Recently I had to book tatkal tickets on train for my parents and I surprised my parents as well as myself on successful booking of the ticket. was able to book it ! Yes I had to struggle, IRCTC becomes slow around 10:00 a.m when tatkal reservations opens, had incomplete information(didn’t have Details of Proof of Identity of my father), my netbanking/credit-card transactions failed, but finally at 10:50 a.m on my fourth attempt I succeeded! What made me try and try again was that I knew from non IRCTC site, 90di.com, how many tickets are available so I knew there was a chance I can get it. This article explains about the Tatkal Reservation Scheme of Railways, what ground work one should do(get passenger details ready, getting train preferences, autofill feature) so as to increase the chances of booking the Tatkal tickets.
Overview of Indian Railways Tatkal Reservation Scheme
Tatkal is a Hindi word meaning At once or immediately. Tatkal reservation scheme is offered by Indian Railways to meet the urgent requirement of the passengers who plan their journey at short notice. Tatkal reservation facility has been provided in Sleeper Class, Air-conditioned Chair Class, 3-AC & 2-AC classes in almost all Mail/Express trains including special trains. These tickets can be booked even on the internet. There is no separate Tatkal train defined, some seats on regular trains are marked for Tatkal reservation. Non-utilised Tatkal tickets are released to wait-listed passengers. From Indian Railways webpage Tatkal scheme
- Tatkal Booking starts one day in advance excluding the day of journey e.g. for a journey on 3rd, bookings would open on 2nd. However, the day of journey is defined as the day of chart preparation. So if the train starts e.g. on 3rd, and reaches the desired boarding station on 4th, the Tatkal booking will start on 2nd and not 3rd.
- Tatkal booking for all the trains, opens at 10 am, on the previous day of journey.(From July 10, 2012).
- Tatkal bookings are closed for agents for initial two hours. No authorised agents, including agents of IRCTC and others, will be allowed to book tatkal tickets from 10 am to 12 pm.On ticket counter there is a separate line for Tatkal ticket booking from 10 to 10.30 AM.
- REFUNDS – No refund will be granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets/duplicate tatkal ticket.
- It will be possible to book a maximum of only four passengers per PNR for Tatkal tickets.Only two ticket are possible in a single day on a single IP address.(need to verify this)
- Tatkal Charges have been fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10% of basic fare for second class and 30% of basic fare for all other classes subject to minimum and maximum charges. Check Indian Railways webpage Tatkal scheme for details.
- No discount for Senior Citizens.
- Proof of identity is required to be produced by the passenger seeking reservation under Tatkal Scheme, at the time of booking as well as during the journey. The details of the identity proof are indicated on the reserved tickets as well on the reservation chart.
- During the journey, the passenger, whose identity card number has been indicated on the ticket, will have to produce original proof of identity indicated on the ticket, failing which all the passengers booked on the ticket shall be treated as traveling without ticket and charged accordingly.
- If the passenger whose identity card number is indicated on the ticket is not traveling, all other passengers booked on that ticket, if found traveling in train, will be treated as traveling without ticket and charged accordingly.
- Id Proof can be one of the following :
- 1.Voter Photo identity card issued by Election Commision of India,
- 3.PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department.
- 4.Driving Licence issued by RTO.
- 5.Photo identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government.
- 6.Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students.
- 7.Nationalized Bank Passbok with photograph.
- 8.Credit cards issued by banks with laminated photograph.
- 9.Unique Identification Card “Aadhaar”.
- 10.Photo identity cards having serial number issued by Public Sector Undertaking of State/Central Government, District Administration, Municipal bodies and Penchant Administration.
IRCTC is the leading travel e-commerce site in the country with the highest transaction share in the travel category. One out of five online users in India visits the Indian Railways site, with almost 12 million unique visitors monthly and majority of the traffic is seen between 10 am to 12 pm. About 11.57 lakh berths and seats are booked a day, out of which tatkal accounts for 1.71 lakh seats and berths on 2677 trains. Tatkal booking yielded a revenue of Rs. 847 crore during 2011-12.(Ref: Hindu). IRCTC receives a lot of flak for its slow, sluggish performance,server inability, low bandwidth. Currently, it is said to sell about 40-45,000 Tatkal railway tickets between 10 am and 11 am (usually its 10 and 11, because all tickets are sold in one hour – in fact, 45 mins), which it plans to spruce up to 60-65,000 with the help of its new Rs. 10 crore drive for better, upgraded servers to 64GB RAM.
Get the Details Ready
The IRCTC website is jam packed and quite slow during Tatkal booking as there are many people trying to log on to IRCTC website. Doing your ground work ,being prepared with all the details increase your chances.
Get the passenger name, age, food preferences and Identity Proof detail. As mentioned earlier Proof of identity is required to be produced by the passenger seeking reservation under Tatkal Scheme, at the time of booking as well as during the journey. I had made train reservations earlier on IRCTC but I was not aware that Proof of Identity is required for Tatklal at time of booking. This made me call my parents at and costed me an unsuccessful attempt!
Mode of Payment details :
IRCTC allows you to pay through Credit Cards,ATM cum Debit Card,Payment through Net/Mobile Banking facility,Payment through Cash Cards etc. Details of Banks/cards supported with transaction charges can be found at IRCTC webpage IRCTC’s Payment Detail. Please be ready with passwords or detail of your chosen method of payment.
Details about Train and number of Tatkal seats available:
Using a user friendly, fast, non IRCTC website, 90di.com I was able to get the details about train and Number of tatkal tickets without any log-in information as shown in image below.
I use 90di.com often to find information about trains but was not aware of the tatkal feature. I was pleasantly surprised to find this information. Using it I was able to discuss with my parents on their preference of train and got their preferences in priority order. As I knew that there are reasonable number of tickets available I kept trying and I was successful in booking tatkal ticket in my 4th attempt.
While searching on net I found that makemytrip also provides tatkal information but when I tried using it I had to register so gave up. (If you have tried it and used it please share your experience with us)
Synchronizing my watch with IRCTC Server
How fast or slow is my watch/computer time with respect to IRCTC. 10 a.m on IRCTC server can be found from
- Logging in to IRCTC account before and checking time as shown in image below.
- By going to Train schedule of IndianRailGov.in,
- Enter any detail as the webpage says : To get the train schedule for Himachal Express i.e. Train No. 14553 — either enter himachal or 145 enter
- Click on “Get Schedule”.
- Scroll down on the lower right side will show you the time at IRCTC server as shown in picture below
Using AutoFill Feature for passenger details
Handy tech tool called Autofill that can be used on Firefox as well as Chrome. Using the autofill add-on or extension, you need to visit IRCTC earlier, say, about half an hour or so before the Tatkal bookings begin. Just go to the usual ticket booking page and fill in your details. Simply follow the booking procedure till you reach the payment gateway and then go no further. The add-ons will ensure that the browser remembers these details and you will not have to spend a lot of time typing them while booking the Tatkal ticket
From labnol Improve your Chances of Getting a Train Ticket on the IRCTC Website came to know of Magic Autofill tool. It’s a simple online tool that will fill the passenger details form on the IRCTC website with the click of a button thus giving you an upper hand. Steps to follow :
- Go to ctrlq.org/irctc around ten minutes prior to the opening of the booking window and complete the form – its an almost exact replica of the form that’s available on the Indian railways website.
- Once you’ve filled the passenger details, hit I’m Feeling Lucky and the tool will generate a Magic Autofill button that you need to drag to your bookmarks toolbar.
- Now when you on the Indian Railways website to book tickets, just click the same Magic Autofill button on your bookmarks toolbar and voila ! The reservation form is filled automatically and you can directly proceed to the payment screen.
What happens behind the scene? You are essentially pre-filling a form and saving it as a bookmark. Next when you are on the actual form, you click the bookmark to transfer the previously filled values to your new form.
You can login before 10 a.m but ensure that the screen doesn’t go idle for more than 3 minutes (try selecting Booked history, find information about train,Terms and Conditions), because as soon as it does, the session will expire and you will get the infamous session expired screen! Anyway at 10 a.m the server will become slow!
Quoting to two tricks avoid the session from expiring is keeping the page active, from tech2.in Tips to book an IRCTC Tatkal ticket faster (I haven’t tried it)
- You can use this link. All you need to do is make a note of the Session ID and the Engine ID (from the address bar), replace it with your session and engine IDs and use the URL in another browser (For instance, if you are using Chrome, then use it in Firefox) and keep doing it till you complete your booking process.
- If you think this is a complicated method, then the other trick to keep your session active is by going to the IRCTC website > Login > General > Terms & Conditions. All you need to do is copy the “Terms and Conditions” URL in another browser and keep pinging it every 2-3 minutes.
Booking a Tatkal ticket is an experience by itself. Indiatimes article How to Book a Ticket on IRCTC [SPOOF] is an interesting read with some funny tweets :
- Why is IRCTC trending? Someone finally booked a tatkal ticket in one attempt?
- IRCTC represents the modern India. It is strongly against reservation.
- #IRCTC website is even slower then our Prime Minister.
- Dear Sachin, scoring Century against Railways is not a big deal – Try booking a Ticket in IRCTC once
- BREAKING Delhi HC sentences serial offender to rigorous punishment; made to book 50 Tatkal tickets on IRCTC
- BREAKING: IRCTC booked a tatkal ticket from Rajnikant. And it starts trending.
- A lot of people think IRCTC’s tagline is ‘This webpage is not available’.
- Cyber Crime : Credit Card Fraud,Bank Account Hacked
- Insurance : Surrender or Make policy paid up or Continue
- How Gold Ornament is Priced?
- What happens when credit card is swiped?
- Filling ITR 1-Form
Trains are one of the easiest and cheapest modes of transport in India. Over the years, booking train tickets has become convenient using the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation) website. The Tatkal online booking window opens a day in advance before the date of your journey just for an hour and lot of people try to log into the Tatkal booking system, which makes it difficult. Hope the information on the page helped you. Have you tried booking Tatkal tickets, how has been your experience?