The Ministry of Railways on Tuesday announced that 200 non-air conditioned trains will begin running in the country from June 1, a day after the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown to control the coronavirus is expected to end. The ministry added that online booking for the trains will start soon.
The announcement came over a week after the Centre started 15 special trains to and from New Delhi, for the first time since the imposition of the lockdown in March.
“Apart from Shramik Special trains, Indian Railways is going to run 200 additional time table trains daily from June 1, which will be non-air conditioned second class trains,” the Railways tweeted. “The booking of these trains will be available online. Information of trains will be made available soon.”
The decision to re-start train services came as the government announced resumption of public transport services in the latest phase of the lockdown, scheduled to last till May 31.
The Centre allowed interstate and intrastate movement of buses and other public transport but extended the nationwide ban on domestic and international air travel and metro trains. States and Union territories also eased restrictions in line with the Centre’s guidelines.
On Tuesday, the Centre also revised standard operating procedure for the railways to run the ‘Shramik’ special trains. In its new guidelines, the home ministry said the railways would be required to consult with it to allow the movement of the special trains. The schedule of the trains, including stoppages and destination, will also be finalised by the railways based on the states’ requirements. The government also directed the states to make food and shelter arrangements for migrants who are on their way back to their villages on foot.
The Centre claims that it has run more than 1,500 special trains since May 1 to ferry over 17 lakh stranded people to their home states.