The Ministry of Railways announced on Sunday that its passenger reservation system will be shut down for 6 hours during the lean business hours of the night for the next 7 days in order to gradually return to pre-COVID levels of service.

“To normalize passenger services and revert back in a phased manner to the pre-covid levels of service, the Railways Passenger Reservation System ( PRS) will be shut down for 6 hrs during the lean business hrs of the night for the next 7 days,” it said.  

Also Read | No longer mandatory for government employees to travel via Air India

“This is to enable upgradation of system data and updating of new train numbers. Since huge amount of past (old train numbers) and current passenger booking data are to be updated in all Mail/ Express trains, this is being planned in a series of carefully calibrated steps and implemented during night hours in order to minimize impact on ticketing services,” the ministry said.

The activity will take place from the 14th and 15th of November to 20th and 21st of November, starting at 23:30 hrs and ending at 0530 hrs. 

Also Read | Railtel IPO: All you need to know before investing in India’s largest telecom infra provider

No PRS Services (ticket reservations, current bookings, cancellations, inquiry services, and so on) will be available during these 6 hours (from 23:30 to 05:30 hrs), according to the statement. 

During this time, railway personnel will ensure that trains are charted in advance to begin running at the affected times. Except for PRS services, all other enquiry services, including 139 services, will be available as usual.

Also Read | Union Budget 2021: Metro Lite, Metro Neo announced for Tier 1 cities, peripheral areas of Tier 1 cities

The Railways announced on Friday that the ‘special’ tag for mail and express trains will be discontinued, and ticket prices will revert to pre-pandemic levels with immediate effect. 

The Railways have been running only special trains since the lockdown was lifted. It began with long-distance trains and has since expanded to include short-distance passenger services with “slightly higher fares”.

“Ministry of Railways have decided that all the regular time tabled trains which are presently operating as MSPC (mail/express special) & HSP (holiday special) train services, included in the working time table,2021, shallbe operated with regular numbers and with fare and categorisationas applicable,” the Railway Board said in a letter to the principal chief commercial managers.

The board stated that second-class trains will continue to run as reserved, with the exception of any special case. “On already booked tickets in advance, no difference of fare either to be collected by Railways or any refund due to already booked passengers shall be permitted,” the board said. 

Trains will now be operated with their regular numbers, and fares will revert to normal pre-COVIS prices, according to a letter sent to zonal railways on Friday. 

Special trains and holiday special trains have slightly higher ticket prices.