What Is PNR Number and How it Working!

Ever wondered how the 10 digit PNR number you get from IRCTC – Indian Railways ticket is generated? Or what do the digits indicate? What is PNR? or What is PNR’s meaning? Or basically why do we even need PNR?

I had the same set of questions. I Googled extensively and tried to find the answers. Learnt many new things about the railway reservation system. Read along to boost your knowledge too…

In the airline and travel industries, a passenger name record (PNR) is a record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that has the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers travelling together. The concept of a PNR was first introduced by airlines that needed to exchange reservation information in case passengers required flights of multiple airlines to reach their destination (‘interlining’).

Talking in the context of Indian Railways, PNR number is a unique pointer to a record in the railway database. The record pointed by PNR contains comprehensive journey details. The details may include:

  • Passenger Details (Name, Age, Sex, Birth Preference)
  • Ticket Details (Train No, Date, From, To, Boarding Station, Reservation Upto, Class, Birth, Quota)
  • Transaction / Payment Details (Transaction ID, Payment Mode, Ticket Charge)

The Story Of 10 Digits

Now that we know about what the PNR is and why it’s used, let’s go further and break down the specifics.

First 3 Digits

They tell us from which PRS the ticket has been booked. (PRS: Passenger Reservation System. Developed by CRIS, PRS is a total networking solution to Indian Railways Passenger Reservation System.)

The PNR numbers’ starting digit does not depend on the PRS from which it has been booked.

It depends upon: Zone of the Train, w.r.t. starting station of the train.

Number Code Zone
1 SCR Secunderabad PRS
2, 3 NR, NCR, NWR, NER New Delhi PRS
4, 5 SR, SWR, SCR Chennai PRS
6, 7 NFR, ECR, ER, ECoR, SER, SECR Calcutta PRS
8, 9 CR, WCR, WR Mumbai PRS

e.g. If a ticket is booked in Rajdhani Express (Mumbai to New Delhi), as the starting station is Mumbai, PNR will start from 8.

The subsequent 2 digits detail specific PRS in the zone.

e.g. If you book from Dadar PRS center, it can be 57 (For an example only). For Ahmedabad, it may be 24.
To sum up, if the first 3 digits are 824, then it says that the zone is either CR, WCR or WR and the PRS center is Ahmedabad.

Last 7 Digits

They are randomly generated numbers using the Rand() function. They represent no information about the ticket or journey. This is done to make the PNR number unique.

One can check status of PNR number of http://www.indianrail.gov.in website. Also at every major stations, PNR stats checking counters are available.

Passanger name record number lasts minimum 9 month as the TDR filed can take maximum of 9 months. It then flushed out from the database.

(Normally) The digits of PNR become meaningless. However, PNR details may not be available for the general public once the journey gets over for privacy and security concerns of passengers.

How To Check Status Of PNR Number

Indian Railways maintains PNR as the single point of transaction. IRCTC updates PNR status as and when required. For instance, when your ticket gets confirmed. You can also check PNR status.

So, next time when you book a ticket, have a glance at the first digit. And yes, you’re a pro Indian Railways traveler now! 🙂

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