Indian Railways has taken the decision to extend the advance reservation period (ARP) from 30 days to 120 days for its special Rajdhani trains as well as the Mail Express trains that will commence services June 1 onwards.
What it essentially means is that the passengers will be able to book train tickets up to four months in advance.
The decision comes as the Centre considers normalising passenger train services in the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown that has battered the economy, throwing everyday life out of gear.
"Ministry of Railways has decided to increase the advance reservation period of all Specials notified from 30 days to 120 days," the ministry said in a statement on Thursday adding that the parcel and luggage booking shall be allowed in all the 230 trains (30 special Rajdhani and 200 special mail express trains)
According to a Railway Ministry spokesperson, the changes shall be implemented from 8 am on the train booking date of May 31 onwards.
He stated that other terms such as Tatkal quota allocation of seats to roadside stations, current booking etc will be the same as is the schedule in routine timetabled trains.
The Railways had suspended all its passenger, mail and express train operations from March 25 in the wake of countrywide lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Shramik Special trains began on May 1 to ferry stranded migrant labourers, pilgrims, tourists, and students back to their home states.
Railways also started the services of 30 Special Rajdhani Express trains on May 12 and is planning to run 200 special mail and express trains from June 1.