New Delhi: The Indian Railways will ‘gradually’ resume passenger train operations from tomorrow. This comes as India inches towards the end of the third phase of nationwide lockdown to fight against COVID-19. To mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Central government announced a pan India lockdown in the last week of March. All passenger train services have been on halt since March 22.
Starting from Tuesday, the Railways plans to run 15 pairs of trains each day. These trains will run as a special train from New Delhi station Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi. The trains will have only a “few stoppages,” the official said.
The trains scheduled to start this week will be air-conditioned. The fares will be similar to Rajdhani Express fares, a railway ministry official said.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start from today at 4 pm. Passengers can only purchase tickets via IRCTC website or IRCTC mobile app. The ticket booking counters at railway stations shall remain closed in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic. No provision of tatkal or premium tatkal accommodation will be available.
Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. No platforms tickets will be issued. All the travellers must wear a face mask and undergo thorough screenings at the stations. You may need to arrive stations a little early, at least an hour in advance to go through screening and other protocols that need to be maintained.
Only asymptomatic passengers or those not showing any symptoms of coronavirus infection will be allowed to travel. People travelling in these trains may not be given blankets and linen to reduce the chances of the spread of coronavirus,. Temperatures will be kept slightly higher and railways will ensure the maximum supply of only fresh air. The pantry services will not be available in these trains.
Indian Railways plans to run up to 1500 ‘shramik special’ trains to ferry stranded migrants in the coming week. More special trains on new routes will be coming soon based on the availability of coaches. The shramik special trains include only sleeper coaches and have no stoppages.