Railways tightens ticket refund rules

You can no longer cancel a train ticket 24 hours before your journey and still claim a full refund.

The railways ministry, which comprehensively revised ticket refund rules on Tuesday, said the move was aimed at stopping touts from selling cancelled tickets at high prices at the last moment and at giving waitlisted passengers a little extra time to comprehend whether they could undertake their journey.

The new rules will come into effect from July 1.

The railways said it had also reduced the time wherein a passenger could claim back 75 per cent of the booking amount. For this, passengers will now need to cancel tickets six hours prior to departure, two hours fewer than earlier.

If a ticket is presented for cancellation within six hours before the train’s scheduled departure and up to two hours after the actual departure, the cancellation charge will be 50 per cent of the fare, subject to a minimum charge. Exiting rules allow the cancellation of tickets up to 12 hours after the train’s departure if the journey distance is 500 km or more. Under the new rules, no refund will be granted on a reserved ticket surrendered for cancellation two hours after the train’s actual departure.

The time for the filing of refund claims in case of unforeseen circumstances like a strike or any natural causes such as floods has also been reduced from 90 to 10 days of the train’s departure.

According to the new rules, even those with waitlisted or RAC tickets will have to cancel their tickets three hours before actual departure to get a refund after the deduction of a clerkage charge of Rs 30.

No refund will be allowed two hours after the train’s departure. Existing rules permit cancellation till three hours after departure.

Justifying the revision, the railway ministry said: “Railway Passengers (cancellation of ticket and refund of fare) Rules, 1998, have not been substantially revised in the last 15 years, during which a large number of changes have taken place in the ticketing system of Indian Railways.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Railways-tightens-ticket-refund-rules/articleshow/20771310.cms

SMS to book railway tickets from July 1

The Indian Railways will launch a pilot project of ticketing through non-Internet-based mobile phones from July 1, 2013.

In a release, the railway authorities said the objective was to facilitate anywhere, anytime and hassle-free booking of tickets.

To be launched by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the initiative will enable people using non-Internet based mobile phones to easily access railway ticketing services through SMS/IVRS/USSD and the scheme is user-friendly, secure and also eco-friendly, as no printout is required.

There will be a number (to be announced in due course) to which the SMS can be sent and there will be no need of Internet for booking tickets, making payment or cancelling tickets.

“One has to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as one’s bank. The bank will provide MMID (mobile money identifier) and OTP (one-time password) for authorisation of the payment. The passenger has to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box. The sender will receive a transaction ID and then the customer can make the payment by way of sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID as received from the bank and the password.”“On successful booking of the ticket, a message will be sent to the user by the IRCTC which will suffice as the valid authority to travel along with the photo ID in original.

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Ordinary mobile phones without Internet can be used to book tickets

Making payment for the ticket and cancellation also will be possible through SMS service

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sms-to-book-railway-tickets-from-july-1/article4851843.ece

Byappanahalli station to be coach terminus

The proposed world-class railway station at Byappnahalli will now be converted into a greenfield coach terminus.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural function of a photo exhibition organised at Venkatappa Art Gallery to commemorate the 160th year of the Indian Railways, South Western Railways General Manager Ashok Kumar Mittal said, “The proposed Byappanahalli railway station would be developed as a greenfield railway coach terminus. Two pit lines have already been constructed. Some more facilities will be developed soon to develop it as a coach terminus.” The railways has proposed to develop a world-class railway station at Byappanahalli on public private partnership mode and the state government has offered the required land for the project.

“As the private investors were not forthcoming, the Railways has now decided to develop it as greenfield coach terminus,” he said. Mittal also said nearly 50 per cent of the work on Bangalore-Hassan line is complete and the state government is yet to acquire 160 acres of land, including the one belonging to a stud farm near Tumkur.

“The Railways and the state government are collectively spending `600 to 700 crore on railway projects every year and have resolved to complete at least 120 kms of new railway line,” he said.

http://newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/Byappanahalli-station-to-be-coach-terminus/2013/06/26/article1653572.ece

Cabinet nod likely for NCR rapid rail firm

The Cabinet is likely to consider the case of setting up of a company to implement the ambitious Rapid Rail projects in the national capital region (NCR), on Thursday.

The proposal has been pushed by the Union urban development ministry. According to the proposal, the company will have a seed fund of Rs 100 crore.

As reported by TOI earlier all four NCR constituent states – Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan – will contribute 50% of this seed money for NCR Transport Corporation (NCRTC) whereas Centre will put the rest. Sources said NCRTC will also reduce burden on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation as it would take care of creating facility for similar type of long-distance rail service across NCR.

Formation of the company on the lines of Delhi Metro is crucial to expedite the project work. Ministry sources said that within two months after the Cabinet decision the company would come into existence with a full time managing director and other officials.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Cabinet-nod-likely-for-NCR-rapid-rail-firm/articleshow/20769240.cms

Refund Rules to be revised From 1st JULY 2013

REFUND RULES TO BE REVISED FROM 1ST JULY 2013

Ministry of Railways has revised and amended Refund Rules in a very comprehensive manner and notified them which shall come into force with effect from 1st July 2013. The amendments made in the Refund Rules are aimed at simplification, efficiency in processing and reduction of bogus refund claims.

Railway Passengers (Cancellation of ticket and Refund of fare) Rules, 1998 have not been substantially revised in the last 15 years during which period a large number of changes have taken place in the ticketing system of Indian Railways. Firstly, Computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS) as well as Computerised Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) have proliferated. Reservation through internet has also been introduced through which 45% of the total reserved tickets are issued. Integrated Train Enquiry System — 139 is functional through which ticket status can be obtained through SMS. The above developments warranted that the refund rules be revised comprehensively.

The major changes in the existing rules and the amendments in refund rules are as under:-

    Unused (unreserved) tickets o­n which no reservation has been made:

Existing rule

If a ticket o­n which no reservation of a seat or berth has been made is presented to the station master for cancellation refund of fare shall be made o­n every such ticket after deducting the clerkage.

(i) within three hours after the actual departure of the train for which the ticket is issued or

(ii) for any ticket valid for the whole day, within three hours after the actual departure of the last train of the day for the destination station

    Amended rule

If a ticket o­n which no reservation of a seat or berth has been made is presented for cancellation, refund of fare shall be made o­n every such ticket after deducting the clerkage.

(i)The ticket shall be presented for cancellation within three hours of issue of ticket.

(ii) In case of tickets issued in advance the ticket is presented upto 2400 hours of the day preceding the day of journey.

    Unused tickets o­n which reservation has been made

(i) if the ticket is presented for cancellation more than forty eight hours instead of the existing 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure of the train, a minimum per passenger cancellation charge shall be deducted at the flat rate of rupees o­ne hundred and twenty for air-conditioned first class/executive class, rupees o­ne hundred for air-conditioned-II tier/first class, rupees ninety for air-conditioned III-tier/ 3 economy/air-conditioned chair car, rupees sixty for sleeper class and rupees thirty for second class.

(ii) if the ticket is presented for cancellation between forty eight hours and upto six hours instead of existing 24 hours and upto 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, cancellation charge shall be twenty five per cent of the fare subject to a minimum of the cancellation charge.

(iii) if the ticket is presented for cancellation within six hours instead of existing 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train and upto two hours irrespective of distance instead of existing 3/6/12 hours for distance 200 kms/200-500 kms/500 Kms and above after the actual departure of the train, the cancellation charge shall be fifty per cent of the fare subject to a minimum of the cancellation charge.

(iv) No refund shall be granted o­n the reserved ticket if it is surrendered for cancellation after two hours of the actual departure of the train.

(v) In case, o­n a party ticket or a family ticket issued for travel of more than o­ne person, some persons have confirmed reservation and others are o­n waiting list, full refund of fare, less clerkage, shall be admissible for confirmed passengers also provided that the entire ticket is surrendered for cancellation within six hours instead of existing 4 hours before the scheduled departure of the train and upto two hours instead of existing 3 hours after actual departure of the train”.

    Unused waitlisted or RAC tickets:

    Existing rule

If the ticket is presented for cancellation upto 3/6/12 hours for distance 200 kms/200-500 kms/500 Kms and above after the actual departure of the train, except deduction of clerkage;

Provided that for night trains leaving between 21.00 hours and 06.00 hours (actual departure), refund shall be admissible at the station within the time limits specified above or within first four hours after the opening of reservation office, whichever is later.

    Amended rule

If a Waitlisted/RAC ticket is presented for cancellation, refund of fare shall be admissible after deducting the clerkage.

(i) The ticket is presented for cancellation upto three hours after the actual departure of the train irrespective of the distance.

(ii) The passenger may get the tickets cancelled from any PRS counters or the designated current counters.

(iii) No refund of fare shall be granted o­n RAC ticket /Waitlisted ticket after three hours of the actual departure of the train.

(iv) In case no current counters are available at journey originating station for night trains leaving between 21.00 hours and 06.00 hours(actual departure , refund shall be admissible at the station within first two hours after the opening of reservation office.

(v) In remote and hill areas as identified by the zonal Railways with the prior approval of the General Managers and print in their Time Tables for train leaving between 1900 hours and 0600 hours (actual departure) refund shall be admissible at the station within first two hours after the opening of reservation/booking office, in case there is no reservation counters/booking office/ current counters. Available in that area.

    Cancellation of e- tickets:

The e- ticket may be booked and cancelled through internet and the refund of fare shall be credited to the customer’s account after deducting the charges applicable.

In case of a confirmed e-ticket, refund of fare shall be granted in accordance with rule for unused tickets o­n which reservation has been made. In case of RAC e-ticket, refund of fare shall be granted in accordance with rule for unused waitlisted and RAC tickets.

In case of the waitlisted e-ticket o­n which status of all the passengers is o­n waiting list even after preparation of reservation charts, names of all such passengers booked o­n that Passenger Name Record (PNR) shall be dropped from the reservation chart and refund of fare shall be credited to the customer’s account after deducting the clerkage.

In case o­n a party e-ticket or a family e-ticket issued for travel of more than o­ne person, some persons have confirmed reservation and others are o­n the list of RAC and waiting list, then in case of passengers o­n RAC or waitlisted not travelling, a certificate has to be obtained from the ticket checking staff to that effect and refund of fare shall be processed o­nline through TDR, indicating the details of the certificate issued by ticket checking staff.

The o­nline TDR shall be filed upto seventy two hours of actual arrival of the train at passenger’s destination and the original certificate issued by the ticket checking staff is to be sent through post to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The fare shall be refunded by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to the customer’s account after due verification.

In case of e-tickets (confirmed or RAC), if the reservation charts have been prepared, o­nline TDR is required to be filed for obtaining refund. No refund of fare shall be admissible o­n e- ticket having confirmed reservation in case the request for refund is filed o­nline after two hours of the actual departure of the train.

No refund of fare shall be admissible o­n RAC e-tickets in case the request for refund is filed o­nline after three hours of the actual departure of the train.

Refund o­n Tatkal tickets:

No refund of fare shall be admissible o­n confirmed Tatkal ticket.

In case of Tatkal ticket o­n waitlist, refund of fare shall be granted in accordance with rule for unused waitlisted or RAC tickets.

In case o­n a party Tatkal ticket or a family Tatkal ticket issued for travel for more than o­ne person, some persons have confirmed reservation and others are o­n waiting list, full refund of fare, less clerkage, shall be admissible for confirmed passengers also provided that the entire Tatkal ticket is surrendered for cancellation within six hours before the scheduled departure of the train or upto two hours of the actual departure of the train.

Postponement or preponement of journey o­n a reserved, RAC or waitlisted ticket:

The postponement or preponement of journey o­n confirmed or RAC or waitlisted ticket shall be allowed in the same class and for the same destination instead of any longer distance or any higher class by the same train or by any other train for any subsequent days, subject to condition that the ticket is surrendered during the working hours of reservation office and at least forty eight hours instead of existing 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train in which originally booked.

Non-commencement or missing of journey due to late running of trains:

No cancellation charge or clerkage shall be levied and full fare shall be refunded to all passengers holding reserved, RAC and waitlisted tickets, if the journey is not undertaken due to late running of the train by more than three hours of the scheduled departure of the train from the station commencing the journey subject to condition that the ticket is surrendered upto the actual departure of the train instead of existing 3/6/12 hours for distance 200 kms/200-500 kms/500 Kms and above after the actual departure of the train

in case of e-tickets, the TDR is filed o­nline before the actual departure of the train for availing full refund.

In case the ticket is cancelled or surrendered or if the request for refund of fare is filed o­nline after the actual departure of the train, no refund of fare shall be admissible.

Lost, misplaced, torn or mutilated tickets:

If the reservation status of a lost, misplaced, torn or mutilated ticket, at the time of receipt of the application for issuance of a duplicate ticket for the purpose of undertaking journey, is confirmed or RAC and that the duplicate ticket is sought before preparation of reservation chart of the concerned train, the station master shall issue a duplicate ticket in lieu of the original ticket o­n payment of rupees fifty per passenger in case of second and sleeper class and rupees o­ne hundred per passenger for other classes instead of existing clerkage charge.

Application for refund of Passenger Reservation System (PRS) tickets in other circumstances:

For refund of fare under circumstances other than those specified in these rules or under circumstances like ‘bandh’ or agitations or floods, etc., the passengers could not reach the reservation counter or station or current counters for cancellation of tickets, in those cases, a TDR shall be issued to the passenger and the passenger may apply for refund of fare within ten days instead existing 90 days from the day of commencement of journey to the Chief Commercial Manager (Refunds) of the railway administration under whose jurisdiction the TDR issuing station comes, enclosing the original TDR. The TDR shall be issued o­nly upto three days instead of existing 30 daysafter the scheduled departure of the train.

http://www.scr.indianrailways.gov.in/view_detail.jsp?lang=0&id=0,5,268&dcd=2533&did=1372160687670622A25EF300B04C094D6D215618306B5.web91

Pir Panjal rail tunnel ready; PM to inaugurate today

Nine years ago, when Sharanappa Yalal relocated to Kashmir as project manager of the 11-km Pir Panjal rail tunnel, the longest proposed in India, most locals told him it was never going to happen. Yet after a three-year delay, technical snags and several complications, the Rs 800-crore project is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow.

Besides the one of its kind tunnel, the Rs 1,800-crore 240 Mw Uri hydroelectric project, situated very close to the Line of Control or LoC, is also expected to be declared ready soon. The horseshoe-shaped diversion tunnel, created for generating hydropower, will benefit Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh. Around 13 per cent of the generation will go to Jammu & Kashmir. Both projects had been given to the HCC Ltd for implementation.

The Pir Panjal tunnel, which runs below the 2.5 km Jawahar tunnel, connects the Bichelri valley of Banihal in Jammu with Qazikund in Kashmir and is to link J&K to the Indian rail network through the year. It is part of the 345-km Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail line, aimed at connecting Jammu with Baramulla “Earlier due to snowfall, the Jawahar tunnel would have to be closed during the winter months. But the Pir Panjal tunnel is at a lower height and long enough to keep snowfall at bay,” said Yalal.

He added the project would be very helpful for army personnel and their cargo’s movement.

While both projects are of strategic importance, local business and trade also stand to benefit. Irtif Lone, a Srinagar-based businessman, said, “Freight rates would come down for raw material if goods are brought on rail instead of trucks. This has been one hurdle to the industrialisation of Kashmir. Besides, it will impact the prices of commodities.”

Challenges

Drilling into the capricious rocks was not an easy task for both projects. At various points the technical team encountered problems of seepage and softer topography which made the work difficult. The tunnel project boasts of using technology never used before in India. The New Australian Tunneling Method was brought in for observing three-dimensional movement of the rocks and avoiding collapses whenever weaker rock was being drilled. The tunnel has also used ballast-less tracks, easier on maintenance. A three-metre wide road runs alongside the track inside the tunnel as a safety measure to keep the tunnel accessible under all circumstances. The walls are lined with a water proofing membrane brought from Italy, keeping the all-weather tunnel dry.

Technical challenges aside, construction or any industrial activity in Kashmir comes with its own set of problems. The hydroelectric project began as an earthquake took a huge toll on lives and property in the valley. Security issues also played a part in slowing the pace. The proximity of the dam to the LoC meant checks on movement of labour and officers working on the project were stringent. Besides, for days together, all construction work would come to a halt during the various stone pelting incidents during 2010 and after.

Both projects employed 2,700 labourers together, working in three shifts through the day. Skilled manpower was in short supply. Retaining them was another problem, since workers would leave the site for other jobs like farming or return to their villages when winter came. While snowfall during peak winter did not bring construction to a complete halt, it drastically slowed activity. Work also had to be stopped during the Amarnath Yatra. Amid all this, getting the logistics in place and keeping the smooth supply of raw materials was a major challenge.

With several dams now constructed on the Jhelum river, Pakistan has gone for international arbitration, since it reduces the flow of water to them. India has so far maintained its stand that it will adhere to the the minimum level of flow required. A final decision is still to come from the court.

There are also reservations among the localites on whether trains from Baramulla to Qazikund will be able to have a smooth run when it snows, outside of the tunnel. There is also scepticism on the power situation. “I don’t think there will be any significant impact on the power situation in the state. For so much that we generate we get so little, since everything goes to the central grid,” said Lone.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/pir-panjal-rail-tunnel-ready-pm-to-inaugurate-today-113062400932_1.html

Indians prefer trains for long distance travel: Study

A recent study of railways shows that the trains continue to be the most preferred medium for long distance travel in India.

The survey conducted by RailYatra.in shows that 76 percent travellers in India prefer trains for long distance travel, while 50 percent people take trains to visit their hometowns and cities.

“It is now reaffirmed by this study that railway is the lifeline of the Indian travellers,” said Manish Rathi, chief executive officer of RailYatri.in.

Not only for long distance travel, trains have also emerged as the popular mode of transport for daily commutation.

“This study aligns with the traditional view that the train is a popular mode of transport for comfortable travelling in our country,” Rathi added.

RailYatri.in provides the Indian railway passengers personalised real time updates on their journey through internet, email, text messages and voice messages.

http://www.sify.com/finance/indians-prefer-trains-for-long-distance-travel-study-news-national-ng0ruAeacdj.html?ref=slideout

Sonia, PM to launch rail link to Kashmir on June 26

The much-awaited railway section linking Kashmir valley with rest of the country will be launched on June 26 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will jointly flag off the first train.

The 18-km-long section between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir will provide an all-weather surface link to the Valley which often gets cut off from the rest of the country due to snowfall during winters.

Northern Railway is coordinating with the Jammu and Kashmir government to arrange bus service from Uddhampur to Banihal for passengers to avail train service for the Valley.

“The bus service will be available from Udhampur to facilitate passengers availing train from Banihal next month,” a senior Northern Railway official said.

The Banihal-Qazigund section, which includes an 11-km-long tunnel, will reduce the distance from 35 km (by road) to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore.

“It was a challenging task. Besides the difficult terrain, land was acquired for the Kashmir rail link project in adverse law and order situation in the state,” the official said.

Train service is already operational within Kashmir valley in the 118-km-long route between Qazigund and Baramulla in north Kashmir.

“The mandatory inspection of the track by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is being done and the clearance is awaited. The line is expected to open on June 26,” the official said.

Trial run on this section was successfully done on December 28 last year and since then trains carrying stones are running on regular basis.

Work on this section was executed by IRCON, a PSU under railways. It will have two main railway stations – Banihal in Jammu division and Qazigund in Kashmir division.

In addition to these stations, a halt station is also being provided at Hillar village in Anantnag district for the convenience of local public.

IRCON Director (Works) Hitesh Khanna said commissioning of this section would help realise the dream of connecting Jammu region with Kashmir valley. He said it was Maharaja Pratap Singh who first explored the possibility of connecting Jammu to Kashmir Valley with a railway line way back in 1898.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/sonia-pm-to-launch-rail-link-to-kashmir-on-june-26-113062000533_1.html

Rly ropes in NID to give coaches facelift

After successfully designing the blue colour scheme coaches for Mumbai local trains, National Institute of Design (NID) is set to redesign mainstream Indian Railway coaches as well.

NID has signed an MoU with the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Chennai to redesign sleeper, II AC and AC chair car coaches. From interior panels to lighting to toilets, all the elements will be redesigned to cater to the changing needs of passengers with special focus on safety.

“With changing times, passenger requirements have changed. There are a whole lot of things that people want in the journey. We want to cater to their needs”, says S Srinivas, chief design engineer, ICF.

“Our aim is to design coaches which are a mix of aesthetics, functionality and technology. We have done it in Mumbai before”, said NID director Pradyumna Vyas. The project will also look into the passenger amenities for disabled people. The project will include colour schemes, interior and exterior signages.

“In a country like ours, we need rugged structures, the designs will be prepared keeping in mind the longevity factor”, says Vyas. “We are looking for design changes which are easy to manufacture, easy to maintain and can survive the strain because we have large number of long-distance trains”, adds Srinivas.

ICF is the premier production unit of Indian railways at Chennai manufacturing 1,600 railway passenger coaches every year.

CHUGGING IN CHANGE
WHAT NID WILL REDESIGN IN THE FIRST PHASE OF 3 YEARS…
Interior panels, seats, berths, lighting, fans, flooring, hand rails, ladders, painting, colour scheme and signages of Sleeper, II AC and AC chair car coaches

SPECIAL FOCUS ON…
Special amenities for disabled passengers
Passenger friendly toilets
WHAT WILL BE USED…
Anti-injury elements, environment-friendly material, special fire safety equipment, indigenous material

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Search&Source=Find&Key=TOIA/2013/06/24/1/Ar00102%2Exml&CollName=TOI_AHMEDABAD_DAILY_2009&DOCID=600867&Keyword=%28%3Cmany%3E%3Cstem%3Erailway%29&skin=TOINEW&AppName=1&PageLabel=1%20&ViewMode=HTML

Indian Railways through photographs

The South Western Railway is organising a seven-day photography exhibition from June 25 to July 1 at the Government Museum and Venkatappa Art Gallery, Kasturba Road, Bangalore, to commemorate 160 years of Indian Railways. The exhibition will portray the evolution of Indian Railways, with focus on the first 100 years of its existence. It will be inaugurated by Ashok Kumar Mital, General Manager, South Western Railway.

The photo exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is free.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/indian-railways-through-photographs/article4844748.ece