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Old 6th August 2022, 12:48   #16
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Any software system occasionally throws glitches ( including IRCTC). Recently I booked a ticket from Bengaluru to Pondy in mobile without any problems in the morning hrs. Next day tried to book return ticket from Arakkonam ( after our Sholinger visit), booking page was not getting loaded in mobile through mutiple attempts. In iPad, it went in , booked but didnot return back to IRCTC page after payment ( got the refunds next day) 3 times. So booking was not successful. But for the same train , booking was successful in Laptop. Similar problems happened in Incometax site also .
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Old 6th August 2022, 12:51   #17
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

This post made me nostalgic. My first memory of train booking was in late 80s. Accompanied my father. Left home around 4 am. Took the first local train. Stood in a long queue outside the booking office till 7:45 am. At 7:45 am the gate opened and we had a sprint toward the counters. Again stood in queue before the counter. And at last, the coveted Ticket !!
Then came the IRCTC days. open the website at 7:45 am. at sharp 8 am start typing, then payment gateway and the ticket at 8:00:56 am. Sometimes there was payment gateway failure and Waitlisted tickets.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to get a confirmed ticket from IRCTC website when there is a rush. The website becomes very slow at 8 am, 10 am and 11 am.
And rush at ticket counter remained same at those times (8 am, 10 am & 11 am). Only difference is the crowd is divided in three parts.

Last edited by edunata : 6th August 2022 at 12:54. Reason: edit
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Old 6th August 2022, 13:13   #18
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Thanks for scraping the nostalgia. I remembered my college days, when we used to go to reservation counters with student concession forms during semester/ summer breaks. The clerks used to scrutinize it like a visa application. It feels good sometimes to do things old way, just for the sake of experience.
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Old 6th August 2022, 18:59   #19
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
[He keyed in all details into the system at lightning speed, hoping that the reservation wouldn't go through - it didn't go through! He tried again, but the end result was the same
- this was some issue with the particular train/ station
The booking issue was not with IRCTC but with the particular train/station as the ticket could not be booked on this train from the Counter either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvsneela View Post
booking page was not getting loaded in mobile through mutiple attempts. In iPad, it went in , booked but did not return to IRCTC page after payment. But for the same train , booking was successful in Laptop
Thank you for this insight, kvsneela. I faced an issue with HDFC Ergo a month ago - couldn't renew a policy from my mobile/laptop while it could be done from someone else's machine. I realised it was due to cache memory. Don't know why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajayc123 View Post
what was the time that you had tried booking tickets when you faced the payment gateway failures
Trial 1 was at 2255-2300 hrs on Day1, and approx 1930 hrs on Day2. In fact at that time on Day2, I successfully booked a ticket on another train from Chennai to Bengaluru.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MT_Hyderabad View Post
try another portal like Amazon tickets, which will only ask you the irctc login ID, but uses a different payment gateway.
Thanks for the tip @MT_Hyderabad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVS View Post
Madras PRS had its separate counter, Calcutta PRS separate counter and so were Delhi and Bombay
True - there was a dedicated MAS PRS counter at Surat, and that would mean another albeit shorter wait in a second queue for Southern Railway tickets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vishal.R View Post
huge booking office at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus .Very efficient way to handle huge load.
Thank You Vishal. I was in awe of the CST( then VT) Reservation Center in end 1991. Mammoth place with enough and more seating space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
- I have memories of reserved card tickets as well
- One can’t book a return ticket from origin those days.
Yes, until the computerized tickets arrived, it was either the card ticket OR a pink slip ticket.

Just narrating a few experiences here:

1. My first travel by 2AC was in Jun-1991 by the then 2642 Navajivan Exp and the fare was INR 750. This was a compueterised ticket booked in Chennai

2. Card tickets - all tickets issued at Surat Railway Station till 1995 were card tickets or pink slip tickets.

3. Surat station used to have a firm quota of three Sleeper Class berths on 1081Kanyakumari Express from Bombay VT. I've done Surat - Dadar and onward on Kanyakumari many times. I remember there used to be a similar quota on the Mumbai - Hyderabad Express too.

4. If one wanted return tickets from the origin station, one would need to pay the money plus telegram charges at the Reservation Center and also give a pink self addressed stamped postcard. The booking request would be relayed, and once the origin reservation center got the booking confirmation via telegram, the berth nos would be mentioned on the postcard and sent to the requestor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
One big use case to use the reservation counter is when you have multiple people travelling and are looking to book in the same coupe
Agree, @narayans80. One could get the choice of berth via the reservation center.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyampsunder View Post
Also peace of mind with respect to refunds. Have often spent 10k+ on failed bookings and everything was smoothly handled with refunds to Amazon pay balance.
Good tip Shyam Sunder. Thanks !

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrman View Post
we would ask our relatives at Madras to book our return from Madras to Bombay
Thank You @hrman. Even I've been through the experience of asking relatives to book return tickets and send them a Demand Draft by Registered AD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygenes View Post
Over 70 3AC tickets and 12 2AC tickets evaporated in less than 7 minutes from opening.
Thank You @gypsygenes. It was, is and will always be a rat race for tickets. The time I enjoyed rail travel the most was immediately after trains had resumed after the lockdown, and people were scared of travel. My first ride post - unlock was from Chennai, which I've created a thread on too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edunata View Post
Left home around 4 am. Stood in a long queue outside the booking office till 7:45 am. At 7:45 am the gate opened and we had a sprint toward the counters. Again stood in queue before the counter. And at last, the coveted Ticket !!
Thank You for narrating the experience, @edunata; quite similar to the US Visa queues those days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReacher13 View Post
we used to go to reservation counters with student concession forms during semester/ summer breaks. The clerks used to scrutinize it like a visa application
Nostalgic, @JReacher. I tried that just once and found that the clerk was trying to make a big deal of the form not being okay. Got a regular ticket.

Last edited by vigsom : 6th August 2022 at 19:04.
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Old 6th August 2022, 21:39   #20
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Thanks for sharing the experience. Here in Kakinada, the port and city stations are just few km apart and people use port for tatkal, as fewer people go there. My years of experience in cochin showed no rush before 8pm (around 1940 onwards till closing time) You always managed to get reservation done. One must see the speed during Tatkal time. The counter guy just keeps typing and tickets with money are exchanged later. Also, counter guys are able to get you better choice of berth (my experience)
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Old 6th August 2022, 22:06   #21
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

The most memories I have of such reservation centers include long queues, weird printer noises and high ceilings, typically a scene from late 90s to early 2000s. However, another aspect comes while studying engineering, I had to book tatkal tickets a few times and I fairly remember that instance when the clerk would fend off normal booking people 5 mins before 10, would ready his pen, keyboard and seat for optimum performance at 10 it would be a pin drop silence with extreme key hitting noises ( poor Enter key from the num section). From 10:01 there would be shoutings from all-around
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Old 6th August 2022, 22:47   #22
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukhbirST View Post
Thanks for sharing the experience. Here in Kakinada, the port and city stations are just few km apart and people use port for tatkal, as fewer people go there. My years of experience in cochin showed no rush before 8pm (around 1940 onwards till closing time) You always managed to get reservation done. One must see the speed during Tatkal time. The counter guy just keeps typing and tickets with money are exchanged later. Also, counter guys are able to get you better choice of berth (my experience)
Nice to see a fellow Bhpian from Kakinada, where I actually hail from. I can relate to the situation you quoted. Kakinada has a very beautiful station with good infrastructure. If only, there could've been a good number of trains.
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Old 6th August 2022, 23:39   #23
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
Summing it up

Although I was kind of upset with the turn of events the day before yesterday and yesterday, I'm thankful to IRCTC for letting me get back to doing a reservation the old way, and reliving the good ol' times.
Really liking your articles Sir, which are more like a Retro Series.

Still remember the days when my friends and I would go to T. Nagar booking office in Chennai, wait for hours, to book our return tickets for College.

Last edited by Axe77 : 7th August 2022 at 05:54. Reason: Minor typo / language edit.
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Old 7th August 2022, 00:08   #24
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Thank you for bringing back the fond memories. There was a time till 2011, when I used to have those forms in my college backpack many times . Its great to see that form is still almost same. I used to remember stations short codes back of my hand. We used to love trying various trains & predicting from which station we can get confirmed ticket. We even went to couple of inaugural runs of trains when I was in NED.

Also the sound of those mechanical keyboard at ticket booking counter is like a music for rail fans.

Off course in recent past train travel has reduced significantly & station is visited only for boarding a train now.

Off topic: I never get lucky in popular IPOs. But I applied IRCTC just for sake of nostalgia after giving up on my luck in IPO for few years & for first time in my life a popular IPO was allotted. Off course I am still holding it & I doubt I will ever sell it. Many of my friends trolls me for not selling it when it reached 6000.

Last edited by VaibhaoT : 7th August 2022 at 00:11.
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Old 7th August 2022, 07:44   #25
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Wow , some memories relived

Being a son of a defence personnel, my childhood has given me relatively higher chances to be on train.
I'm talking of 80s and 90s when even core reservation was not there. I've spent hundreds of hours in a reservation queue during that period with so many experiences. Some lifelong friendships have happened there.

But there is one reservation experience I'll always remember distinctly.

My father was posted at bhuj and every year we would take our holiday trip to Jammu. There was just one train with two first class coaches in it.
Reservation would start 90 or 60 days before the travel date. Now because there were too less seats available. People used to start making a queue one day before . My father had to go outstation for some urgent work that week and I was given the responsibility of booking the ticket. I remember next day was my last day to submit a science project at school.

So I came to railway reservation area in the afternoon and brought all the project materials. Stayed there for whole evening and night. Completed the project with help of fellow passengers to be. For the ticket next day morning and submitted the project too.

By the way scored a 30/30 in the project
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Old 7th August 2022, 10:06   #26
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReacher13 View Post
Nice to see a fellow Bhpian from Kakinada, If only, there could've been a good number of trains.
Thanks to @vigsom for generating interest in train journeys, I searched and realised that there are direct trains (mostly overnight) to Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyd and Chennai (many other cities also). For remaining places you can catch from Samalkot which is just 15 km (30 min) away. Moreover, it is only 10 min to station from any part of Kakinada. The same journey for airport is 2 hours or 4 hrs (by road with 30 min margin) depending upon Vizag or Rajahmundry.
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Old 8th August 2022, 10:02   #27
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Man oh man. This is a memory trip indeed. Curious what % does IR get from IRCTC versus these paper bookings. Its clear IRCTC will surely win.

You'd think that in 20+ years, IR would improve and make this application easier to use. I struggled with filling these forms due to the small space provided. My handwriting was not suited to cramming words in a small box. Towards the end, I started using Station Codes to save on some time and effort. That joy was short lived when I had to deal with one moody ticket agent who returned the form saying the full station name needs to be filled. I lost my place in the line too.

I guess this a method of ticket booking that will stay. Parts of India have a population that are not computer or even mobile phone literate. For these folks, the application form is the only way to make a travel booking.
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Old 8th August 2022, 11:43   #28
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

that's pure nostalgia. brings back countless memories of old days of standing in queue for the coveted confirmed ticket.
another exciting activity to do then was to later check the PNR of WL ticket multiple times, as a bachelor staying away from home in Mumbai, Jamnagar, Hyderabad etc in anticipation of a joyous journey back home to Thrissur KL.
Having said that this is the only article or material that people queue up to get even though not free of cost, with so much desperation, that I have seen in my life.
All the countries I have travelled to, I have gotten reserved tickets even 10 mins before the journey.
I always wondered why our railways cannot run another train whenever there is huge demand for tickets on a said route.
I cherish and yearn for a day when you could book a confirmed ticket in India an hour before the train leaves and would allow me do a berth selection of choice from a seat layout May be after another 20 years. What say?
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Old 8th August 2022, 12:29   #29
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Default Re: At a Railway Reservation Center after 18 years | My experiences

Usually I travel with family to Kerala from Chennai by car or fly if my wife doesn't want to travel by car with 2 toddlers. This time around inspired by Bhpian Vigsom I have made a 1A reservation in a train. Fingers crossed.
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