Breaking Down The PNR Number of Indian Railways: What, How, Why?

April 8, 2015

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…

The PNR – Passenger Name Record: It’s Meaning and Status In Journey

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 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! 🙂

Enjoyed reading? Have more information? Share your thoughts in the comments. Spread this post to illuminate others..


Read on..

  1. Reply

    Murthy RN

    March 13, 2018

    Dear Darpan,

    You have made a very good attempt to give information to people curious to know as to how the PNR number is generated.
    I feel it is not correct presumption that the second and third digit indicate the PRS Centre, as i found the number (2nd and 3rd digits) varying too much in tickets issued from the same counter of a PRS Centre.
    I just making it clear, and the idea is not to find fault.
    Please continue to good work.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 14, 2018

      Hello Mr Murthy,

      Thank you very much for the information.

      I will update the post with your observations added.

  2. Reply


    February 15, 2018

    12378 padatik express date of journey 14/02/2018 at NJP name Raju.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      February 17, 2018

      Sorry, didn’t get you.

  3. Reply

    Manohar Patel

    October 20, 2017

    Very useful information Thxs

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      October 21, 2017

      Happy to help!

  4. Reply


    May 23, 2017

    Nice Information, very useful. Should be share to more people so everybody will know about it

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      May 23, 2017

      Thanks a bunch Sanil. Happy to hear that 🙂

  5. Reply


    April 30, 2017

    On the ticket it should be printed on data’s are one line that means no view of any details of,pls forward of my ticket random number because of modification of ticket..
    Pnr no :4750619783

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      May 9, 2017


      I couldn’t understand your question about PNR number. Would you please mind to rephrase your question?

  6. Reply

    Jitendra Kumar Gupta

    April 26, 2017

    My pnr no. 2710730613 passenger name details pls 2 name match nahi Kar rahe he pls help me

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      May 9, 2017

      Hello Jitendra,

      This article is about what is PNR number and how it is generated. I can’t help you with your query.

  7. Reply

    Sanju Rana

    January 8, 2017

    how to make reservation from bhuj city to amritsar

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      May 9, 2017

      Hello Sanju, thanks for your query about reservation.

      You can do the reservation via visiting IRCTC website:

  8. Reply


    November 10, 2016

    I have booked a ticket from the rly counter . The PNR No cited in it is not legible. I sit possible to get the confirmatioin through the ticket no cited in the ticket

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      November 12, 2016

      I’m no expert at this, but I think without PNR number you’ll not be able to trace.

  9. Reply

    Akhil Kumar Saxena

    October 16, 2016

    Thanks Darpan

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      October 17, 2016

      You’re welcome!

  10. Reply

    Satish Khemani

    September 26, 2016

    Please let me know when can I know that my ticket is confirm or not?
    I have booked ticket and having PNR number but If I did’t get cornfirm ticket then I have to book from bus, so when I will know about confirming so that I can plan further jurney.
    FYI please, there is showing “W/L 1,PQWL” as PNR status, and also I want to know that will I get SMS from Railway for confirming ticket.

  11. Reply


    September 10, 2016

    can i guess the pnr no. by knowing the seat and coach details

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      September 17, 2016

      No, I don’t think so.

  12. Reply

    K Govind Raj

    August 16, 2016

    Thanks for clearing my doubt/s.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      August 17, 2016

      Glad to help you!

  13. Reply


    July 7, 2016

    Thanks for such nice information.
    Keep updating more on Indian Railway.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      July 7, 2016

      Thank you Manas! 🙂

  14. Reply

    October 14, 2015

    Your way of explaining the whole thing in this article
    is really pleasant, every one be able to easily know it, Thanks a lot.

  15. Reply

    Bhavya Gandhi

    April 8, 2015

    Wow !! Amazing to know about this hidden fact of PNR . Keep unlocking the secrets !!


Darpan Dodiya
Hyderabad, IN

Hi! I'm Darpan. 23 yr old Software Engineer. This is my personal blog to share my interests in travelling, photography, programming and life. Glad to see you here, have a look around the website, you'll enjoy. Drop a comment or reach out to me or get connected via links below. Have a good day! :)

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