CHENNAI: The Indian Railways has lifted restrictions under the Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ), allowing foreigners to book tickets in all classes. So far, foreign tourists who travel in Indian trains are allowed to book tickets in the first AC, second AC and executive classes through IRCTC website upto 365 days in advance. “Now, foreign tourists and NRIs will be allowed to book tickets under FTQ in sleeper class, 3rd AC, chair car and second seater classes in all trains,” a senior official from the IRCTC told Express quoting the recent Railway Board’s directive. The move is mainly aimed at promoting tourism, added the sources.
Under the FTQ category, the Railways has earmarked four berths per coach in sleeper and 3rd AC classes while seats have been parked per coach in chair car classes. In the second classes, the Railways has allotted five seats per train under FTQ.
As for upper classes, eight berths are earmarked in first AC (two cabins), four berths in first class/2-tier AC sleeper composite coach, eight berths per second AC class and 10 seats in every executive class in trains. To provide confirmed accommodation in premier trains such as Duronto, Shatabdi and Rajdhani Expresses and upper class coaches in regular express trains, in July 2017 the railways increased the ticket booking period for foreign nationals upto 365 days.
The tourists, who placed their demand through IRCTC website, are allotted berths when the advance ticket booking (120 days in advance) gets opened. The zonal railways will allot berths to each class, depending on the demand in particular section in accordance with the Railway Board guidelines.
Foreigners can book tickets with the help of passport number, nationality and international mobile number. They will uniformly be charged at 1.5 times the base fare and RS 200 will be charged by the IRCTC per ticket additionally. Ticket booking for foreigners through the Indian rail passes and through general sales agents was withdrawn a few years ago.
Change in local train services
CHENNAI: The railways has changed the local train services from April 11 to 14. According to a statement, 14 trains operating between Chennai Beach/Chennai suburban terminals and Arakkonam/Tituttani, will run up to Thiruvalangadu. In addition, the train that leaves Chennai at 4 am to Tiruttani, will fully be cancelled from April 11 to 14. The Chennai - Tirupati MEMU fast local will also not be operated between April 11 and 14.