A railway ministry release said the measure had been taken to prevent overcrowding of the website by touts and travel agents, which made it inaccessible to ordinary users.
"This significant measure is expected to provide increased accessibility of the railways ticket-booking website to the ordinary users,” it added. Indian Railways sells its e-tickets through website hosted by its subsidiary Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
To book e-tickets through IRCTC website, one has to register himself with it either as an individual citizen, eligible to book limited number of tickets in one go, or as travel agents, entitled to book large number of tickets after payments of some fee to the railways.
For online booking of a ticket, one has to subsequently identify through a password if he is a individual passenger or ticket booking agent. The ministry release said the decision to make the IRCTC website inaccessible to touts and travel agents from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., the opening hour of the booking, has been taken following complaints that they generally book a large chunk of seats and berths in the very first hour of the opening of the booking for tatkal tickets.
The ministry said it has launched a drive at all major reservation offices to prevent touts and unscrupulous elements from cornering the seats and berths in the first hour of the opening day of the advance reservation period for various trains.