What is Waiting List and RAC?

The advance booking tickets for the Indian Trains begin 120 days before the actual date of the journey. Tickets can be booked either online at Passenger Reservation System or online through the IRCTC website. Tickets that are booked online can either be an e-ticket which may be a printout or an SMS or an i-ticket. The PRS tickets on the other hand are couriered to the passengers.

All the issued tickets have their unique 10 digits PNR. PNR stands for Passenger Name Record. You have to quote this PNR in case of any correspondence regarding your ticket or journey. Other details like train number, journey date, travel class, origin, ticket status, and berth details for confirmed tickets, etc. are included in the ticket. A maximum of six passengers can travel using one ticket. But having a ticket doesn’t state that your journey is confirmed. It all depends on the status of the ticket. All the passengers in a ticket are provided with a ticket status like WL, RAC, or confirmed. Let us know what this term means.

Waiting List

If any passenger’s status is indicated by WL followed by a number, it means that the person has a waitlisted status. This can get confirmed only if the passengers who have booked for the same journey before you cancel their ticket. If the status of your ticket is GNWL 4/ WL 3, it means that you have a waiting list of 3. That means, your ticket will get confirmed only if the three passengers who have booked tickets for the same journey before you cancel their tickets. GNWL/AVAILABLE means that your ticket has been confirmed because some of the passengers who have booked tickets before you have canceled their tickets. 

This status also helps you to have an insight into the current ticket cancellation trends for that journey. If a passenger finds his status waitlisted even after the preparation of the chart, then he is not allotted any berth. In case all the passengers in an e-ticket have waitlisted status, after the preparation of the final chart, the ticket automatically gets canceled.

In such situations, the passengers should not board the train. The amount gets refunded back to the user’s account. If at least one passenger has a RAC or confirm status and other passengers have waiting list status for the same ticket, then the ticket does not get canceled. In such cases, those passengers are not allowed to board the train. There are various types of Waiting list. They are:

  • GNWL:  GNWL stands for General Waiting List. Such waitlisted tickets are issued during the time when the passenger begins his/her journey at the originating station of a route or some other stations close to the originating station. This is the most common type of waiting list which has got the highest chances of confirmation.
  • RLWL: The full form of RLWL is the Remote Location Waiting List. It means that the ticket is issued for the intermediate stations between the originating and terminating stations. This is because these are the most important towns or cities on that particular route. Such type of tickets is given a separate priority. Their confirmations depend on the cancellations of a destination confirmed ticket. The stations prepare their chart at least two to three hours before the actual time of departure of the train. However such tickets have fewer chances of confirmation.
  • PQWL: it stands for Pooled Quota Waiting List. This waiting list is shared by many small stations. This quota originates from the originating station of a route. There is only one Pooled Quota available for the entire run. It is allotted for the passengers who travel from the originating station to a station before the terminating station. It is also allotted for those traveling from an intermediate station to the terminating station or between two intermediate stations.
  • RLGN: RLGN stands for Remote Location General Waiting List. This quota is issued when a passenger books a ticket where the Waiting List quota is RLWL. In such cases, after booking the tickets, RLWL gets named as RLGN.
  • RSWL: It stands for Roadside Station Waiting List. It is allotted to the passenger when berths or seats are booked by the originating station to the roadside station. The distance restrictions may not apply in such cases. However, there are very less chances of confirmation for this waiting list.
  • RQWL: If you need to book a ticket from an intermediate station to another intermediate station and if the ticket is not covered by any general quota, remote location quota, or pooled quota, then the request for such tickets may go into the Request Waiting List (RQWL).
  • TQWL: For the tatkal tickets, the waiting list that was issued used to be CKWL. The Indian railways have changed CKWL to TQWL in December 2016. In case the tatkal ticket goes up, it gets confirmed directly without going through RAC status, unlike GNWL. At the time of preparation of chart, the general waiting list is preferred over the tatkal waiting list. This means tatkal waitlisted tickets are less likely to get confirmed.


RAC stands for Reservation against Cancellation. If a passenger is issued an RAC ticket, then its most likely that his ticket will get confirmed at the time of preparation of the chart and he will get a berth. If the status of the ticket remains RAC even after the preparation of the chart, then the passenger is allotted a half berth. That means two persons who have RAC ticket status are allotted only one side lower berth. The TTE is obligated to allow berths that get canceled after the preparation of the chart to these RAC passengers.

Which one is better, WL or RAC?

WL stands for the Waiting list and RAC stands for Reservation against Cancellation. The main difference between RAC and WL is that RAC tickets have chances to get converted into a confirmed ticket. You can get a full seat. In most of the cases, you get a half berth. However having a WL ticket means, you will not get a confirmed seat.

If you have a WL ticket which you have booked online, you cannot travel using it because it gets canceled automatically unless your ticket has been upgraded to RAC or confirmed. So which is better? It totally depends on you and the distance of the journey. If the distance is short and you have a RAC ticket, you can go for it. But if the distance is too long, it is up to you. However, it is better to go on a confirmed ticket unless it is too urgent.

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