After Prime Minster Narendra Modi announced the extension of the lockdown, Indian Railways on Tuesday decided to cancel all trains until May 3 while keeping, even if on paper, a window open to run special services if the government directs.
“Resumption of train services as may be warranted in consideration of public safety keeping in view the emergent situation shall be announced in due course,” a notification from the Railway Board to its zonal railways stated, informing about the cancellation.
Like Air India, which suspended bookings from April 15 to 30, Indian Railways also decided to not allow advanced booking of tickets. Tuesday’s cancellation of trains meant nearly 40 lakh tickets were cancelled in trains scheduled to run between April 15 and May 3.
While Modi said that after April 20 some places that are less affected might see easing of the lockdown in some form, Railways officials said there is so far no communication to run trains even in such areas.
But sources said that as a matter of preparedness, the system has the ability to run around 1,000 special trains at a moment’s notice.