NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has made the booking of coaches in trains for special occasions like a marriage party or a religious tour easier. Passengers will no longer have to stand in long lines at the counters to make the bookings as the tickets can be booked online now, according to instructions issued by the railway board.
Booking of special trains, coaches, saloons on full tariff rate (FTR) can be booked through a "single window booking system" of the Indian Railway Tourism and Catering Corporation (IRCTC). "Henceforth, any individual or party seeking to book trains/coaches on FTR shall approach the IRCTC and the IRCTC will book trains/coaches online on behalf of the individual or party", stated a circular issued by the Railway Board.
The online booking of FTR is on a pilot basis and booking is currently allowed for a journey starting from stations of Western Railway only. The FTR registration can be done maximum 6 months in advance and minimum 30 days prior to journey date.
The party concerned needs to provide the booking type, journey details of coaches, and route. After submission of the request, they will get a reference number and registration amount to be paid. Party will pay the registration amount against the provided reference number to get FTR number. Payment of registration amount must be received within 6 days (including FTR request submit day). After 6 days, FTR Reference Number will be flushed and the entire procedure will have to be followed again to book coach/train.
Till now, to book such coaches or trains, the concerned party had to go to the chief booking supervisor or station master of the station from where the journey would commence and provide a written request containing journey details for FTR booking. After depositing the money, they would be given a receipt with a unique FTR number printed on it.
Mostly special trains or coaches were booked by travel agencies taking tour parties for religious tours, by MNCs taking employees for trips, schools booking for educational tours and even individuals travelling with a large contingent, officials said.
However, a charge of five per cent on the total fare to be levied has been introduced, over and above a 30 per cent service charge on such bookings. The railway has fixed a security deposit of Rs 50,000 per coach and for special trains a minimum of 18 coaches will be charged. The entire transaction in the new online system will have to be digital.