Train tickets will be available for booking even five minutes before the train departs, as the Indian Railways has decided to restore from October 10 the earlier system of preparation of second reservation charts 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of trains from stations. The system had been modified to two hours in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic for the last few months.
Earlier, due to the COVID-19 situation, the first reservation chart used to be prepared at least four hours before the scheduled departure of trains. After that, the available accommodation could be booked across PRS counters, as well as through the internet, on a first-come-first-serve basis till preparation of second reservation charts.
Normally, second reservation charts are prepared between 30 minutes to 5 minutes before scheduled or rescheduled time of departure of trains. Cancellation of already booked tickets is also permitted during this period as per provisions of Refund Rules.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, instructions were issued to shift the time of preparation of the second reservation chart to two hours before scheduled or rescheduled time of train departure. Now, the older system will be restored.
“As per the 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 or rescheduled time of departure of train," the statement said.
"Accordingly, the ticket booking facility — both online and on PRS ticket counters — shall be available, before preparation of the second chart. CRIS will make necessary modifications in the software accordingly so as to restore this provision with effect from October 10,” it said.
The Railways had suspended all passenger trains services due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown from March 25. However, it resumed services in a staggered manner beginning with Shramik Special trains to help stranded migrant workers reach their home states from May 1.
(With PTI inputs)