Nine special trains left from New Delhi Railway Station Wednesday, the second day of the Railways resuming its passenger services after more than a month of the coronavirus lockdown.
The station saw a continuous inflow of passengers through the day as schedule for these trains – to Thiruvananthapuram, Ranchi, Chennai, Dibrugarh, Howrah, Mumbai, Rajendranagar, Sabarmati and Jammu Tawi – starts at 11:30 am and continues till past 9 at night.
Like on the first day, passengers were asked to reach the station 90 minutes before departure, and their temperature was checked through thermal screening before being allowed to enter.
However, with four trains also arriving in Delhi on Wednesday, some passengers found themselves stranded in transit from one train to another.
Sonu Sharma (26), a PhD student at Varanasi, arrived in Delhi on Wednesday morning on the train from Howrah. However, his final destination is not Delhi but Kathua in Jammu, and his next train is scheduled for Friday night. He arrived in the capital to find that there were no arrangements for connecting passengers like him.
“I had thought that I would be able to rest in a waiting room in the station or even sleep on the platform, but I have been asked to leave and return when it is time for my next train. I do not know anyone in Delhi and there are no hotels operating. It looks like I will just have to be on the street till then. I can manage the days but I’m dreading the night,” he said, sitting on the footpath near the station entry with his bag.
While students, professionals and migrant labourers alike boarded the trains, another continuous flow in the road outside the station entry was that of migrant labourers who had heard that trains were leaving and had walked from far corners of the city in the hope of finding a place on them.
These included Mithun Mandal and his four friends who had walked from Nathupura in North Delhi, in the hope of finding a train to reach Bhagalpur in Bihar. Mithun is the only one among the five of them who owns a smartphone, but even he does not know how to operate it well enough to book an online ticket.
“We had heard trains are leaving and are desperate to return to our villages, so we thought we would reach here and get someone to help us board a train. We started at walking at 9 in the morning but now we’re being told that no seats are available on any train and that tickets are too expensive,” he said in the afternoon.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines