Earlier this month, Railway Board Chairman and CEO, VK Yadav, had said that the Indian Railways will take stock of passenger train services on a daily basis depending on the state governments’ needs and the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the Railway Board had conducted meetings with the Zonal General Managers and also instructed them to speak with local administration as well as review the pandemic status and based on it will be decided how many trains can be introduced during the festive season.
Indian Railways will run the 196 pairs of trains during the festival season in addition to those being run already. These new festival special trains, however, will operate only till November 30 and will not have a continued run.
As the festive season of the country approaches amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Railways has approved the Zonal Railways’ proposal for the operation of additional 196 pairs (392 trains) of Festival Special trains. The trains will be operated between 20 October to 30 November. The decision was taken as the national rail transporter is anticipating a passenger rush during the upcoming festive season.
The fare applicable for these services will be that of the earlier special trains allowed to run by the ministry, said Indian Railways, This means that ‘special charges’ will be levied on the train tickets, making them costlier by 10 per cent to 30 per cent as compared to the fares of express/mail trains, depending on the class of travel. These special trains will be mostly third AC coaches. The timing of these trains will be as per regular trains. The Zonal Railways will notify their schedule well in advance, the ministry said in a statement. These festival special trains will be operated at a speed of 55 kmph.
The special trains will be run for destinations such as Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow among others to cater to the growing demand in the ensuing holiday period of Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhatt puja.
The Railways has suspended all its regular services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is operating trains as per demand and necessity and till now, the railways has been running more than 500 express and mail trains that are now being operated regularly across the Indian Railways network and have been effectively catering to people travelling across the country.