Indian Railways1 plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020, initially with 15 pairs of trains (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.
New trains routes will also be decided but 20,000 coaches will be reserved for COVID-19 care centres and up to 300 trains everyday known as “Shramik Special” will be reserved for stranded migrants. Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on 11th May and will be available only on the IRCTC website (https://www.irctc.co.in/). All ticket booking counters at the railway stations will be closed so no counter or platform tickets will be issued to you.
When coming to the railway station, a few things to keep in mind are that:
- 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 passengers with no symptoms will be allowed to board the train.
- It is mandatory for passengers to download the Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey.
The Shramik special trains for migrants
Special Trains: The Shramik special trains are trains which can be accessed by migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to the lockdown. These special trains run from one the boarding station to the final station(without any stops). The Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Home Affairs decide the routes and movement of the trains. Before entering they will be compulsorily screened and only those with no symptoms of COVID-19 can travel on these trains. All passengers travelling have to maintain social distancing and comply with the health checkup protocol of the destination State/UT.
For example in Delhi, migrant labourers who want to return to their native places via Shramik Special trains will have to register themselves online. Migrants stranded in the capital, wishing to depart through Shramik Special trains or buses, may apply on https://epass.jantasamvad.org/train/pas senger/.
After online registration, the Delhi government will ensure proper planning for the movement of the migrants. Once the application is confirmed, the migrants would be informed via texts on their registered cellphone numbers about the details of trains or buses and the departure timings.
- Press Information Buearu, Gradual Resumption of Select Passenger Services by Indian Railways, 10th May, 2020, https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?utm_campaign=fullarticle&utm_medium=referral&PRID=1622779&utm_source=inshorts
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