Arrive at least 20-30 minutes early for your train to allow plenty of time to get to it. A coolie (the Hindi name for railway porters) is useful not only to carry your bags, but also to get you to the right car on the right train. If you get to the station only a few minutes before your train, he can keep you from missing it. If you are traveling in unreserved class, a good coolie can wriggle through the crowd and (usually) get you a seat while you follow comfortably behind. This is extremely helpful because many people traveling in unreserved class don't get seats, and they may end up sitting on the floor or even standing the whole way.
Reservation lists for each long-distance train are posted on the notice board at each station 2-4 hours before departure, showing the name, age and sex of each passenger along with the wadi and berth numbers. If your reservation is not confirmed, your ticket will have "W /L's and a number, which indicates your position on the waiting list. To find out whether your reservation is confirmed, call the railway enquiry number. The reservation list will also be posted on each coach of the train.
The departure time printed on the ticket is not absolute. the correct departure time on the day of the journey (at the station or through the railway enquiry number printed on your ticket). Tickets are printed up to 60 days in advance, so schedules can change; and, of course, the train may simply be late, sometimes by as much as 18-20 hours if there has been a serious accident.