FAQ: Will Train Tickets Be Available 5 Minutes Before Departure?

Regular trains continue to be unavailable as the Indian Railways is running special trains in a staggered manner.

2 min read
Passengers board a train in Lucknow. Image used for representation.

Starting 10 October, train tickets may even be available even five minutes before the train leaves the station. While this was common during pre-COVID times, the practice was suspended amid the pandemic.

Regular trains continue to remain unavailable as the Indian Railways is running special trains in a staggered manner.

So, until when can you book the tickets? What are the new rules? Here's all you need to know.

Until what time before departure can tickets be booked for a train?

The first chart is prepared four hours before scheduled departure. In case of cancellation or availability of seats, passengers can book before the second chart is prepared.

This happens 30 to 5 minutes before departure. So that passengers could book their tickets until then.

What changed during COVID lockdown?

During the lockdown, the second chart was prepared two hours prior to departure. Therefore, passengers could not book tickets half an hour before the time of departure.

This is now being restored to pre-pandemic days.

Does this mean that the Indian Railways is starting to operate as per pre-pandemic schedule?

No, only special trains will continue to operate until further notice.

Where can I book tickets last-minute? Can I book them at the station counters?

Not really. When unlocking began, tickets were available only online to avoid over crowding at stations. However, now you can book tickets both online and over the counter.

What about cancellation?

Tickets can be cancelled prior to the preparation of the second chart, as per the provisions of refund.

Have new trains been announced for the festive season?

Yes, the Indian Railways has announced 39 new pairs of special trains. They are expected to be operational from 15 October.

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