Bookings for limited trains start today: Guidelines for passengers
Nearly two months after train services were suspended across India, the Railways announced on Sunday that limited trains will run from Tuesday, bookings for which will start at 4 pm today on IRCTC's website. The services will resume with 15 "special" trains, all originating from the New Delhi Railway Station. The passengers, however, will have to adhere to guidelines rolled out by the Centre.
Days before lockdown 3.0 ends, government starts train services
The decision to resume train services, five days before the third phase of lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17, is being seen as a big step towards normalcy. Since March 25, 1.3 billion Indians are living under a lockdown, necessitated to keep a check on the spread of coronavirus. The lockdown has been extended twice. In lockdown 3.0, some relaxations were given.
Face masks, social distancing a must: Railways
These limited trains will run with AC coaches only and minimum stoppages. Passengers having confirmed and valid tickets will be allowed at the Delhi station, the circular explained. They will have to wear face masks at all times, will be screened at departure, and will have to maintain social distancing. Railways said schedule details will be released gradually.
No concession, no bookings through "agents"
No concession will be given to passengers and fares will be similar to those for Rajdhani trains. Neither tatkal bookings nor waitlist will be allowed. Tickets will not be booked through "agents". The tickets will list dos and don'ts for passengers like arriving at the departure station one hour in advance for screening. Passengers will also be required to download Aarogya Setu app.
Passengers will have to bring their own blankets
Reports suggest passengers would not be provided blankets or linens. The temperature of AC will be set slightly higher to ensure the maximum supply of fresh air. Pantry services are likely to remain suspended too. However, unlike Shramik special trains where only 54 passengers were allowed per coach, the AC coaches of these trains will ferry 72 people.
MHA released guidelines for passengers
From Delhi, these trains will cover India's length and breadth
These trains will run to Dibrugarh (Assam), Agartala (Tripura), Howrah (West Bengal), Patna (Bihar), Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Secunderabad (Telangana), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Madgaon (Goa), Mumbai Central (Maharashtra), Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Jammu Tawi (Jammu and Kashmir). More trains will be pressed to service depending on the availability of coaches, Railways said.
15 pairs of trains will run: Union Minister Piyush Goyal
Decision was taken to help those stuck since lockdown
On Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister's Office green-lit this plan to help stranded people go home. In the morning, state chief secretaries were informed about it. "This is for those who need to get back to work and have been stuck since the lockdown. Our priority is to allow their movement and gradually more trains will begin after that regularly," an official told HT.