Indian Railways will prepare two reservation charts before the departure of trains from November 18.
The first chart (first reservation chart) would be prepared at least four hours prior to departure to enable passengers to know their ticket status and plan their journey properly, said a statement from Western Railway.
Passengers who want to travel at the last minute may then use the first reservation chart to ascertain availability of berths and book tickets over the reservation counters or the internet as reservations would be thrown open again.
Waitlisted passengers and those holding seats but not berths (reservation against cancellation or RAC) will be given the option to cancel their tickets up to 30 minutes prior to departure of the train, failing which they will have to forfeit the money. Earlier, refund on RAC /waitlisted tickets could be sought over the counter up to three hours after the departure of the train.
A second (and final) reservation chart will be prepared before the departure of train and handed over to onboard ticket checking staff. This move seeks to ensure optimum utilisation of train accommodation and enhanced earnings for the Railways.
However, passengers can book/cancel/modify the tickets even after the preparation of first reservation chart but up to 30 minutes prior to the departure of train across any PRS counters as well as on internet (e-ticket) as per extant provision of refund rules.
A week ago, Indian Railways had doubled its cancellation charges per passenger, for each of its classes to ₹240 for 1st AC, ₹200 for 2nd AC, ₹180 for 3rd AC, ₹120 for sleeper class and ₹60 for second class.
After the success of installing mini-LCD televisions on New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi, now Indian Railways is all set to introduce the on-board personalized entertainment system in five more Shatabdi trains. Trains which are being considered for installation of TV sets include Bhopal-New Delhi Shatabdi, Kalka Shatabdi, Lucknow Shatabdi, Ajmer Shatabdi and Dehradun Shatabdi.
According to railways sources, on-board personalized entertainment system in the Taj Express has also been approved on a pilot project basis. Under the plan, an eight-inch LCD TV will be installed by the railways behind every seat of the two AC chair cars on the train. Once the pilot run is over, tenders will be floated inviting private firms to run the on-board entertainment systems.
Apart from the Agra-bound train, five more Shatabdi trains starting from New Delhi are expected to get this facility.
According to railways sources, “This will be a free of cost service for passengers, who will be able to catch up on news and entertainment, including sports on the go.”
In the beginning of this year, Kalka Shatabdi had successful trail runs of these on-board entertainment systems. In 2010, a similar pilot project was successful but the private contractor who was given the contract backed out, primarily due to lack of revenue .The private firm which manages the system generates revenue through advertisement.
Apart from this, 74 trains have been provided with on-board housekeeping service this financial year against 34 in 2013-14. While 10,500 bio-toilets have been fitted in 3,240 coaches, a bio-cum-vacuum toilet system has been introduced in Dibrugarh Rajdhani on a trial basis. Eleven stations, including Agra Cantt, now have Wi-Fi service.