Need coaches for a marriage party or a religious tour? Now, it can be done online, according to instructions issued by the railway board.
According to a circular by the Railway Board, booking of special trains, coaches, saloons on full tariff rate (FTR) shall now 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 the circular issued earlier this month.
Currently, 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. The process was cumbersome, officials said, which necessitated the change.
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, now, a charge of five per cent on the total fare shall be levied, 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, the board has said.