Indian Railways will restart passenger service from May 12 in a limited way for 15 destinations from here.
Gearing up for resuming the passenger operation, Indian Railways has firmed up plans to launch limited train operation as special service for 15 major cities across the country while the worst may not be over with novel coronavirus.
To begin with, as per the decision taken by Railway Ministry, passenger-carrying train service will be allowed to resume gradually with the AC train operations with 15 pairs of trains as special trains from New Delhi Station connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
There are also provisions of return journey to the capital from these stations.
While freight operation was operational to transport essential commodities, passenger service was cancelled since March 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to railways, there are plans for launching more special services on new routes, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and adequate number of coaches being reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains everyday as “Shramik Special” for stranded migrants.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11 and will be available only on the IRCTC website (https://www.irctc.co.in/). Ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets or platform tickets shall be issued. Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations.
It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course.
Subsequent to the Ministry of Home Affairs order regarding movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places by special trains,Indian Railways had decided to operate “Shramik Special” trains.
Meanwhile, the Railways is continuing with Shramik Specials to ferry stranded migrants. As on May 10, 2020, a total of 366 “Shramik Special” trains have been operationalized from various states across the country, in which 287 trains had reached its destination and 79 trains are in transit.
These 287 trains were terminated in various states like Andhra Pradesh (1 Train), Bihar (87 Trains), Himachal Pradesh (1 Train), Jharkhand (16 Trains), Madhya Pradesh (24 Trains), Maharashtra (3 Trains), Odisha (20 Trains), Rajasthan(4 Trains), Telangana(2 Trains), Uttar Pradesh (127 Trains), West Bengal(2 Trains).
These trains have ferried migrants to cities like Tiruchchirappalli, Titlagarh, Barauni, Khandwa, Jagannathpur, Khurda Road, Prayagraj, Chhapra, Balia, Gaya, Purnia, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Hatia, Basti, Katihar, Danapur, Muzzaffarpur, Saharsa etc.
In these Shramik Special Trains, maximum around 1200 passengers can travel observing social distancing. Proper screening of passengers is ensured before boarding the train. During the journey, passengers are given free meals and water.