In news that is sure to bring joy to many, the much-awaited Intercity Express will be launched very soon. The Railway Board of India has already given the requisite permission for this. According to sources, these trains are all set to start running next week. These include Kolkata-Shilghat, Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri, Kolkata-Balurghat, Howrah-Ranchi Shatabdi, Kolkata-Lalgola, Howrah-Asansol, and the Howrah-Rampurhat Express. But all of these will run as special trains for the time being.
The Intercity Express would be extremely beneficial to people living in places such as Lalgola, Asansol, and Rampurhat. Hence, special permission has been granted for this train to be launched in accordance with the Covid-19 protocol. In total, 160 long-distance trains will be on the tracks from Monday. As many as 34 Intercity Expresses will be launched. As per the Eastern Railway, 52 pairs of special trains which have been in operation so far, have had their durations extended.
Tickets will be available from June 20 both online and at ticket reservation centers. The Covid-related restrictions will be on for the time being, though they might be changed later on.
Below is a list of the trains which will be in operation:
Rachi-Howrah Century Special, Howrah-Ranchi Century Special, Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri Special, Balurghat-Calcutta Special, New Jalpaiguri-Sealdah Special, Kolkata-Balurghat Special, Kolkata-Haldibari Special, Haldia -Howrah Special, New Delhi AC Special, Howrah & Sealdah - Bikani Special, Howrah - Yoganagari Rishikesh Special, Howrah - Daradun Special, Howrah - Lalkua Special, Howrah - Bhopal Special, Howrah - Goala, Sealdah -Balia Special, Sealdah -Joynagar Special, Howrah - Goal -Alipurduar and New Alipurduar Special, Howrah -Raxaul Special,
There remains a huge doubt about the number of passengers who would be traveling on these special trains. With the slow but significant decline in Covid positivity rates all over the country, things are looking up. The rate of infections in West Bengal is also much lower than before. It is not yet known when the local or metro service will start as usual, even though the Eastern Railway will be running special trains.
Express trains will not be running in the state as of now, since state restrictions will remain till June 30. Talks are on for a viable solution. However, even if the express trains are allowed to run, they will most likely not have any general compartments.