Out of the 736 special trains currently in operation, 327 have passengers in the waiting list, the Railways said Monday, indicating a major surge in demand from people keen on travelling even as the coronavirus pandemic refuses to die down. According to data provided by the Railways, the average occupancy of these special trains is around 92 per cent.
"We are monitoring these 327 trains daily. Once we determine the nature of the waitlist -- for how many days is the waitlist and how long -- we will run clone trains on those routes. "We have been saying that we will introduce trains wherever necessary, but they will be only reserved trains and will follow all coronavirus protocols," said Railway Board Chairman and CEO V K Yadav at a press briefing on Monday.
The Railways, which had suspended all passenger train services since the lockdown in March, has so far earned Rs 3,322 crore as revenue from the segment, which is 90 per cent less than what it earned during the same period last year, Yadav said. Other than the 736 special trains being operated, the Railways is also running 200 services of the Kolkata Metro, 2,276 Mumbai suburban services, 20 special clone trains and 436 festival special trains from October 20 to November 30.
Yadav said while the overall occupancy of the 736 trains is around 92 per cent, 19 trains have occupancy below 30 per cent, 44 have occupancy between 30 per cent and 50 per cent, 83 trains have occupancy between 50 per cent and 75 per cent and 327 trains have waitisting.
Yadav also said besides Mumbai, the Railways is geared to begin suburban services in other cities. Discussions are underway with the West Bengal and the Tamil Nadu governments in finalising modalities for the resumption of suburban services there, he said.
While passenger trains have all but stalled, the Railways' freight business seems to be speeding forward with incremental loading of over 14.32 metric tonne over October 2019. In October this year, the freight revenue was Rs 869 crore more than last year and it also saw the highest ever automobile loading.
While 320 rakes of automotives were loaded in October 2020, as many as 162 were loaded in 2019 which is around a 97.5 per cent increase. Overall this year, the cumulative automobile loading surpassed last year with 1,156 rakes as compared to 886 rakes till October 2020 which is a 30.5 per cent increase.