Did you also get a WhatsApp message about the great new initiative by the Railway Minister, Piyush Goel? The message lists lists five categories of people who are now eligible to transfer confirmed railway tickets. It seems like a simple and effective idea. These small improvements make a big difference. Why did no one think of it before? Or did they? Let us check it out…


The message is simple. Other than listing the categories it states that it is a “very good initiative by our Railway Minister Sri Piyush Goyal”

Alt News tried to uncover the truth behind this claim and stumbled upon some very interesting information.

In May 2016, the same message was in circulation for Suresh Prabhu. The OneIndia portal carried a news item that “The Ministry of Railways headed by Mr Suresh Prabhu has given one more reason to passengers to rejoice. Now, passengers will be able to transfer their confirmed tickets to their family members, if they are unable to travel at the last moment.” The website quoted the Indian Railway website and provided the same five ways to change in the name of passenger holding confirmed reservation. The India.com portal carried the same news in June 2017 too saying Indian Railways now lets you transfer your reserved train tickets to another person.

Alt News found a Times of India report dated April 2011 about Indian Railway introducing a facility to transfer tickets. All the five categories can be found in this article.

We found that the page with the five categories existed on Indian Railway website since 2010 without any changes. The following snapshot is dated April 7, 2010, and was captured by Wayback machine which snapshots various webpages on the Internet at regular intervals.

wayback machine indian railways

The story goes back even earlier. The Railway Act of 1989, prescribes that “the Central Government may, by notification, make rules to carry out the…. circumstances under which change of names of passengers, having reserved seats or berths, may be permitted”. The Indian Railway’s Passenger (change of names) Rules, 1990, lay down the five situations under which a passenger on whose name the ticket is issued can transfer the reserved ticket to someone else.

Passenger change of rules 1990

So a rule from 1990 has made it to a WhatsApp message in 2017, crediting Piyush Goyal for a groundbreaking change. The need for such a desperate image boosting was perhaps felt after the recent spate of derailments. It is amusing to find a policy change made in 1990 being celebrated as achievement 27 years later. Thankfully such claims can be debunked almost as quickly as they are made.