Booking trains for the last trip was a breeze (http://big-cats-and-holy-ghats.winchcombe.org/post/Booking-Trains.aspx).
All you had to do was to figure where you wanted to go; use erail.in to check on train availability; book the train using www.irctc.co.in. The only tricky part was that if you had an international credit card you had to select the Axis payment gateway.
I decided to choose the latter option and just as I was booking the flights an advert for British Airways’ AmEx card appeared on the screen. The forms were filled in and moments later came the decision: we’re sorry but an instant decision cannot be made, we’ll contact you within 14 days (or something). Fourteen days came and went and nothing, then the letter arrived stating that I’d need to send a copy of my passport/birth-certificate contersigned by a Financial Director or Judge or Doctor. Well thanks, AmEx, I don’t know (m)any of those. I’d also have to send in original copies of some utility bills, which also wasn’t going to happen: who gets originals these days? Not me!
Thinking cleartrip.com was my best option I had a look at how to use it, getting ready for later this month when I need to start booking trains.
And then some wonderful words were put in IndiaMike by a new member bluemax: An international card worked!!!.
What great news this was, as was that of the people that followed to confirmed that IRCTC now accepts international credit cards.
Thanks IRCTC for sorting this out.
American Express: thanks for absolutely nothing. It’s no wonder you’re going down the pan fast, anyone with a card can’t use it in many places and now it seems that someone with an impeccable credit rating can’t even get a card.