Empty railways stations during lockdown Photograph:( PTI )
A total of 15 trains will run between New Delhi and main stations across the country. Bookings will only be made online.
Indian Railways has announced its plans to resume passenger trains from May 12. The announcement was made on Sunday through a statement.
The Railways plans to initially start with 15 pairs of special trains (30 return trains).
Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020, initially with 15 pairs of special trains connecting New Delhi with major stations across India. Booking in these trains will start at 4 pm on 11th May.https://t.co/DW9I1sPRx6— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 10, 2020
The bookings can only be made online through the official website of Indian Railways (IRCTC): (https://www.irctc.co.in/) . Passengers will be able to book tickets online from 4pm on May 11, i.e. on Monday.
"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. Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course," read the statement.
The trains will connect New Delhi with Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
The passengers will have to undergo screening before departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. Wearing mask and following rules of social distancing will be compulsory at all times.
Details about train schedules will be announced soon.
More trains will be resumed after observing the movement and response of these 15 trains.
However, the ministry will reserve 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and will also make sure that adequate number of coaches are reserved for the operation migrant workers through 300 trains every day as “Shramik Special” .
A day before lockdown 2.0 ended, Indian Railways was criticised for not issuing a proper statement and therefore creating confusion among the travellers as stranded migrant workers had flocked to the railway station to catch the first train to their hometowns. The chaos caused during that time had forced the railway ministry to urge the people who not come to the stations to book or board trains.
The announcement of resuming online bookings comes a week before lockdown 3.0 is coming to an end.