FINNISH national operator VR began trials with e-ticketing on May 11. Customers can make a booking on the internet and then print off a ticket, or alternatively they can opt to receive an e-mail or text message confirming the booking.

Tickets can be purchased between eight weeks and one hour before departure, with payment by credit card or a range of on-line banking services. Text message tickets can only be used by individual passengers making single journeys without changing trains, and passengers must carry a form of identification. More complex trips still require the journey confirmation to be printed. Once confirmation is received the e-tickets cannot be changed or cancelled, but they can transferred to another passenger if the person making the booking is subsequently unable to travel.

It will remain possible to collect tickets ordered on-line from station ticket offices or vending machines, and to have tickets sent in advance by post.

H Indian Railways plans to launch e-ticketing later this year, following a successful pilot programme in Delhi. In addition, the Tatkal reservation system used for around 100 train services is to be rolled out across the country.