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No RAC or Waiting List and No Catered Meals: What You Must Know as Railways Resumes Services Today


Last Updated: May 12, 2020, 09:47 IST

Representative image.

Representative image.

The services will resume initially with 15 pair of trains that will depart from New Delhi Railway Station and will be gradually expanded in the coming days, the Railways said.

The Indian Railways will restart passenger train operations from Tuesday, 52 days after the services were halted to control the spread of coronavirus. The services will resume initially with 15 pair of trains, or a total of 30 journeys, the national transporter said on Sunday.

The decision to restart services, on a very small scale, came as India entered the last week of the third phase of the lockdown, and could be a test case for more widespread relaxations. Although Covid-19 cases are still increasing rapidly, the general inclination in the government seems to be towards further relaxation so the country can move towards a gradual reopening.

Here's everything you need to know about the resumption of train services:

[q]How will passenger trains be restarted?[/q]

[ans]Passenger trains will depart from New Delhi Railway Station and connect to Mumbai, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Howrah, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, Jammu, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Madgaon.

[q]How can tickets be booked?[/q]

[ans]Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11 and will be available only on the IRCTC website. Ticket booking counters at railway stations will remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued.

Advance reservation period will be allowed for seven days. There will be no RAC (reservation against cancellation) or waiting list tickets. Also, no on-board booking by ticket-checking staff[/ans]

[q]What are the rules for cancellation of train tickets? [/q]

[ans]Online cancellation shall be allowed up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train. Cancellation charge maybe 50% of the fare.[/ans]

[q]Will they run on full capacity?[/q]

[ans]Unlike Shramik Specials, in which only 54 passengers were allowed instead of the regular 72, these trains will run on full capacity, but no concession in fare is likely to be allowed.[/ans]

[q] Will on-board catering services be allowed?[/q]

[ans]No catering charges will be included in the fare and provision for pre-paid meal booking, e-catering has been disabled. However, IRCTC has said in its circular that it will make provision for limited eatables and packaged drinking water on payment basis. Information regarding this would be made available to the passengers during the time of ticket booking.

[q]Will blankets be provided?[/q]

[ans]No blanket and linen shall be provided in the train. [/ans]

[q]What rules do the passengers have to follow?[/q]

[ans]Passengers will have to arrive at the station at least an hour before departure. Initially, all air-conditioned services will begin on 15 Rajdhani routes and the fare would be equivalent to that of the super-fast train, officials said.

These tickets, officials say, would have details of the 'dos and don'ts' passengers need to follow -- such as arriving at the station at least an hour in advance for screening and other coronavirus protocols, mandatory use of masks and use of the Aarogya Setu mobile app.

It will be mandatory for travellers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains. Officials also said there will be few stoppages during the journey. Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations. These precautions have been taken to avoid crowding at stations.[/ans]

The Railways said operations will be expanded gradually over the coming days and more special services on new routes will be announced.

This will be done based on the available coaches after 20,000 coaches are reserved for Covid-19 care centres and adequate number of coaches are reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains daily as Shramik Special for stranded migrants.