Railway Seat Allocation Algorithm
UIC Vlogs/YouTube

Have you ever wondered while booking your train ticket – What berth will I get? Why can I not choose my own berth? What if I get a bad allotment? Even if you have these questions and queries, IRCTC does not allow you to choose your own train berth. Instead, IRCTC follows a strict algorithm to allot a berth/seat and also tries to respect your preferences if possible.

There are many reasons why IRCTC does not let you choose your train berth while making a booking.


Let us look into and understand why IRCTC restricts our choice while booking a ticket:

1. To maintain train stability

Special reservations are kept for pregnant women, the elderly, the RAC quota, and the HO quota, as they are allotted the lower berths. Besides that, the middle coaches and lower berths are the first to be filled as by filling the lower berths first, the center of gravity of the train is lowered.

The train becomes more stable and can take sharp turns at a much higher speed. The chances of derailment or other such accidents are reduced too.

Rajdhani Express
Odisha Bytes

2. To uniformly distribute passengers in the coaches

If passengers would be given the choice of berth, then there can be chances of the irregular distribution of passengers throughout the train. Let us take an example of a 10-coach train to understand this case. All the coaches are similar in this example.


Suppose the first 4 coaches are tightly packed whereas the later coaches are sparsely populated. For a train with such distribution, later coaches with light passenger density are more likely to derail at sharp turns. So, to prevent such an accident, passengers are uniformly distributed in the coaches. If passengers are not uniformly distributed, the train can start vibrating viciously after a certain speed.

IRCTC rules

3. Passenger profiling plays a huge role

Passengers are profiled according to their age, sex, booking condition, and physical condition. Usually, elderly passengers and pregnant women are given lower berths. So, even if you have booked the train ticket quite early, you might not get a lower berth.

Additionally, passengers who get RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) are given the lower and side lower berths. In most cases, two people have to share 1 seat for RAC reservations. Officials from Indian Railways Headquarters and other government officials are usually given the lower berth.

lower berths for senior citizens and pregnant women

4. To prevent monetary misuse

Should passengers be given the choice to select their berth, there can be chances of misuse of that freedom. Many brokers and touts would be selling berths for an unreasonable price when the demand is high. As such, it would hurt to pay such exorbitant prices for a berth. Touts and brokers would go unchecked and there would be economic problems all over the country.


Train Berths are allotted after passenger profiling
Business Standard

These are the main reasons why you cannot choose your preferred berth on a train. IRCTC however allows you to mention your preferences so that you can be allotted a berth accordingly if possible.

Also read: How To Avoid Booking Seats Near Toilet In Indian Railways


Tuhin Adak
A tech geek from NIT Warangal. I am currently pursuing my B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering. I like to read about new topis from various fields as I find it interesting.