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New Delhi, May 10, 2020
The Indian Railways plan to gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains, which will work out to 30 return journeys.
These trains will be run 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, an official press release said.
Thereafter, the Railways will start 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 Specials” for stranded migrant workers to travel to their home states.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11, Monday and will be available only on the IRCTC website.
Ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets (including 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, the release said.
Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course, the release added.
Trains services across India were banned after the Government imposed a nationwide lockdown from March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Only freight and special parcel trains were being run to transport the essential items across the country.
Railway Ministry's Executive Director, Media, Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, in a statement said: "The national transporter is planning to gradually restart special AC passenger train operations from Tuesday with 15 trains, including their return journey, with limited stops."
He said in the initial phase, the 15 pairs of trains will run as special AC trains.
The coaches will be all air-conditionedwith limited stoppage and the fare will be equivalent to Rajdhani Express train.
Bajpai said that in AC three-tier coaches, 52 passengers will be allowed while in AC two-tier coaches, 48 passengers will be allowed keeping in mind the protocol of social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said that there will be no provision of Tatkal and premium Tatkal accommodation and no current booking shall be allowed.
"Booking of tickets through 'agents', both IRCTC and railway, shall not be allowed," he added.
He said that the passengers would need to arrive two hours before the departure time of the trains.
The Indian Railways started to run the Shramik Special trains from May 1 to transport the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists across the country on the request of the state governments.