Railways to restart passenger trains from May 12; Online booking starts today
New Delhi, May 10: Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains and will ask passengers to arrive at the station at least an hour before departure for screening.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11 and will be available only on the IRCTC website, said the railway ministry.
Passenger services, suspended since the coronavirus lockdown that began March 25, will start with 15 "special" trains (total of 30 journeys) departing from Delhi and connecting cities in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.
Only passengers with confirmed and valid tickets will be allowed to enter the station at Delhi, the Railways warned, adding that all passengers would also have to wear face masks, under screening at departure (only those without COVID-19 symptoms will be allowed to board) and maintain social distancing at all times.
"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," the Railways' statement said.
All trains will run with AC coaches only and will have limited stoppage, it said.
The nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the subsequent banning of passenger trains, cut sharply into the government's revenue from rail traffic and severely disrupted normal life for tens of thousands of Indians.