Although one month is left to the Iranian new year, Norouz, which starts on 21. March, many train tickets are already sold out.
“Currently from the 1.65 million train-seats available for the Norouz holidays, 300 thousand have been booked and in some routes, the capacities have been filled,” says Director of Planning at Iran Railway Co (RAJA), Ali Kazemimanesh.
Mr Kazemimanesh gives more details: “The pre-sale of tickets for Norouz (15th March-5th April) were done online (35%) and in person (65%). For the Tehran to Mashhad route, passenger tickets for the 17th, 18th and 19th of March have sold out. The second most popular route is Tehran to Bandar Abbas where all tickets up to 27th of March have been sold out.”
Out of the 1.65 million seats, 730 thousand seats are for routes to Mashhad. Many Iranians travel to the holly city of Mashhad, Imam Reza’s Shrine, for the New Year. Mr. Kazemimanesh also announced a two-hour reduction from the duration of this journey: “Based on the schedule, trains operating in the Tehran-Mashhad route will complete the journey in 9.5 hours whereas last year this journey lasted for 11.5 hours.”
RAJA has stated that in previous years, 6 seat compartments were more in demand but this year demand is greater for 4 seat compartments.
By decommissioning 61 old wagons which had been in use for 45 years, RAJA believes that the quality of services has improved by up to 20%. RAJA estimates that from the 15th of March to 5th of April, 4300 passenger trains operated by 11 rail transport companies will transfer passengers along different routes.