The Indian Railways is slowly moving to make its services convenient for customers. Its latest bid to provide relief to passengers is the preparation of second reservation charts 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of trains from stations starting from 10 October.
For the last few months, due to the pandemic, the system was modified to prepare charts two hours ahead of the departure.
In a statement, the Railways said as per the established pre-COVID period instructions, the first reservation chart was prepared at least four hours before the scheduled departure of trains. Thereafter, the available accommodation could be booked across PRS counters as well as through the internet on a first-come-first-serve basis until preparation of second reservation charts.
The second reservation charts were prepared between 30 minutes to 5 minutes before scheduled/rescheduled time of departure of trains. Cancellation of already booked tickets was also permitted during this period as per provisions of Refund Rules.
"As per request of Zonal Railways for ensuring convenience of rail passengers, the matter has been examined and it has been decided that the second reservation chart shall be prepared at least 30 minutes before scheduled/rescheduled time of departure of train," the statement said.
"Accordingly, ticket booking facility, both online and on PRS ticket counters, shall be available, before preparation of second chart. CRIS will make necessary modifications in the software accordingly so as to restore this provision with effect from October 10," it said.
After the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, service of Indian Railways resumed on 1 May Shramik Special trains. More trains were launched in June.
In the latest round of addition of these special trains, the Railway Board has approved 39 new special trains from all zones. However, the date of operation has not yet been announced. Most of the trains belong to the category of AC Express, Duronto, Rajdhani, and Shatabdi.