Home > Blogging, Feeling, India, Web > IRCTC & my Tatkal booking woes..

IRCTC & my Tatkal booking woes..

IRCTC - #FAILA really bad start to the day! I wanted to book a train ticket for mom to Ahmadabad from Chennai on tatkal. Having already booked tatkal tickets to Hyderabad on yatra and cleartrip, I never really wanted to login to irctc. But since yatra and cleartrip have been giving up on my mom’s journey for the last few days, I decided to give IRCTC a try this morning. Having known that login would be impossible after 7.50 AM, I logged in as early as 7.20 AM. Doing what? Clicking random links to keep the connection active.

IRCTC did sometimes throw me out with errors that aren’t meant to be understood, and then expecting you to re-login. What I did was kept searching for trains, looking at fares or route, something that I knew wouldn’t give me errors. It kept my connection alive..

7.55 AM, I opened the quick book page (one page to enter all details, including payment type selection making booking a lot faster), filled in the details and checked if the connection was open. It wasn’t, it shouldn’t be, and it was only 7.57. Kept clicking the quick book button hoping to keep the connection active, also hoping that it will let me book as soon as the clock showed 8.

IRCTC lived up to what was expected. 8.03, quick book, “Sorry bookings for tatkal will open after 8 AM only”. 8.05, same! To double check, checked booking status with Cleartrip, it didn’t let me in either. May be the time on the phone was fast (even though it was synced with the time at the railway station). Patience was at test, 8.10, same message.

Cleartrip had gone into the next page; it however did make me wait for a couple of minutes again to retrieve the current status. Boom, Waiting list! Yatra kept searching forever, and IRCTC showing the same stupid message: “Booking open after 8.00 hrs only”… WTH!

I logged into IRCTC again at around 8.15 to confirm the waitlist status of the tickets. All tickets were booked. All my time since morning, a mere waste!

Here’s a screenshot of the page where i spent most of my time. (This was taken at around 8.58AM) See anything weird?

You should have probably guessed it. The time on the yellow bar on the top of the page shows the time of login, and it does not change. Now if the code is written to look at this time instead of the current time on the server, it’s a bug; and that probably explains me not being allowed through to the payment page – My time read 7.36 AM when I was trying to book the ticket at 8.01 hrs.

So, I didn’t get it, I will report this to IRCTC. I was able to go through the login problem, but I wasn’t able to quick book a ticket. Now that I know what my problem could have been, I’ll try it one last time tomorrow. Let’s see if that really was the case.

But is there a bigger problem? A news story on Aaj Tak, a few days back, was about a sting operation on some agents who sold tickets in black. Further inquiry revealed that they were able to block the tickets in advance, and then book them when the servers opened for booking… Bloody fraud! It may also have been the case? There is a separate login for agents on IRCTC, but it should officially have the block ticket functionality?

My friend, an agent wouldn’t tell me the secret, and he like every other agent said: “Tatkal reservation opens the same time to everyone, even for agents”, What I guess he didn’t say was: “As an agent, I’m able to block a ticket a day in advance and then book it as Tatkal opens. The government wouldn’t tell you that, obviously!”

Please write letters to news editors of national newspapers asking them to publish the woes of customers trying to book Tatkal online. A lot of letters might just force the news paper or the government to at least start a probe..!

There is definitely some kind of fraud going on otherwise how would there be no chance of booking at all?


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Categories: Blogging, Feeling, India, Web
  1. LVS
    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve heard about the tickets in black! But once asked an agent but he denied having a special access too!

    Btw, almost a year back, I debugged IRCTC’s JS (thanks, Firebug) and you are right. It sets a value of your login time and uses that to check if its past 8! But, I changed the value and submitted, they are doing a server side check too..
    So the only reasoning I can think of is to reduce the server side load. But yes, they can reset the timestamp everytime a page is served.


  2. June 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

    As I’ve told you earlier yesterday there is some fraud going on. Agents block tickets in advance and sell them for a higher price. Cheats!

  3. Kunal Janu
    June 23, 2010 at 10:28 am

    From what I have understood, the agents definitely have some trick up their sleeve or may be the server serves better for agents, who knows may be they have a seperate server that handles loads better than the server we are put on. Nobody in the government wants to come out with details..

  4. Rajesh
    July 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm


    in online tatkal booking there is no extra setting… for block ticket
    normal user and agent use same 8.00 for tkt booking

    only difference is agent have different web site like http://www.irctc.itzcashworld.com or http://www.oxirail.com etc from this website they book tatkal ticket but not every time bcoz this site is connected from irctc server….

    mostly north side ticket not book

  5. Kunal Janu
    July 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Hi Rajesh, Well whatever it is, it definitely is causing the common man a lot of inconvenience. If the search was slow, i wouldn’t mind but the site completely crashes and a user has to login again! It simply becomes impossible to do anything on the site for the half hour! Shouldn’t there be seperate servers for popular trains or according to each region? I don’t know, but there should be something done about the site crashing every single day!


  6. Amit
    November 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Well I read all the comments and I being a travel agent I want to clear your doubts about any fraud. We have no such option for blocking tickets before 8 AM …neither any different server to book tatkal tickets. The process is same for all.We have to login in the same way …its just that we are so much in practice to book tickets that we manage to remember station codes ,train number and then obviously the typing speed ,filling details etc .Talking about service unavailable and other error messages at 8 and after 8 is IRCTC’s poor server’s problem.Any website or portal or software in India claiming to book rail tickets and tatkal tickets is ultimately connected to IRCTC. No other link or server to book rail tatkal tickets exists till now. You have to keep trying…. that’s the mantra. Undoubtedly , we have one facility to book any number of tickets through agent login and ironically this is the one and only advantage agents have.A personal id only allows 10 tickets to be booked in a month. The only fraud or mess which can happen is on railway reservation office i.e station itself.The people sitting on counters can book 24 tickets in 30-40 seconds , obviously they never face a server error. They can even cancel a tatkal ticket with full refund.They can sometimes block the seats also ….so it is that ways… I hope this would help you to understand the things.. so chill..bye

  7. Rajeev
    January 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Cleartrip is losing tatkal business to these agents. I guess they are aware of the issue and technical details of the system. I hope they will be able to get this fixed.

  8. vps
    June 25, 2011 at 8:14 am


  9. Bhatia
    June 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Those who does / create problems in irctc booking ( tatkal service ) are big ass holes ,bloody m fuckers , they always eat shit dats y they make others into trouble while booking tatkal tickets on irctc . And this hopless govt /ppl ( those who hv power to stop this nonsense ) are just watching us nd enjoying .

  10. Anjani Kumar
    July 12, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Time of India might be trying to take lot of credit to improve the IRCTC tatkal system but looks like from last two days it has become worst for some routes. My nephew tried to book the tickets from Patna to Ernakulam , he was at counter at 10:04 and 40 tickets of AC3 , 130 tickets of sleeper were all sold by that time. Interestingly internet site irctc didnt respond to 4 MBPS Airtel line. So now it’s time for times of India staff to relook at it and get improved before boasting for improvements in IRCTC.

  11. shamshad
    August 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I wasted 2 hours..today for booking a tatkal ticket. It appearedas if on every step they have designed in such a way that normal person can not book the tatkal tickets online.even though i couldn’t book even one ticket it was throing error that you are not alowed to book more than 2 tickets…come on ..what a sick system is this.This is such a frustrating experience…:-(

  12. Prakash Kashyap
    September 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

    IRCTC website is a govt website, which is like another govt agency. IRCTC website cannot handle the load for the train reservation as of now, but its irony to see that IRCTC website has come up with FLIGHTS tickets reservation, this way the railway ministry is helping the aviation ministry!!! Even cabs and hotel reservation can be done by IRCTC, but not train tickets!!!! Most funny is we can do online shopping on IRCTC, but not train ticket booking. Blessed we Indians are, here the train booking website can be used for all other things other its actual purpose. Mera bharat mahaan…..

  1. June 26, 2010 at 10:34 am
  2. June 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm
  3. August 3, 2010 at 11:55 am

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