Indian Railways will restart limited passenger service from tomorrow (12 May) to 15 destinations across the country from Delhi while the worst may not be over with coronavirus.
The national transporter has firmed up plans to resume limited train operations as a special service for major cities — Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
According to a decision taken by Railway Ministry, passenger train service will be allowed to resume gradually, with the AC train operations to be launched with 15 pairs of trains as a special service from New Delhi Railway Station to these cities.
There are also provisions of return journey to the capital from these stations.
While freight service was operational to transport essential commodities, passenger service was cancelled since 22 March 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 operations of up to 300 trains everyday as “Shramik Special” for stranded migrants.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm today (11 May), and will be available only on the IRCTC website. Ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets or platform tickets would 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 mask 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 10 May a total of 366 Shramik Special trains have been operationalised from various states across the country, in which 287 trains had reached their destinations and 79 trains are in transit (as of 10 May).
These 287 trains were terminated in various states like Andhra Pradesh (one train), Bihar (87 trains), Himachal Pradesh (one train), Jharkhand (16 trains), Madhya Pradesh (24 trains), Maharashtra (three trains), Odisha (20 trains), Rajasthan (four trains), Telangana (two trains), Uttar Pradesh (127 trains), West Bengal (two 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, a maximum of around 1,200 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.
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