Even as the Indian Railways is all set to start the services of the 15 pair of air conditioned trains from Tuesday equivalent to the Rajdhani Express, the passengers will need to arrive at the stations 90 minutes before the schedule departure of the trains.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) Director General (DG) Arun Kumar told IANS, "The RPF is making adequate arrangements in view of the resumption of the gradual train services amid the Covid-19 pandemic."
He said, "We will ask the passengers to arrive at the railway station 90 minutes before the departure time of the train."
The RPF official said, "All the passengers coming to the railway station will be thermal screened before entering the station premises."
He also said that the entry of passengers will be closed 15 minutes before the departure.
He further said that the national transporter will not be providing blanket and bedsheets in the train and passengers need to bring their own pillows and blankets.
He further said that the RPF team will be also there on the train to ensure the protocol of social distancing.
The remarks of the senior officer came amid the Indian Railways announcement to run 15 pair of air conditioned trains from New Delhi to several cities across the country almost 45 days after suspending the passenger, mail and express train services to combat the spread of Covid-19.
On Sunday, the national transporter announced to gradually resume the train services with 15 pair AC trains equivalent to the Rajdhani Express from New Delhi.
According to the railway officials, these trains in the initial phase will run as special AC trains from the New Delhi Station to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
All the coaches will be AC with limited stoppage and the fare will be equivalent to the Rajdhani Express train. The official further said that in the AC three-tier coaches, 52 passengers will be allowed while in AC two-tier coaches, 48 passengers will be allowed keeping in mind the protocol of social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reservation of these special AC trains will start from Monday at 4 p.m. and passengers can book the tickets from the IRCTC website or mobile application.
The railway official further said that the ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets, including platform tickets shall be issued.
"Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course," the official added.
The Indian Railways, which has suspended the passenger, mail and express trains from March 25 amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has started to run the Shramik Special train from May 1 to transport the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists.
Till 10 a.m. on Monday, the national transporter has operated 468 Shramik Special trains and transported over 4.7 lakh people across several states.
The official said that 363 trains had reached its destination and 105 trains are in transit.