irctc recommends IE 6 and above. Its always better to user modern browser for faster response. Some scripts written in irctc not performing well in Google Chrome. Its my personal experience – in Mozila firefox irctc site runs well. So go for firefox.
When to login?
Tatkal ticket booking starts from 10 AM. Some people logged into it from 9:30 AM and try to click here and there to keep the session active. This is useless. You are wasting your 30 min valuable time. I have observed at 10 Oclock my session is always timed out or 503 service unavailable error comes. May be they clear all the session at 10 or restart the system. So it is always better try to start login at 9:58 AM. It may take time but you will be able login within 5 min.
Plan my travel
Keep you station code handy. You can find the station code from http://www.indianrail.gov.in/stn_Code.html. Don’t wait for train name suggestion. Train name comes by AJAX call. That time server load is very high and it will take time to fetch train name. Don’t waste time. Just type from and to station code, select date, select quota as tatkal and click find train.
Select train seat
irctc renovate there train list screen. The best thing is they listed the trains in a new domain – jp.irctc.co.in (not sure but may be in new server also). This split the traffic and makes the whole thing little faster. Most of the people logged in to irctc to check ticket availiblity of train only. There are some very good site like indiarailinfo.com to check train and ticket availability. Click on the required ticket (class name of the corresponding train) and click Book now.
Fill passenger details
Now the most time consuming task. Fill the passenger details. If you already booked ticket earlier then the values will be there as autofill text. Just start typing on it or double click on the textfield and select the information.
There is another fantastic way to fill the form. Amit Agarwal, India’s first professional blogger has created an awesome script to fill the passenger details form. Go to ctrlq.org/irctc. Fill the passenger details including mobile no, click on I’m feeling lucky. It will generate Magic Autofill button. Just drag and drop in your browsers bookmark toolbar. You will get the detailed of usage in his blog http://www.labnol.org/india/autofill-irctc-forms. Make this bookmark ready before tatkal booking. After clicking book button when the passanger form comes just click that bookmark. It will automatically fill the details within second.
Sometime this problem occurs at time of high load. Captcha not loading. Don’t be panic. The captcha loads by ajax. As its high load on server it will take some time to load the image. Multiple time reload image button click may make the process delay. Just stay calm and wait for the captcha. If it is taking long time you can click once in reload image. After entering image text click Go.
After confirming the details, click Make Payment. I prefer Internet Banking. I don’t want to advertise any bank but my personal experience is better with ICICI bank. Even sometime I observed, there is an extra step in ICICI netbanking, fill the grid from debit card. In case of irctc payment they don’t ask for the grid which makes the process faster.
If you have good internet bandwidth, patience, and of course luck, you can book tatkal ticket within 15 min. I have just booked a tatkal ticket at the pick time (Durga puja – at the day of Saptami – from Kolkata to Malda).
Service Unavailable – Error 503
Don’t restart the process if Service Unavailable – Error 503 comes. Just refresh the page (F5) until session timeout. All data remains there in the session. It will continue the process when service is back. It happens in my case, after payment service unavailable message comes. I refreshed the page multiple times then the payment got accepted and ticket comes.
Act smart and win the battle 😉