GUWAHATI, May 11 - With the Railway Ministry deciding to gradually resume passenger train operations, two �Passenger Special� trains between New Delhi and the northeastern region will start running with limited number of stoppages.
Both the railway authorities and the State health department, along with local administrations here said that they will take various steps, including screening of passengers, with a view to ensuring that resumption of train operations does not lead to spread of COVID-19.
The Dibrugarh-New Delhi-Dibrugarh (daily) passenger special will run from New Delhi with effect from May 12 and from Dibrugarh with effect from May 14. The train will have stoppages only at Mariani, Dimapur, Lumding, Guwahati, Kokrajhar, New Jalpaiguri, Katihar, Barauni, Danapur, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction, Prayagraj and Kanpur Central stations during its journeys both ways.
On May 12, the train will start from New Delhi at 4:10 pm. It will arrive at Guwahati at 7:50 pm on May 13 and reach Dibrugarh at 7 am on May 14.
In addition, the Agartala-New Delhi-Agartala (weekly) passenger special will run from New Delhi with effect from May 18 and from Agartala with effect from May 20 with stoppages only at Badarpur, Guwahati, Kokrajhar, New Jalpaiguri, Katihar, Barauni, Patliputra, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction and Kanpur Central stations.
The fare structure of these special trains will be like regular time-tabled Rajdhani Express trains or as per the regular time-tabled trains, excluding the catering charges.
With concern that resumption of passenger train services could lead to spread of COVID-19 cases, authorities have announced that only passengers having confirmed journey tickets will be allowed to enter the stations.
The Railways has also made it mandatory for all passengers to wear mask and undergo thermal screening before entering stations. Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains.
Ticket booking of these special trains can be done only through the IRCTC website. No RAC or wait-listed tickets are allowed. On-board ticketing by ticket checking staff is also prohibited.
Catering charges will not be included in the fare. There will be no provision of e-catering and pre-paid meal booking.
However, IRCTC will provide limited amount of eatables and drinking water on payment basis if asked for. No linen and blankets will be provided to any passenger.
Meanwhile, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration said that it will deploy a team of doctors and medical staff at the Guwahati railway station to screen the passengers who de-board here. Magistrates will also be present during the screening.
Similar steps are also expected to be taken at other places in Assam where these trains have stoppages and commuters will board and de-board. Around 1,000-1,200 passengers are expected in each train per journey.
It is noteworthy that passenger trains services across the country have been suspended since imposition of the nationwide lockdown.
The Railway Ministry started operating Shramik Special trains since May 1 but so far no such train has come to or left from Assam, even as two Shramik Special trains are expected to reach Tripura and Manipur on May 13 or May 14 from south India.