Know key details about timings as limited trains start today
Starting today, 15 special trains will run across India, almost two months after all rail services were suspended to contain the spread of coronavirus. On Sunday, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal announced 15 pairs of trains (30 journeys in total) will start with a set of guidelines. All these trains will originate from New Delhi Railway Station. Here are the key details you should know.
In these special Rajdhani trains, passengers won't be given blankets/linens, the Railways announced. They will also have to bring their own food. While the Railways earlier "encouraged" passengers to download the Aarogya Setu app, the Ministry later made it "mandatory" for everyone to get the app before starting the journey. Passengers were asked to reach the departing station 90 minutes early.
Indian Railways is going to start few passenger trains services. It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) May 11, 2020
Download this app now -
Android : https://t.co/bpfHKNLHmD
IOS : https://t.co/aBvo2Uc1fQ pic.twitter.com/MRvP8QBVPU
Passengers were asked to report early as they will be screened thermally at the station. Only after they show no symptoms of COVID-19, will they be allowed to board the train. They will also be given hand sanitizers. The fare excludes the food price, and stalls on stations will remain closed due to lockdown. There will be no onboard housekeeping staff either.
The online bookings were supposed to start at 4 pm, but the overburdened IRCTC website faced a problem. After the bookings were allowed, tickets sold within minutes. Within 20 minutes, the Howrah-Delhi train, which will run daily, was completely booked for the next five days. "By 9.15 pm, 30,000 PNRs had been generated and reservations made for more than 54,000 passengers," Railways spokesperson said.
Explaining why bookings weren't as effortless as assured, a senior official said, "The demand is huge and since one route has a solitary train instead of many normally, the tickets sold out quickly." Railways had earlier said reservation counters will be closed but later, opened a "bare minimum" of them for parliamentarians, Railway officials, freedom fighters, the physically challenged, patients, and students.
The Ministry of Health Affairs didn't mention if the passengers have to be quarantined on arrival but noted that health protocols of receiving states will be applicable. Earlier, when the curtains were pulled on rail services, the Railways reminded Indians that trains didn't stop even during a war. "Please understand the seriousness of the situation," a tweet by Railways in March read.
"The movement of the passenger(s), as well as the driver of the vehicle transporting the passenger(s) to and from the Railway Station, shall be allowed on the basis of the confirmed e-ticket," MHA said.
Besides these special passenger trains, Shramik trains are also ferrying migrant workers home. The laborers, who were rendered jobless and penniless after the lockdown started on March 25, had started walking as all modes of transportation were suspended. By Monday morning, the Railways had operated 468 trains. After initially carrying only 1,200 passengers per journey, the Railways increased it to 1,700.