative train are treated as normal passengers in that train and are eligible for upgradation as per regular IRCTC rules.
No extra charges are levied from the passenger in case of transfer to an alternative train under the Vikalp facility. A passenger transferred to an alternative train under the Vikalp facility is treated as a "confirmed" passenger, and cancellation rules apply accordingly. Once confirmed in an alternative train, the cancellation charges are applicable as per the berth/train status in alternative train, according to the IRCTC website.
After the allotment of an alternative train to the passengers on a PNR, a claim for a refund - in case the journey is not taken - can be made by filing a TDR (ticket deposit receipt) request.