After announcing the move to restart 100 pairs of trains from June 1, bookings for which started on Thursday, the government is gearing up to restore around a similar number of more trains soon after in a bid to bring back normalcy into the economy.
With a large number of non-AC coaches already being used by Shramik Specials, and a huge number consumed by restoration of the 100 pairs of mail/express trains, it is expected that the next set of train services to be resumed will have the AC class services.
Around 1,200 pairs of regular mail/express trains remain to be restored.
The signal from top levels of the government now is to accelerate the return to normalcy and restoration of trains services, without compromising gains of the lockdown, officials said.
In the spirit of things, the Railways on Thursday decided to open ticket booking counters across India in a phased manner so that sale of tickets offline can restart. It had already decided to open food stalls and canteens at stations a day earlier.
“We have to take India towards normalcy. We are developing a protocol to identify stations where counters can be opened. We have to ensure that there are no large crowds gathering at counters to book tickets, so we are studying the situation and devising a protocol towards it,” Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said.
“We will also soon announce the resumption of more trains,” he said during a conversation with BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
Goyal said 1.7 lakh common service centres will start booking tickets. Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conceptualising the railways’ isolation coaches for coronavirus patients, Goyal said Modi had called him to suggest if these coaches can be converted. The Railways so far has converted around 5,000 coaches.
Evacuation of Shramik trains being a priority, a large number of non-AC coaches are being used up to make these trains.
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