Two days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray issued a warning that the government would be forced to stop train services in Mumbai amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the state, nearly 23 trains have been cancelled by the Central Railways.
Addressing a press conference today, Thackeray appealed to the masses to stay indoors as much as possible, urging, “The crowd in train and buses needs to be reduced further. The government can take a decision but we are not willing to go for it.”
These drastic steps by the state government come as Maharashtra has reported the highest number of positive coronavirus cases at 47 on Thursday.
Western Railway also decided to cancel the recently introduced AC local train services from March 20 and it will be replaced by non-AC suburban services. However, Central Railway has cancelled 16 AC suburban services running on the trans-harbour line between Thane and Vashi/Nerul/Panvel starting from March 20 until March 31.
Western Railway has also seen a major decrease in footfall by over 8 lakh commuters on suburban trains after the chief minister’s appeal, PTI reported. According to WR data, on Tuesday, 32.60 lakh passengers travelled on suburban trains as against 30.75 lakh on Monday. “The number of commuters reduced by around 25 per cent,” Western Railway chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar was quoted as saying by PTI.
Mumbai local trains are known to be the lifeline of the commute system in the country’s financial capital, spread over three lines— Central, Western and Transharbour ferrying passengers from Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts.
22222 Nizamuddin-CSMT Rajdhani Express on March 21, 24, 26 and 31
22221 CSMT-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express on March 20, 23, 27 and 30
12261 Mumbai-Howrah Duranto Express on March 25 and April 1
12262 Howrah-Mumbai Duranto Express on March 24 and 31
11307/11308 Kalaburagi-Secunderabad Express from March 18 to 31
22112 Nagpur-Bhusaval Express from March 19 to 30
22111 Bhusaval-Nagpur Express from March 18 to 29
12126 Pune-Mumbai Pragati Express from March 19 to April 1
12125 Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express from March 18 to 31
12117/ 12118 LTT-Manmad Express from March 18 to 31
22140 Ajni-Pune Express on March 22 and 29
22139 Pune-Ajni Express on March 21 and 28
11418 Nagpur-Pune Express on March 20 and 27
11417 Pune-Nagpur Express on March 26 and April 2
11402 Nagpur-Mumbai Nandigram Express from March 22 to 31
11401 Mumbai-Nagpur Nandigram Express from March 23 to April 1
22135/22136 Nagpur-Rewa Express on March 25
11206 Nizamabad-LTT Express on March 22 and 29
11205 LTT-Nizamabad Express on March 21 and 28
11202 Ajni-LTT Express on March 20 and 27
11201 LTT-Ajni Express on March 23 and 30
11008 Pune-Mumbai Deccan Express from March 18 to 30
11007 Mumbai-Pune Deccan Express from March 19 to 31
Also, at least 35 trips of 10 trains have been cancelled due to low occupancy, news agency ANI had reported. Besides this, Indian Railways has increased the price of platform tickets by five teams i.e. from Rs 10 to Rs 50 at stations across six divisions in an effort to avoid people gathering at the railway stations.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, all concessions in Indian Railways have also been suspended for now, except concessions to students, patients and disabled, to discourage inessential travel. This means that all other train concessions, like senior citizens, farmers, war widows, VIPs, delegates, etc. stand suspended for now.
Earlier in the day, the officials said that the Railways had cancelled 84 more trains between March 20 to March 31. This takes the number of trains cancelled across the country to 155.