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Sharell Cook

New Change to Indian Railways Tatkal Ticket Bookings

By July 5, 2012

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Indian Railways Train.Indian Railways train.
Sharell Cook

Indian Railways has recently been introducing a range of measures that target the misuse of the reservation system by touts, who buy up tickets and resell them for a higher price.  Earlier this year, the time period allowed for advance reservations was increased from three to four months, and the time frame for the booking of Tatkal tickets (last minute tickets) reduced from 48 to 24 hours before departure.

A new verification procedure was also added to the online reservation system, requiring all accounts to be confirmed with a unique Indian mobile phone number (this has been very frustrating for international tourists, who can no longer use the system).

Now, according to this news report, Indian Railways has decided to move the opening time for Tatkal ticket bookings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.  In addition, agents won't be permitted to book such tickets until midday. These measures will take effect on July 10, 2012.

What's the logic behind the change? Currently, agents sleep at the counters all night, so that they're first to be served in the morning when the counters open. This makes it difficult for regular customers, who want to book without an agent's help, to get a place in the line. Moving the opening time for bookings to 10 a.m. aims to reduce this rush for Tatkal tickets.

The change has failed to impress passengers though, who're concerned that they'll have to wait in line for longer as well as be late to work. The alternative is to try and book Tatkal tickets online, but the system is so congested it makes it impossible to do so.

What are your thoughts?

More About Train Travel in India:

July 5, 2012 at 7:31 am
(1) Prashant Kumar says:

The very fact the official website of the indian railways is filled with spam pop up advertising, clearly shows the dedication of indian railways to work for the benifit of the people ;)

July 5, 2012 at 8:22 am
(2) goindia says:

Oh, indeed! They obviously don’t care about user experience at all.

July 6, 2012 at 5:28 am
(3) Raghu Patri says:

I have been traveling by train in India much before all these online booking systems came into place. Obviously, it used to be a terrible time to book tickets. Long queues, limited working hours and a host of other issues made it a nightmare. I honestly find the initiative by the Indian Railways of opening the IRCTC a big boon to a country like ours. Given the volume and the scale of the operations, it is unbelievable in terms of the number of customers it serves and the convenience it has brought on. Tatkal is just one of the many features of the Indian Railways primarily meant to be a means of getting tickets for travelers in an emergency. Most of our journeys can be planned and alternates can be made well in advance in case of non availability of train tickets. This piling up on the tatkal on a regular basis and blaming it for all issues not related to train ticket booking is surely not right on our part. If the Indian Railways is trying to do something about, we need to give it a chance before we see it’s feasibility. IRCTC’s service took a number of years to stabilize. It is always a challenge in India given the sheer volumes of transactions.

July 9, 2012 at 6:26 am
(4) iXiGO says:

This is a great move to facilitate real buyers. Hope tatkal booking will now become a bit easier for the users

July 10, 2012 at 1:18 am
(5) Mohan says:

Indian railway did not consider the passengers who are working in other organizations. Most of the organizations will start at 10am including govt offices. Then, how can the employees can come and get the tickets?

Whether Indian Railways expect the passengers to be on half day leave for their job?

Also, Tatkal tickets are now restricted by IP address. So, even the employees who are working can not book Tatkal tickets since the organizations IP address most likely to be same in itself. (i.e., there will be same IP address in whole organization for internet connection.)

Finally the Agents may be restricted and the really required persons who are working as well get impacted.

Better to think and find the other good solutions.

July 10, 2012 at 3:14 am
(6) goindia says:

There are IP address restrictions too now!? :-o This is all becoming a huge problem.

July 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm
(7) kamlesh says:

the main problem with online booking is that the server gets crashed or only few people are able to book the ticket out of many. The railway offical should be able to provide crashed free service by provinding proxy server or shoud dristirbuted their services on different server’s as most of the bank do…

July 20, 2012 at 8:16 am
(8) Krishna says:

This is a mix of good and bad. The good is the intention of helping passengers. The bad is the implementation. Earlier the Tatkal site would get congested between 8am and 8:30am especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when people were trying to book tickets for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays respectively. The only difference now is that it happens between 10am and 10:30am.

However, instead of just having these kinds of rules, if they just upgrade the servers and connection speed, they would not need these kinds of rules. Apart from this congestion, while there are discounts for buying online normally, Indian Railway passengers are also levied extra charges for booking the tickets online, which actually helps in reducing queues at the counters. Even if they keep the charges the same, forget discounts, it would be good.

July 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm
(9) Sanjeev Sharma says:

IRCTC or any system cant function effectively in India, its not the fault of IRCTC or The agent who does create this, its we who encourage the unethical practice. The earlier System 48 hours for Tatkal was the best.. :)

August 17, 2012 at 12:41 am
(10) MSP says:

These new changes have been made on strong pressure from the Bus Organization’s lobby. Now that the tatkal tickets are issued from 10am onwards office-goers are forced to book tickets in buses instead.

The justification provided for this change of tatkal booking time is that this will discourage Booking agents from booking all the tickets. Tell me how will this stop them? Such a weak excuse to cover up corruption in the Indian railways.

I strongly protest.

October 16, 2012 at 2:30 am
(11) Alok Kumar says:

Current indial railway reservation system is pathetic…

1. There should not be tatkal concept.
2. Limit the no of waiting passenger train wase.
3. Add extra coaches as per no of waitlist and parallely increase length of platforms.
4. Charge extra for comfirming waitlisted passenger
5. Start increasing fares right from 10/15 days in advance from date of journey. Ex.- 5/10 Rupees per day ..

Need to develop infrastructure parallely to make our Indian railway better.


October 17, 2012 at 8:15 am
(12) gaurav says:

Its so fustrating to log on to IRCTC get a tatkal ticket. i actually spent 120 min just to book one ticket which eventually i could not book and finally i gaveup and called the agent who booked my ticket at once whats this ………….
where is the fault? why cant the railway hire some IT expert who could resolve this issue for us.

October 26, 2012 at 1:32 am
(13) RAJ KATKAR says:

irctc.co.in was a wonderful site in 1998-2005,after Manmohansingh Govt came in,IRCTC is dead as a techno giant and common man cant reserve tickets …CONNECTION OUT..IRCTC CAN NOT BE CONNECTED..in the age of dial up it was perfect,in the age of BROADBAND irctc is dead..thanks manmohanji for killing a wonderful booking system…LONG LIVE YOUR COMMITMENT TO TECHNOLOGY

October 26, 2012 at 1:34 am
(14) RAJ KATKAR says:

you are perfectly right,nothing to do with IRCTC..but UPA govt…which never bothers about the plight of Indian railways,may be manmohan and team more concerned with airlines than railways…an excellent primitive UPA lead by Octagenerian PM

October 27, 2012 at 1:12 am
(15) Vishal says:

IRCTC should close the website – unless they have a better user experience.. I would rate IRCTC 0 out of 10 for user experience.. Railway politicians should be asked sometimes to try booking tickets using the portal – a 30 KB home page takes around 10 minutes to download completely – What a pathetic experience !!!!

October 27, 2012 at 2:46 am
(16) goindia says:

I agree, it’s sadly gone from bad to worse. :-( It’s a terrible user experience.

November 8, 2012 at 1:44 am
(17) sushant says:

The new tatkal timings was expected to make the booking easier for the common man, and make life difficult for the agents. But The logic failed miserably as now the common man has to wait in the line where in the olden days the number of agents used to be 10 now it has increased to 20 and after completion of the process it becomes late to go to work.

The agents have complete control on the process , and strangely the whole drama happens in front of the police who not only turn a deaf ear towards complaints, they are not bothered about the difficulties the common man faces while doing the tatkal booking.

Since most of us have access to internet , and as informed the website http://www.irctc .com had under gone an improvement change. We fail to understand what change it had under gone as the wesite till date even fails to open , forget the errors that pop up during the booing and transaction failures that happen.Totally disappointed by the website.

Though putting this blog , reading the same views doesnot improve the situation…

November 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm
(18) INDER RS says:

Solution lies not in changing timings or online booking or new website or portals for train ticketing.

Permanent solution lies in
1) Increasing the number of trains ,platforms,powerful and good engines,no.of coaches.Putting together I would say developing infrastructure.
2)Now for point 1 to be implemented requires lots & lots of finances,which although on paper might be reflected are spent on Indian railways but in reality are munched by people planning ,to those executing.So this CORRUPTION should end.
3) Finaly growing population,if controlled or atleast maintained,situation wont get further worse atleast,else the day isnt far whengetting a train ticket would be fighting a war ( in which only rich & powerfull wins).

Cheers!!! The Senior politicians & their families should stand in que at midnight outside rail reservation counters,and spend tiring time there waiting for the window to open ,where at times a lazy gentleman woud be processing things slowly.and thanks to the new rule of 10 am ,go to office and hear from your boss!!! MAY BE THEN ATLEAST THEY WILL FEEL MERCY ON COMMON MAN AND DO SOME FAVOURS BY DEVISING SOME GOOD MECHANISM ,WHICH IS PRACTICAL & CAN HELP US

November 26, 2012 at 2:06 am
(19) Piyush says:

You cant make tatkal tickets online. the system are so congested that it is become impossible to make tatkal tickets online..

November 28, 2012 at 1:15 am
(20) Hemant says:

irctc – the worst site ever seen by me ………

Do they really care abt the person trying to login , I belive irctc should be chargesd for this time killing & harrasing activity.

November 29, 2012 at 4:02 am
(21) Neeraj says:

Dear Sir/Madam,
I want to know the 3rd Ac fair of Train between Anugrah Narayan Road(AUBR) to Patna Jn.(PNBE) on date 24-03-2012 and 04th Aug 2012.
Please give me aforesaid information on my e-Mail.
I am still waiting your reply

November 30, 2012 at 11:12 am
(22) Rakesh says:

i think railway needs to think smthing better abt booking the online tatkal ticket so that people can book it easily. Present system of booking online tatkal ticket is not practically possible for aam aadmi.

November 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm
(23) Tarun says:

no comment plz ……………………………………….

December 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm
(24) Dinesh says:

Old fashioned clerks are sitting in railway department. Their main motto is to trouble the users. Negative attitude,
1) Theay are asking id card number and the tc tallies it during the travel. I dont otherstand why any Id proof prescribed can not be used. Many passengers are at trouble during the travel if they dont bring the same id proof on which they have booked. If you use PAN card and keep other prescribed ID proof during travel, it wont work.
2) No tatkal reservations are allowed on mobile. Means largest user of the device in the world can not use that. What is the reason I dont know?
3) The booking will start at 10, means you have to stand at railway station from morning 5 to 10 am. The agents have already deployed beggars to sleep in a queue for Rs 100/- per since the night. Hence no use. But the working people have to take half day leave to book the ticket.
4) The video is taken now a days. But the staff first make the queue ok and then shoot it, Why dont use CCTV cameras?
5) Earlier that paper ticket was compulsory otherwise u would be fined Rs 50/. Now they have learnt a bit, Mobile sms or digital ticket is necessary. Why this? PRN number is associated with your ticket and identity. Why it is required I dont know.
It is needed for Indian Railway Officers to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX by cleaning conventional negative reservations from mind.

December 12, 2012 at 9:41 am
(25) Manoj Kumar says:

IRCTC is a big fraud cheating Organization and so Indianrail. They are playing with the customers/passengers. At the counter, they have deal with those Brokers/agents. And they give them ticket first before anyone. Brokers/agents fight with the normal passengers because they are the rowdy type of people. Even though the police man/security guard is available but they also get commission from them. So they don’t even bother for anything. Online booking is a nightmare if you are looking for Tatkal ticket. No luck or no chance that you will ever get Tatkal ticket booked online. IRCTC knows that very well that the conjuction will be there when they open the Tatkal booking but they don’t take any initiative. Because they get commission from Agents and other third party software which books automatically. There was a news show coming in Star news and it lasts for few days but again the same thing. Well what to do? We people can just write blogs. Can’t do anything beyond that. Can’t with those rowdys” because we have family behind. This all happen in India… everybody sees that but nobody wants to respond or take action because everybody has their own life and they care for that.

Anyway.. it’s a never ending argument. Let the system works as it is. And let the people suffer as they used to be. No hope. Nothing can be changed ever. Corruption will never go away.

Be proud to be an INDIAN!!! :)

December 17, 2012 at 8:07 am
(26) Prem says:

Online booking for Tatkal is next to impossible these days. I don’t know how this country is running who is supposed to serve a population of more than 100 Crores.

If you try to book ticket online during morning 10AM -12 irctc website is dead and secondly if you think of purchasing the ticket through railway reservation window you have long long queue from morning 5-6 AM as if something free is being distributed.

In india i have always believe that anything can actually happen espeically in govt sectors. In records they always show everything they are doing is improving the conditions but actually this is the opposite.


Very simple .. Give some agents 200 to 500 extra per ticket and they will manage the ticket for you (inspite of what govt says ) . Broker system (or Bribe system ) actually is very honest system in india until now where things are almost Guaranteed.

December 18, 2012 at 4:12 am
(27) goindia says:

Hi Prem, unfortunately, I agree with you about the agents still being able to get the tickets. A friend of mine has an agent who can get her a tatkal (or any ticket) without fail. Meanwhile, it has virtually become impossible for the common man…

December 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm
(28) Yerramilli N Rao says:

I totally agree with Ms Sharell Cook. indian railway’s policies always benifitted agents than passingers. The railways, if genuinly want to serve their passingers, should design a way only passingers can book Tatkaal through their IDs. For the benift of agents Railways should allocate a seperate bogey or few seats exclusively. The railways should improve their online booking services so that passingers who try to book through online need not spend hours together to get the site and breaks in links.

December 26, 2012 at 1:00 am
(29) krishnan says:

waiting list on tatkal ticket is not jaustifiable.When there is no provision for cancellation on tatkal booking how irctc can issue waiting list.There is no transparency in the system and it may lead to misuse and corruption.If wait list passengers of the tatkal quata are given first preference in the additional coaches what is the justification for issuing waiting list for normal quota.IRCTC should improvise their website where the passenger himself can choose his birth/ seat and compartment his own.
kottakkal krishnan

January 9, 2013 at 2:51 am
(30) Shirish Chitre says:

We booked 2 tickets from Mumbai to Solapur, one month before our travel date. We had a small baby of just 10 months old. We requested for lower birth but railway refused saying lower birth is not available. Both allotted births were upper births. How one lady can travel on upper birth with small baby. When we tried for Tatkal ticket, they have allotted both lower births. What is this non-sense ? Why Lower births are kept for Tatkal tickets only ? Only to get more money from passengers like us. Even senior citizens are not getting lower birth while booking in advance. Railway officers please reply.

February 21, 2013 at 12:29 am
(31) venkat says:


March 21, 2013 at 10:14 am
(32) vagisha says:

They need much more trains. How come that there is a waiting list of sometimes 300-400 daily on trains like Purva, Kalka and Coramandel. Why they do not add more coaches or add new trains occasionally. Additionally they could make Intercity Expresses which would stop on three of four stations only. Eventually they should build bullet trains like in China. It would be cheaper than plain and would take only 3 hours from Delhi to Kolkata. None can say that the Indian Railway has no money for it as there is a constant overbooking on almost all lines. People traveling without seat with unreserved tickets because there are no enough sits. Certainly there should be some improvement.

March 30, 2013 at 9:52 am
(33) girija rautela says:

i want to know that, can we booked the talkal ticket on sunday?? plz reply

April 29, 2013 at 6:37 am
(34) S.K.CHAWLA says:


April 29, 2013 at 10:44 am
(35) goindia says:

Hi SK. Chawla, as far as I’m aware, Tatkal bookings come under a separate quota. You’d have to make a separate Tatkal booking and then cancel your other ticket.

May 2, 2013 at 11:19 am
(36) sunil says:

Instead of controlling demand, they should work on increasing the supply of bogies and additional trains when the demand is high. when can we have sensitivity to arrange enough trains everyday so that all pessenger can travel without needing to book a ticket more that a day in advance.

May 28, 2013 at 1:43 am
(37) BHAWNA shukla says:

Its very pathetic to say that there is no separate line for females at tatkal booking counters at 43 bus stand Chandigarh. They are supposed to stand in a single line in between the males which is not at all safe for them………………………..it even looks very awkward. A strict action shoud be taken by the authorities…………….

June 3, 2013 at 3:48 am
(38) Prince says:

Hey new change –
now we can purchase tickets only before 60 days (as per old rules) prior instead of 120 days…..
so think carefully and make your travel plan according to that

cheers – Prince

June 25, 2013 at 5:51 am
(39) Kumar says:

Can I book tatkal ticket after 12 pm.
(No surprize.. Due to floods tickets are available even now to uttarakhand)
Plz respond immediately.

June 25, 2013 at 8:53 am
(40) goindia says:

Hi Kumar, as far as I’m aware, individuals can only book tickets from 10am-12 pm. Agents can book after 12 pm.

December 2, 2013 at 12:39 am
(41) ATUL KHARE says:


December 14, 2013 at 12:14 am
(42) SHIWENDU says:


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