95% of Mumbai suburban trains to resume service from Friday
- The additional local train services, being added from Friday in Mumbai, will only be available for the restricted categories of commuters allowed to travel on the network currently.
Central and Western Railways’ local train operation in Mumbai will return to nearly full service with up to 95% of its pre-Covid-19 outbreak schedule resuming from Friday, confirmed officials.
A total of 2,781 train services will be operated by the Central and Western Railway beginning Friday. The decision comes two days after the meeting to consider resumption of local train services for all commuters was held on Monday under Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership.
Local train services in the metropolis are currently available for the essential services staff, the specially-abled and cancer patients. Women passengers and lawyers are also allowed to commute during a stipulated time period.
Both the zonal railways announced on Tuesday late night, the decision to operate additional local train services.
From Friday, the Central Railway will operate 1685 local train services daily as opposed to 1580 train services running currently and the Western Railway will operate 1300 local train services as opposed to 1201 train services, running currently.
Earlier, Western Railway had announced the resumption of all local train services from Friday. However, the decision was rescinded later.
Before the coronavirus induced lockdown was imposed, resulting in suspension of routine railway services in March last year, the Central Railway operated 1774 train services and the Western Railway operated 1367 train services.
“Additional 204 local train services will be added on the Central and Western Railway from January 29. Passengers as permitted by the ministry of railways and the government of Maharashtra are only allowed to travel by the suburban trains,” said Sumit Thakur, chief public relation officer, Western Railway.
Passenger associations have stated that the late night move by the railways has created confusion among the general public. “The meeting with the chief minister is a positive sign that the train services will resume for all soon. However, railways internal communications leak on social media and haphazard decisions have created confusion among passengers. Many think that train services will resume for all on January 29. This can lead to overcrowding,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.
Meanwhile, the divisional railway manager GVL Satyakumar tweeted on Wednesday morning, appealing to the public not to rush to the railway stations.
“APPEAL: Passengers as permitted by the Ministry of Railways and government of Maharashtra are only allowed to travel by the suburban trains. Others are requested not to rush to the Rly stations. Please adhere (to) all norms, SOPs related to COVID19 during boarding, travel & at destination,” tweeted divisional railway manager, Western Railway.
Local train services resumed for employees of essential services on July 15, 2020. Train services were suspended in the city on March 23, 2020.
With more than 7 million people travelling daily in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the suburban train services are the biggest public transport system in the financial capital.