The Indian Railways will gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains, the national transporter said Sunday.
All passenger trains will run with AC coaches only and with limited stoppages. The fare will be equivalent to the ticket fare that is charged for Rajdhani Train, the Ministry of Railways said.
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.
Officials said 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.
All passenger train services were suspended due to a lockdown announced on March 25.
After the resumption of these 15 services, 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 Special” for stranded migrants.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11 and will be available only on the IRCTC website.
These tickets, officials say, 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 Arogya 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. Officials also said there will be few stoppages during the journey.
After the resumption of these 15 services, railways will start more trains on new routes, based on availability after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and an adequate number for running up to 300 Shramik Specials everyday.
Ticket booking counters at railway stations will remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued, it said.
(With PTI Inputs)
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