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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Railways to allow more trains, limited IRCTC waiting lists to tackle passenger rush

The Railways has now defined waiting list limits for lower classes, indicating that plans may be afoot to pump in trains with mixed classes like Sleepers, chair cars in other routes.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: May 14, 2020 8:54:32 am
railways services lockdown, lockdown railways, indian railways, trains, railways trains lockdown, latest news, lockdown news, indian express New Delhi Railway Station Wednesday, the second day of the Railways resuming its passenger services. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

With mounting pressure to accommodate more passengers on the 30 odd trains plying to and from Delhi, the Railways Wednesday decided to allow limited waiting lists in the special trains and announced that more special trains “will be notified in due course”.

The Railways has also decided to refund the full fair of tickets if a passenger is barred from boarding the train after showing symptoms of novel coronavirus.

“If during screening, a passenger has very high temperature/symptoms of covid-19, he shall not be allowed to travel despite having confirmed tickets. In such a case, full refund shall be provided to the passenger,” the notice read.

The Railway Board sent the instructions to its zones in which it has said that for the special Rajdhanis and the ones that will be notified, will now have waiting lists of up to 100 for AC 3 tier, 50 for AC 2 tier, 200 for Sleeper class, 100 for chair cars, and 20 each for First AC and Executive Class– truncating the queues for confirmed tickets significantly. The changes will be applicable for trains running from May 22 onwards for which bookings will open on May 15.

The significance of this communication is that it defines waiting list limits for lower classes as well indicating that plans may be afoot to pump in trains with mixed classes like Sleepers, chair cars etc in other routes.

Indicating the government’s strong intent to return to normalcy, the Railway services resumed Tuesday to run at full capacity, while leaving it up to the passengers to maintain social distancing on board, and to states to decide the protocol on arrival.

The current special trains are all-AC Rajdhani only. Sources had told The Indian Express that the government, in the spirit of restarting the economy by easing lockdown norms, was contemplating running more trains in the coming days even though officially there is no communication to that effect yet.

Although travel by senior citizens is discouraged by the government in the middle of the outbreak and Railways has accordingly disallowed the 50 per cent concession to senior citizens and a bunch of other concessions, the communication from Railway Board says: “Senior citizen quota, Ladies quota, and Quota for Divyangs shall be defined as per extant instructions.”

On Wednesday, over 19,000 passengers travelled by these special trains. Till date, 1.12 lakh tickets have been booked to carry over 2 lakh people in these trains.

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