Getting a confirmed railway ticket this Diwali appears next to impossible. The seat status for trains to New Delhi, Patna, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal and Kolkata is either unavailable or has a long Waiting List (WL). The WL number for the two days before Diwali (which falls on November 3) has crossed the 1,000 mark.

Hundreds of students from city colleges and employees working with various companies are planning to visit their hometowns for the festival. However just within a few days after the bookings opened on September 1 and 2, two months prior to the date of journey, the trains were full.

For November 1 and 2, the tickets for all four Pune to Delhi trains, Goa Express, Pune-Nizamuddin Link Express, Sampark Kranti and Jhelum Express, are unavailable. Those who have failed to book the tickets have only two options: either to book a tatkal ticket or wait till the railways announces a special train.

The waiting list in Pune-Patna Express, for October 1 has touched 1,250 for sleeper class and 450 for AC III. For October 31, it is 743 for sleeper and 598 for AC III tier. The situation is worse for Pune-Gorakhpur Express where no tickets are available from the journey from last week of October to the first week of November. It is not clear as to how booking for certain trains was closed after the booking reached a certain waiting count, while for other trains, especially to Bihar, booking was still on despite the waiting count crossing 1,000.

Last week, in a press meet Divisional Commercial Manager Alok Badkul had said that waiting number for no train can cross the 700 mark.

Central Railway commercial department officials said deciding the length of the waiting list by fixing the ‘unavailability” point is the prerogative of eacg division. “Oftenthe intention of the officials while allowing a long waiting list, is to underline the need for special trains on certain routes,” said an official.