Tired of logging into the heavy IRCTC to book your train tickets? Indian Railways has heard your plea and it now introduces ticket booking via your mobile. Train reservation via mobile is available at present too, but with third party applications like Ngpay. Now the application is officially from Indian Railways and with better features.
Indian Railways had long aimed at having their own e-tail site for ticket booking to counter IRCTC. First it started allowing e-ticket and i-ticket reservation through Indian Railways, and now, it added a mobile app too.
What is best with the mobile reservation is that the ticket confirmation comes to you mobile as an SMS (called as Mobile Reservation Message or MRM), which is enough to show to a TC (m-ticket), if asked for during the journey. In other words, you don’t have to take any print out of your e-ticket and carry it with you (Update: Now even with e-ticket, you will get an SMS and is enough as a proof of your booking).
It is not know yet as to what mobiles the app will support but one can guess that it will be a Java based app (at least initially) supporting most Nokia and Indian made handsets.
Since the service is new, it may not handle large number of reservations initially and hence the mobile reservation will only be available from 12.30am (mid-night) to 11.30 am (morning). Going forward, if the response is good, this will be expanded to work 24×7.
Also see: IRCTC Tatkal booking tips
Update: The app has been launched and its not a dedicated one by IRCTC but just one of the many services that Ngpay (you can get it from app store or Google Play store for Android phones) provides. You can also book tickets from apps of other travel apps such as Cleartrip but you still need to enter your IRCTC login details to proceed with booking.
Apart from the app, IRCTC has also launched a mobile version of its website, for the benefit of smartphone owners.