The Indian Railways is set to resume reservations for 15 air-conditioned special trains, that will operate from May 12, across the country. The resumption of the train services comes as India enters the last week of the 54-day coronavirus lockdown and as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to hold a video conference with chief ministers, which is likely to focus on a strategy for a phased exit from the shutdown.
Announcing the phased resumption of passenger services that was suspended from the first day of the lockdown on March 25, the Railways said in a statement that train reservations will begin at 4 pm today and will be available only on the IRCTC website. Air-conditioned services will initially begin with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys) on Rajdhani routes and the fare would be equivalent to that of the super-fast train.
The special trains will run from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
Railways resumes operations: Changes in ticket booking
- Passengers will only be able to book tickets through IRCTC website or the mobile app
- Bookings through agents will not be accepted
- The fare structure for the ‘Special Trains’ shall be as applicable for the regular time tabled Rajdhani trains’
- The ARP (advance reservation period) shall be for a maximum of 7 days
- Child fare shall be applicable as per existing child fare rule
- Only confirmed tickets shall be booked
- Indian Railways is not allowing bookings of RAC/waiting list ticket
- Tatkal or premium tatkal accommodation is not allowed
- Current booking shall not be allowed
- Concessional tickets and tickets against free complimentary passes which are not reimbursable shall not be admissible
- Cluster/BPT bookings/bulk bookings will not be allowed
- Online cancellation of ticket bookings can be done only up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure time of train
- Cancellation charge shall be 50 per cent of fare
Railways resumes bookings: Guidelines for passengers
The Indian Railways has introduced some changes in the services that will be provided on the trains. In a step to contain the spread of COVID-19, the railways have said catering charges will not be included in the ticket fare. Here are some changes that would come into force from Tuesday.
- Catering charges will not be included in ticket fare
- Provision for pre-paid meal booking, e-catering shall be disabled
- IRCTC shall make provisions for ‘dry ready to eat’ meals and packaged drinking water on payment on board. Information to this effect shall be made available to passengers during the time of ticket booking
- Blankets, pillows will not be allowed on trains
- Passengers are supposed to reach railway stations an hour early before the train’s departure time
- Passengers will have to wear face cover or masks on trains
- All passengers will undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains
Officials have said the resumption of passenger trains will allow people who had been stranded to book trains. This is also for those who need to get back to work and have been stuck since the lockdown.
A notification by the government further mentioned that Indian Railways shall thereafter start more special services on new routes, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and an adequate number of coaches being reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains every day as "Shramik Special" for stranded migrants.