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Non-AC General Category Trains Aimed At Low-Income Groups To Run Regularly From Next Year: Officials

The move comes at a time when the issue of overcrowding in passenger trains has been flagged by passengers especially on social media.

The East Coast Railway (ECoR) has cancelled and short terminated several trains
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Railway Board is planning to run non-air conditioned, general category trains for low-income groups like migrant workers and labourers across the country as part of its regular timetable, senior officials said Wednesday.

Usually, such special trains are run during festival time or in summer when there is a rush due to the holiday season. The new trains will, however, be permanent fixtures. Officials said the decision was taken after a study identified states where low-income groups formed a substantial part of the travelling passengers and where tickets were waitlisted for long periods.

Migrant source states emerged as the ones that needed more such trains. The move comes at a time when the issue of overcrowding in passenger trains has been flagged by passengers especially on social media. A senior Railway Board official said that the new trains are likely to start running from January 2024.

These trains will be of non-air-conditioned LHB coaches and will have only sleeper and general class service. Railways have not named these new type of trains yet. Earlier, during the coronavirus crisis, the Railways had run migrant special trains for workers to return to their native places.

According to the Railway Board, the new special trains are being planned for states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, Punjab, Assam, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh. Most of the skilled-unskilled workers, artisans, labourers and others from these states go to metros and big cities for work, officials said.

"Trains will be run for these people in which only sleeper-general class coaches will be engaged. "The migrant special trains will have a minimum of 22 to a maximum of 26 coaches. These will be run permanently throughout the year instead of seasonally," said an official. They will also be included in the regular timetable, enabling passengers to make reservations in advance.

In another development, officials said that to make Indian Railways future-ready, only two kinds of coaches will be kept in service eventually - LHB coaches and the others with Vande Bharat coaches. Currently, there are 28 types of coaches in service. "This will reduce the repair cost. And travel will be cheaper," an official said.

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