Updated: February 10, 2021 9:32:36 am
At least 56 per cent of trains that start from Chandigarh Railway Station, including passenger trains and those on long routes, are yet to be resumed — two-and-a-half month after selective trains recommenced operations, following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Una-Himachal Janshatabdi was the first train to resume operations from Chandigarh Railway Station, post the lockdown.
Officials maintained that it will take time to resume operation of all the trains as the pandemic, along with the ongoing farmers’ protest, is not over yet.
Before the lockdown, a total of 27 trains (one-sided) departed from Chandigarh Railway Station everyday. As many as 12 trains out of the 27, including two Shatabdi Express, Kalka-Hawra, Chandigarh to Ludhiana and Chandigarh-Ropar, have resumed their services, while 15 trains are yet to recommence.
Similarly, 10 trains (one-sided) departed from Kalka Railway Station towards Chandigarh, Ambala and Delhi. Of these 10, only three have resumed operations — two Shatabdis and Kalka-Hawra Express. Meanwhile, four toy trains, out of the five that run on the narrow gauge track between Kalka and Shimla, have also resumed services.
Prior to the lockdown, three passenger trains departed from Kalka towards Ambala, Chandigarh and Delhi everyday — which have not been resumed. A few trains, including Kalka to Jodhpur (14888), have also been diverted. These trains do not arrive at the railway stations at Chandigarh and Kalka.
Ambala DRM Gurinder Mohan Singh said, “We are not in the position to manage the trains with unreserved seats. Most of these trains are passenger trains. All the resumed trains are of reserved seats. Counters for the tickets sale at railway stations have not been opened. We have sent a proposal to start at least one passenger train from each railway station, out of the 10, under Ambala division. Senior officers in Delhi yet to take any decision on the proposal.”
The important trains which are yet to resume service include Chandigarh to Dibrugarh (5934), Himalayan Queen (Kalka, Chandigarh to Delhi, 14096) and Garib Rath (12984) from Chandigarh to Jaipur, among others.
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Sources said that the occupancy in all the resumed trains is between 65 per cent to 95 per cent. They maintained that the occupancy is improving with each passing day.
A railway officer said, “At least seven trains were running from Chandigarh to Ludhiana everyday before lockdown. At present, only five have been resumed. Similarly, five trains were running from Chandigarh to Ropar, of which two have been resumed. Apparently, the rail connectivity between Haryana and Chandigarh is better when compared to the connectivity between the UT and Punjab, in the present scenario.”
Kalka-Shimla trains running with full occupancy
Almost all the four special trains plying between Kalka and Shimla are running with nearly full occupancy. Data available on the various special trains show that most trains have been running with full occupancy over the last few days. On the Kalka-Shimla route, Shivalik Deluxe Special,04527, had an occupancy of more than 87 per cent, Shimla Kalka Special, 04529, had an occupancy of more than 92 per cent, Shimla Festival Special, 04517, had an occupancy of nearly 88 per cent and Shimla Festival Special, 04515, had occupancy of more than 95 per cent on an average over the last few days.
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