The Indian Railways will start operating passenger trains gradually from Tuesday for the first time in nearly two months after they were stopped to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The national transporter will begin booking tickets for the first set of 15 pairs of trains from 4 pm on Monday through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRTC), it’s subsidiary online ticketing arm.
Officials have said the resumption of passenger trains will allow people who had been stranded to book trains. This is also for those who need to get back to work and have been stuck since the lockdown.
Here are 10 things you need to know:
* These 15 trains will operate from New Delhi connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi. These will also include return journeys.
* These trains will include only AC coaches with a similar fare structure as the premium Rajdhani trains. The trains will include 1 AC, 2 AC and 3 AC class and will run with nearly full capacity. The trains will also have stoppages at major routes.
*ONLINE TICKETING WILL BE ALLOWED and ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets, including platform tickets, will be issued.
* Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. Passengers could be asked to reach the station with time in hand for smooth security clearance.
* It will be mandatory for passengers to wear face masks on these trains, which will only have air-conditioned (AC) coaches and charge fares equivalent to that in premium Rajdhani trains.
* People will be screened at the station and only those not showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be allowed to travel.
* The passengers travelling on these trains may not be given blankets and linen. Temperatures will be kept slightly higher and we will ensure the maximum supply of only fresh air. There will be no pantry service on these trains.
* There is no clarity, yet, whether senior citizens will be allowed to board the train.
* Shramik Special trains, which began on May 1 to ferry stranded migrants, will continue to run. Unlike the passenger trains, the Shramik Special trains include only sleeper coaches and have no stoppages.
* The railways will resume more special services on other routes based on the availability of coaches after reserving 20,000 of them for Covid-19 care centres and to “enable operation of up to 300 trains every day as Shramik Special for stranded migrants”, according to the ministry.