Getting railway tatkal bookings right
Trains scores so well on cost and convenience that it’s a great choice even if you have to pay extra for booking a berth. But, given the demand for last-minute seats, it’s no easy task.
Travelling by rail is a hard to beat. A first-class ticket in a train will still be cheaper than an economy booking on a flight and the comfort levels cannot be matched by a bus service provider. The only drawback of the train is that your travel plans should be confirmed at least two to three months prior to have a confirmed booking. If you haven’t managed this, you are perhaps aware that you can book a seat via the tatkal scheme, but failed miserably at getting a ticket. It’s possible you weren’t even able to login during the 15-minute window the tickets run out within. Well, here are some tips that will ensure that you stand a clear chance of getting that booking:
Sync your computer: The tatkal counter on the website opens at 10am, but you can either login 15 minutes before and keep refreshing the page every three minutes or sync your computer time with the IRCTC server time. To find the server time; go to this page, enter any number and click get schedule. You will find the server time on the bottom right of the page.
Have multiple accounts: You probably have multiple browsers, but use just one. Well, here’s when they’ll all come in handy. While you could be contributing of loading the server, it gives you a better shot at getting a booking. What you need to do is create different logins to book the same ticket. Also remember that you can buy just two tickets for a maximum of eight passengers from a single login.
|Class of travel||Minimum Tatkal Charges (Rs)||Maximum Tatkal Charges (Rs)|
|AC Chair Car||100||200|
|AC 3 Tier||250||350|
|AC 2 Tier||300||400|
Beating session expiry: Once you login, the most common (and frustrating) problem is that your session expires. IRCTC has a session expiry timeout of three minutes. To counter this, even when your booking page might take longer than three minutes to open, you need to ensure your IRCTC login is not idle. To do this, open other pages randomly, such as the websites’ Terms & Conditions or other text-loaded pages in another tab or window and keep refreshing it until your booking page loads.
Work with autofills: After selecting your train and preferred berth, quickly key-in your details to proceed to the payment page. You can either make a note of whatever details you need beforehand in a notepad and copy paste it into appropriate sections. A quicker way is to have an autofill add-on installed on your Chrome or Firefox. You can fill these forms before the actual booking and keep it saved to aid you to complete the formalities quicker.
Proxy servers: As many people are logging into the website at the same time being patient is a key. Double clicking on any button or going back from any page will log you off and you will have to start the entire process again. A suggested fix to boost the website’s speed is to select a proxy server address based near Delhi. Here’s how you can install these proxies if you are using Chrome or Firefox. You can also enable your browser’s slow connection boost to speed up page loading.
Tatkal counters: If you don’t think you’ll be perform all of the above-mentioned tasks at once, there are tatkal counters at all major railway stations between 10am-11am. These counters are supposedly given higher priority than online bookings, but long lines are a common feature.
Use an agent: Well, if you can’t beat them, you can consider paying them. Agents are, of course, better at this than we are, but nothing is confirmed. If they aren’t able to get you a seat, they’ll refund your money. On longer trips, agents can charge as much as Rs300 as commission for a single ticket.