Arogya app, masks mandatory for passengers travelling on special trains
As many as 15 pairs of special trains will be operated on select routes from Tuesday nearly two months after all regular passenger services were suspended by the railways because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The IRCTC website began booking tickets for travel on these special trains after 6pm, two hours behind 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.
Only asymptomatic passengers with confirmed e-tickets will be allowed in these trains and they will have to report at the station at least 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure.
The journey on these 15 pair of special trains will, however, be profoundly different from what it used to be before the beginning of the lockdown.
While wearing masks has been made mandatory, passengers will also have to download the Arogya Setu app on their phone. They will be compulsorily screened at the station and have been encouraged to carry their own blankets, water and food for the travel.
Railways has set special norms for air-conditioning inside the coaches. Temperatures will be kept slightly higher than the usual. Maximum supply of fresh air will be ensured.
The trains will run at full capacity, but railway zones have been instructed to ensure that there are separate entry and exit gates at stations to the extent feasible so that there is no face-to-face movement or contact of passengers.
The zones will be guided by standard social distancing guidelines on stations and trains and observe all safety, security and hygiene protocols.
For now, the railways has issued time table for trains to be run between May 12 and May 20. They will run as daily, weekly or bi-weekly trains. There are no trains on Sunday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 19.
These trains will run between New Delhi and all major cities across the country: Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
On Tuesday, May 12, three trains will begin from New Delhi terminating at Dibrugarh, Bengaluru and Bilaspur. One each will begin from Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Bengaluru, Mumbai Central and Ahemedabad, all terminating at Delhi.
On May 13, nine trains will be operated, eight starting from New Delhi and terminating at Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Jammu Tawi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Ranchi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ninth is a special train from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi.
On May 14, the railways will run five trains from Dibrugarh, Jammu Tawi, Bilaspur and Ranchi to the national capital and one from New Delhi to Bhubaneswar.
On May 15, three trains are scheduled, two of them from Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai Central and one from New Delhi to Madgaon.
On Sunday, May 17, when the current lockdown is slated to end, a train is scheduled from Madgaon to New Delhi and one from New Delhi to Secunderabad.
On May 18, a train will start from Agartala to New Delhi.
On May 20, two trains are scheduled, one to Agartala and another from Secunderabad to New Delhi.
These special trains will have only AC classes i.e. first, second and third AC and the fares will be equivalent to Rajdhani trains.
During the lockdown, the railways has operated freight trains and parcel services to move essential commodities across the country. From May 1, it also started migrant Shramik Specials to ferry stranded migrants to their hometowns.
Now, it is launching these select services so that at least the working class can be transported to their destinations.
Booking time, refunds
Passengers can book tickets in these trains up to seven days in advance. No RAC and wait list ticket is allowed. Also, on board booking by ticket checking staff will not be permitted.
On arrival at their destination, passengers will have to adhere to the health protocols prescribed by the destination state. Pre-packed snacks and biscuits will be available with onboard catering staff. These will be sold to passengers who need them, just like in airlines.
Online cancellation shall be permitted up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of train with a cancellation charge of 50 per cent of the fare.
Time-table (departure timings)
Howrah - New Delhi - 5:05pm
Rajendra Nagar (Patna) - New Delhi- 7:20 pm
New Delhi - Dibrugarh - 4:45 pm
Bengaluru - New Delhi - 8:30 pm
New Delhi – Bengaluru 9:15 pm
New Delhi - Bilaspur- 4:00 pm
Mumbai Central - New Delhi 5:30 pm
Ahmedabad - New Delhi - 6:20 pm
New Delhi - Howrah - 4:55 pm
New Delhi - Rajendra Nagar (Patna) - 5:15 pm
New Delhi - Jammu Tawi - 9:10 pm
New Delhi - Thiruvananthapuram - 11:25 am
New Delhi - Chennai - 4 pm
New Delhi - Ranchi - 3:30 pm
New Delhi - Mumbai Central - 4:55 pm
New Delhi - Ahmedabad - 8:25 pm
Bhubaneswar - New Delhi - 10:00 am
Dibrugarh - New Delhi -9:10 pm
Jammu Tawi - New Delhi - 8:10 pm
Bilaspur - New Delhi - 2:40 pm
Ranchi - New Delhi - 5:40 pm
New Delhi - Bhubaneswar - 5:05 pm
Thiruvananthapuram - New Delhi - 7:45 pm
Chennai Central - New Delhi - 6:35 am
New Delhi - Madgaon - 11:25 am
Madgaon - New Delhi - 10:30 am
New Delhi - Secunderabad - 4pm
May 18 Agartala - New Delhi - 7 pm
New Delhi - Agartala - 7:50 pm
Secunderabad - New Delhi - 1:15 pm.