Rush booking reservations are inevitable, thus the Tatkal scheme. "Tatkal", which means immediate, is an emergency reservation scheme used in the Indian railway system. It is actually a great help for passengers who need to book their tickets in case of emergencies.
It is applicable in over 100 train stations in India for rush passenger reservations for a maximum of five days before the actual date of departure. However, it has been reduced from five days to two days starting July 2009. To make a Tatkal train reservation, here are pieces of information that you need to know before rushing to the nearest Indian train station.
- The booking for the Tatkal Scheme starts at 08:00 hrs IST two days before the specific date of departure or journey. So if a train will leave on the 6th, then Tatkal booking reservation must be done at 08:00 hrs IST on the 4th of the same month wherein the journey will take place.
- The Tatkal quota may vary on each coach. There is a specific quota on 2A, 3A, sleeper class and AC Chair cars. For 2A, four berths are allowed per coach, and six berths in each coach for 3A. Passengers for AC Chair cars are allowed six seats per coach, while sleepers can have 10% of accommodation in each coach. Sleeper Class is a good choice for budget backpackers, although it has no air conditioning.
- For trains using standard utilization of 80% and above Tatkal accommodation in between the six months period, accommodation for Tatkal scheme may also vary. For 2AC, ten berths per coach is allowed and 16 berths per coach for 3 AC. Passengers for AC Chair car are given 16 seats per coach while sleepers have 20% of the available accommodation.
- Booking for a Tatkal scheme is done solely from the originating to terminating point of the train, which means that the ticket issued only covers the full length of the train's route, although the train may take the passenger at another nearest station. There may be restrictions to this rule depending on the restrictions given by zonal railways authorities.
- Tatkal charges for regular and peak periods may vary. Non-peak season is from the 15th of July to the 15th of September while peak season is from the 16th of September until the 14th of July. The rates for regular seasons are Rs200 for 2AC and 3AC and Rs75 for AC and SL. During peak seasons, the rates change to Rs300 for 2AC and 3AC and Rs150 for AC and SL.
Points to be considered in choosing Tatkal Schedule Scheme
- Booking reservation for Tatkal are offered for all classes except for Executive and First AC classes. It can be done either by going to the nearest train station or through the net. For online reservations, visit irctc.co.in.
- Proof of identity is not required for this type of scheme so anyone can avail of it.
- Some quota are not available for other reservation stations, so be sure to check it beforehand.
- Concessions are not allowed even to senior citizens.
- Delivery time is the same, so it is also to be considered in buying a reservation ticket, especially when booking online.
Making a Tatkal Train Reservation is a good option for rush travel, but to avoid the hassles that rushing can give, it is still wise to plan and schedule travels beforehand. In this way, hassles and stress due to rushing can be minimized.