New normal for rail travel: Passengers should arrive 90 minutes early at stations

PTI New Delhi | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

Students travelling from Kota get off the train at Danapur junction in Bihar.   -  PTI

Travellers have to carry their own food and linen

The Railways has issued new guidelines for travel on 15 pairs of special trains from May 12, asking passengers to carry their own food and linen and arrive at stations at least 90 minutes before departure for health screening.

It also said all passengers must wear face masks during the journey and preferably travel light.

The Railways, which has announced resumption of a limited number of passenger services after a hiatus of around 50 days due to the ongoing lockdown, said the trains to ply from Tuesday will be air-conditioned and will run on full-capacity on the Rajdhani routes from Delhi to all major cities.

It said it will run eight trains on May 12 -- three from New Delhi terminating at Dibrugarh, Bengaluru and Bilaspur. And one each from Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Bengaluru, Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad which will all terminate at Delhi.

Delh-Bilaspur train

The first passenger train to roll out after the unprecedented interval in operations is scheduled to leave the New Delhi railway station for Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh at 4 PM on Tuesday.

These special trains will only have AC classes i.e. first, second and third AC.

Since the trains will be operated amidst a lockdown, only passengers with confirmed e-tickets shall be allowed to enter the stations.

The fares will be equivalent to Rajdhani trains and passengers can book tickets up to seven days in advance. However, no RAC, waiting list ticket or on-board booking by ticket-checking staff will be permitted, the Railways said.

Online cancellation of tickets shall be permitted up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, but the cancellation charge shall be 50 per cent of the fare.

The movement of passengers as well as of the drivers of vehicles transporting them to and from the railway stations shall be allowed on the basis of the confirmed e-tickets, it said.

The Railways said there will be special norms for air-conditioning inside the coaches and temperatures will be kept slightly higher than the usual. Maximum supply of fresh air will be ensured.

The special trains will run between New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi and from these cities back to the national capital.

The IRCTC website began booking tickets for travel on special trains after 6pm, two hours behind the schedule due to a technical glitch but all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Howrah-New Delhi train were sold within the first 10 minutes.

By 7:30 PM, 18,000 tickets had been booked for trains departing on May 12, most of them for the Howrah-Delhi route 8900.

The Howrah-New Delhi train is scheduled to begin its journey Tuesday from Howrah at 5:05 pm.

As per the ticket availability on the website, all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi special train on May 13 were also sold by 6.30 pm.

By 9.15 pm, approximately 30,000 PNRs had been generated and reservations issued to more than 54,000 passengers, the railways said.



Railways timetable



According to the timetable issued by the Railways, the trains will run either daily, weekly or bi-weekly from May 12 to 20 as of now. There are no trains scheduled on May 16 and May 19.

Bookings will be available only on the IRCTC website ( for the general quota passengers, while bare minimum reservation counters will be open on the routes of these special train for MPs and freedom fighters among others.

Concessions in ticket fares can only be availed by patients, students and people with disabilities while no concessions for senior citizens are applicable, officials said. Railways has also earmarked reservation quota of two berths in 3AC for Divyangjans and two berths in 1AC and four berths in 2AC for sitting and former MPs, they said.

The tickets, officials said, would have details of the ‘dos and don’ts’ passengers need to follow -- such as arriving at the station at least 90 minutes in advance for screening and use of the Aarogya Setu mobile app.

“Maximum Advance Reservation Period will be of 7 days. Passengers are encouraged to carry their own food and drinking water. The passengers shall reach the station at least 90 minutes in advance to facilitate thermal screening at the station. No linen, blankets and curtains shall be provided inside the train. Passengers are advised to carry their own linen,” an order by the Railways said.

The order said there would be no provision of ‘tatkal’ and ‘premium tatkal’ accommodation and there will be very few stoppages during the journey.

Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains. Also, no ‘current booking’ will be allowed, the order said.

The railways has instructed zonal railways to ensure that there are separate entry and exit gates at stations “to the extent feasible” to avoid face-to-face movement of passengers.

It also said no stalls or booths on the platforms shall be opened.

Published on May 11, 2020

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