Indian Railways plans to provide relief to the waitlisted passengers with the introduction of special ‘clone train’ in the routes which generally has high passenger traffic.
The clone trains will begin in a phased manner in the next 15 days and will issue a notification about the same.
At a media briefing, the railway board chairman VK Yadav said,”Railways will monitor all the trains that are currently in operation to determine which trains have a long waiting list.
“Wherever there is a demand for a particular train, wherever the waiting list is long, we will run a clone train ahead of the actual train, so that passengers can travel,” he said.
VK Yadav said the stoppages of the clone trains will be less than the special trains. “The idea is to have stoppages at major stations for clone trains to meet demands of people,” he said.
What is a clone train?
A clone train will be train which will be running with the same number like the actual train. For example the 12423/12424 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express has all the seats got reserved and still has a heavy demand of waitlisted passengers.
So in that case, Indian Railways will put another rake of the Rajdhani Express with the same number just to carry waitlisted ticket-holders.
Moreover, the waitlisted passengers will be informed about their berths in the clone train soon after the reservation charts for the original scheduled trains are drawn up four hours before departure.
However, it will be a logistical challenge for the Railways as it will require additional rakes for running the clone train. Indian Railways will try to run these type of trains from major cities initially where there are additional rakes.
Also Indian Railways will require to upgrade its Passenger Reservation System(PRS). At present Indian Railways disables bookings of the train ticket after a waiting list for a train touches 400 in sleeper class, 300 in 3AC or chair car, 30 in first class and 100 in second class.
Indian Railways is already running the ‘Vikalp Scheme’ where the passengers are given choice to book the ticket in an alternate train if their waitlisted tickets do not get confirmed on the train they had opted for. However a major drawback of the ‘Vikalp Scheme’ is that the travelling time of the passenger may increase if he/ she is given reservation in an another train.
A senior government official told Mint that this is an opportune time to introduce these duplicate trains as Indian Railways will now have more clarity on the exact demand, based on which it can offer productive routes for these trains. “It is better to run trains on routes where there is more demand, than keeping the assets idle. We tried to implement this earlier, but not enough path was available,” the official said.