The Story Behind the PNR Number on Your Ticket

You wish to visit your hometown, and with the wide range of web facilities available; train bookings are just a mouse click away. However, the IRCTC website asks for the PNR number on the top left corner of your ticket whenever you log on to their website after the booking has been done. Once this number has been entered, you can easily check PNR status that will give you complete information about your bookings and the reservations allotted to you.

About PNR and its characteristics:

  • PNR stands for Passenger Name Record. The 10-digit number is used as a unique pointer to a secure database in the railway system and contains detailed information about passengers and their itineraries. It was first introduced by airlines to share information regarding passengers, in case multiple flights were involved in reaching from source to destination.
  • The PNR number stores important details such as a passenger’s name, age, sex, and berth preference.
  • The ticket details such as the train no, the boarding station, reservation details, the two locations of commute, class, berth allotted, and quota.
  • The transaction details, such as the transaction ID, mode of payment, and ticket charges are also stored, which are pointed by the PNR number.
  • The record lasts for minimum nine months, as the TDR filed takes a maximum time of 9 months. PNR details are not revealed to the public for security and privacy concerns of passengers.
  • PNR is used as a single point of transaction, and it is regularly updated. These updates can be checked through websites and mobile apps, especially on instances where ticket inquiries and confirmations are required.

Breaking down ten digits

  • First three digits- The details of the passenger are stored in the Passenger Reservation System (PSR). PSR is a brainchild of the CRIS, and it is the complete networking solution to the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation System. The first three digits inform the customer of which PRS the ticket has been booked.
  • However, it does not depend upon the PRS from which the ticket is booked; it depends upon the zone of the train. It also depends upon the boarding station. For example, the code for SCR is 1, and it points towards the Secunderabad PRS. The codes 2 and 3 are for NR, NCR, NWR, and NER, which points towards the New Delhi PRS. These codes end at 9.
  • The next two digits specify the PRS of that zone. For example, if tickets are booked for the Rajdhani Express from Mumbai, the code will begin with 8. If it has been reserved using the Dadar PRS, the next two digits will be 57, and to sum it up, the first three digits will be 857, which indicates WR or CR and the PRS centre as Dadar.
  • The next seven digits- These digits are generated using Rand () function, to make the PNR no. unique. They give no details about the ticket or journey.

The PNR number system is inspired by the system used by airlines to keep a passenger database. The passenger details are also used to notify them of further discounts, offers, and warnings based on previous bookings.

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