With the onset of pandemic COVID-19 infection, as a preventive measure to combat the spread of infection, all trains services were canceled from time to time until further advice. With the first unlock announced by the Government of India, Indian Railways opened its Passenger Reservation Counters across its network from 22nd May 2020. Further, Indian Railways decided to run 200 special trains from 1st June-2020 across the country with restricted entry to stations and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol. This move was a major relief to stranded passengers who were stuck up due to lockdown.
In the meantime, requests were received from various state governments to eliminate some stoppages to check the spread of the virus and to have a better monitoring system. However, with the unlock 5.0, given safeguarding the economy and keeping public health in mind, relaxations have been granted for public transportation. In this context, during a high-level meeting with Chairman Railway Board, elaborate discussions were held for the running of intra-state special trains. The outcome of the meeting was that an assessment can be made according to local public demand, representations from Public representatives, and consultation with the state government for the possibility of running of intrastate special trains. Railway Board has permitted zonal railways to run intra-state special trains in consultation with the respective state governments.
This will give relief to the daily commuters, farmers, vendors, small scale business persons, employees, etc who relied on train services for their daily travel, the cheapest means of transport. Even during the pandemic, Waltair Division of East Coast Railway, with its committed workforce, is running parcel special express trains and goods trains for uninterrupted supply of essential commodities apart from two originating special express trains and two special trains running via the Division to cater the needs of the local public. Now Intra-state special trains will also be planned if state governments permit.
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