New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indian Railways has decided to partially resume passenger train services from May 12, almost two months after the services were halted across the country in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

All passenger services were suspended due to a lockdown announced on March 25 and the railways later started the on-demand Shramik Specials to ferry migrants stranded across the country. It, however, has been running freight and parcel services.

Railways was initially given the nod to run Shramik Specials by the Home Ministry but officials said they now have the approval to resume other services. They said even after the lockdown ends on May 17, services will resume gradually.

Here is everything you need to know about the resumption of passenger train services:

  • Online booking will start at 6 pm on May 11 and will only be available on the IRCTC official website. Ticket booking counters at railway stations will remain closed.
  • Initially, tickets will be available only for air-conditioned coaches for these trains on the 15 Rajdhani routes and the fare would be equivalent to that of the super-fast train.
  • The special trains will run from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
  • As per officials quoted by news agency PTI, unlike Shramik Specials, in which only 54 passengers were allowed instead of the regular 72, these trains will run on full capacity, but no concession in fare is likely to be allowed.
  • The tickets would have details of the 'dos and don'ts' passengers need to follow -- such as arriving at the station at least an hour in advance for screening and other coronavirus protocols, mandatory use of masks and use of the Aarogya Setu mobile app.
  • It will be mandatory for travellers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains.
  • According to officials, there will be few stoppages during the journey.
  • Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations in order to avoid crowding.

On April 16, the Indian Railways turned 167 years old and for the first time ever, its trains did not carry any passengers on its birthday and instead stood idle in the yards waiting for the nationwide lockdown to end.

In 1974, Indians experienced life without trains for the first time. In May 1974 during the strike of the railways that lasted for around three weeks, drivers, station masters, guards, track staff and many others went on 'chakka jam' demanding fixed working hours for train drivers and an across-the-board pay hike.

Posted By: abhinav gupta