The Ministry of Railways, on Sunday, announced that it will start operations of 15 passenger trains (30 return journeys) from May 12. All these trains will run from New Delhi railway station. The fares will be equivalent to the ticket fare that is charged for Rajdhani trains.
Online booking will start on May 11 at 4 pm. The all air-conditioned services will begin on 15 Rajdhani routes -- from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Horah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru,Chennai, Thiruvananthpuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
Booking facilities will be available on the IRCTC website or through mobile app. Booking of tickets through 'agents', (both IRCTC and Railway) shall not be allowed. Ticket booking counters at the railway station will remain closed. Passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. There would be no provision of 'tatkal' and 'premium tatkal' accommodation.
The Railway ministry clarified that the existing Shramik trains will continue to run as per the current system on the request of the state governments.
Unlike Shramik Specials, in which only 54 passengers are allowed in every coach instead of the regular 72, these special trains will run on full capacity.
Railways is contemplating not giving blankets and linen to passengers this time in order to reduce the chances of the spread of coronavirus. There will be special norms for air-conditioning inside the coaches and temperatures will be kept slightly higher than the usual and maximum supply of only fresh air will be ensured.
After these 15 trains are resumed, 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 to run up to 300 Shramik Specials every day.
All passenger services were suspended due to a lockdown announced on March 25 and the railways later started the on-demand Shramik Specials to ferry migrants stranded across the country. It, however, has been running freight and parcel services.