Indian Railways to start festival special trains from today. Details here
The Indian Railways plans to get on track with a number of special trains from Sunday, October 10, in view of the anticipated passenger rush during the ongoing festive season in India. These special trains, which are slated to run from October 10 to November 21, are being started keeping in mind the growing demand in the ensuing holiday period of Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, and Chhatt Puja—occasions that result in an increase in passenger demand during this time, most specifically from the eastern part of the country.
The Indian Railways is usually known to run around 5,000 festival special trains every year during this period. However, the prevailing coronavirus pandemic this year has made the situation complicated; while the passenger demand remains more or less the same, the railway authorities are forced to run at a much lesser operational capacity due to the Covid-19-related protocols.
On Wednesday, the Northern Railway took to its official handle on Twitter to announce that it was starting a number of festival station trains “in order to clear extra rush of passengers during the forthcoming festival season”. The details of these are as follows:
On the other hand, the Western Railway, the South Central Railway and the South Eastern Railway also made their respective announcements from their official Twitter handles. These include a new festival train, the Howrah-Puri special, which will leave Howrah every Saturday at 8:35pm, and the Hatia-Durg special, which will leave Hatia every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:05pm.
On the other side of the country, the Southern Railway is also starting special train services; the Tambaram-Nagercoil superfast special, the advanced reservation for which already started on October 7, will also run on a special fare, according to reports citing railway officials familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the Western Railway has also announced the extension of trips of five pairs of festival special trains in view of the Dussehra season.
On a related note, the Railway Board has extended its current coronavirus disease (Covid-19) guidelines for another six months. In the new order, the board stated that anyone found violating the mask mandate in railway premises or during travel can be fined up to ₹500. Under the standard operation procedure (SOP) for movement of trains now, the railways mandated that “all passengers shall be wearing face cover/mask at entry and during travel.” The fine for mask mandate violation was supposed to be in place till September but has now been extended for another six months.
In April, the Indian Railways first announced a fine of ₹500 for violating the mask mandate owing to the second wave of Covid-19 when the country was reporting more than 200,000 new infections each day.