54 passengers per coach, non-stop run: All you need to know about ‘Shramik Express’ trains
The railways has launched special trains across various destinations in the country to ferry migrant labourers during the Covid-19 lockdown, which has been extended by two more week beyond May 3.
After an order from the central government allowing the movement of stranded migrants, the railways started running special service under the name ‘Shramik Express’.
Here is all you need to know about these trains:
• ‘Shramik Express’ have been planned on the request of 10 states - Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Gujarat who want to bring back their migrant population.
• These trains will run daily and their number will be slowly increased, said railway officials. Five ‘Shramik Express’ trains were on track on Friday, 10 ran on Saturday due to the screening process necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic and logistics. The remaining trains will run on Sunday, officials said.
• These trains mostly have 24 coaches. Each of these coaches can accommodate 72 passengers but only 54 are being allowed due to social distancing norms. The total number of passengers travelling should be around 1200 per train, the railways said.
• The railways has directed states to collect fares from passengers cleared to travel in these trains. The fare includes the price of regular sleeper class tickets plus superfast charges of Rs 30 and an additional charge of Rs 20. The railways ministry has said that state governments can pay the fare on passengers’ behalf.
• The railways will provide only one meal for trains longer than 12 hours. It has asked the state governments to provide food packets and water to the passengers at originating stations. The states have also been asked to encourage passengers to download the Arogya Setu app for checking the health status of the passengers.
• In Maharashtra, the worst affected state by the coronavirus pandemic, Mumbai is not an originating station due to the high number of Covid-19 positive cases. Trains are being run from other destinations like Bhiwandi and Vasai in Maharashtra. These trains are unlikely to run from containment zones, which include almost all metro cities.
• The railways has maintained secrecy about the movement of these special trains. Except the names of originating and destination states, no other details have been officially shared. These trains are non-stop, bound for a single destination.
• Jharkhand, which has requested 31 trains, tops the list of states who have reached out to the national transporter to help migrants return home. It has paid the railways in advance for its services, said officials.
• Railways reserves the right to discontinue ‘Shramik Express’ trains if safety protocols are flouted at any stage, the ministry has said.