IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) manages most of the services related to Indian Railways. It also offers the option for the online booking of train tickets.
According to their official website, the advanced booking for train tickets open 120 before days of journey and passengers are assigned a specific ticket status which can be one of the following:
- Waiting List (WL)
- Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC)
Each train has some specific seats which are meant for RAC listed passengers. The RAC status tickets guarantee the passengers a seat in the train, but not a berth for sleeping. So if you are a passenger with a RAC status, it means that you can enter the train and occupy your seat on the train.
When RAC status is filled out then you are assigned a waitlist status number.
So, RAC basically means that you will get a seat on the train but you will have to share it with someone else. There are chances that your RAC ticket may be converted into a confirmed in case if a person who already had confirmed ticket cancels it.
Waiting List or WL Ticket means that the passenger is on the waiting list and will not get a seat in the train.
A Waiting List passenger is not allowed to travel in a reserved train. However, in unreserved coaches which are attached along, they can travel in those.
For passengers who have their ticket status market as WL followed by a number, it means that the passenger is on the waiting list and his/her ticket can get confirmed if the passengers who have already booked their tickets for the same journey cancel their tickets.