The Indian Railways, which had announced the closure of all passenger, mail and express train services from March 24 to April 14 in a bid to stop the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), has started preparation to resume all its services from April 15, sources said on Saturday.
According to Railway Ministry sources, all railway safety personnel, running staff, guards, TTE and other officials have been told to be prepared to join their posts from April 15.
The sources said that the trains, however, will begin operations only after a green signal from the government which had formed a GoM on the issue. They further said that meanwhile, the railways has shared a “restoration plan” to all its 17 railway zones, with the details of the schedule of trains to be run, their frequency and the availability of rakes.
The source further added that all zones have been sent a missive to be prepared to run their respective services.
Another railway ministry source said that after the 21-day lockdown ending on April 14, the national transporter is likely to restore 80 per cent of passenger train services including premium train services like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Tejas and Vande Bharat trains. He also said that the local trains too are likely to begin operations from April 15.
When asked about ensuring the safety of passengers as well as the railway staff involved in train operations, the source said that railways is likely to conduct thermal screening on all passengers and follow all protocols as advised by the government.
Meanwhile, senior officials said no fresh orders have been issued and since cancellations were only up to April 14 and “no fresh orders are required for starting the opertions with effect from April 15.”
Sources also said that a concrete action plan will be sent to the zones later this week.
The railways had suspended the services of 13,523 trains for 21 days after the lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, freight trains and special pracel trains are in service to ensure the supply of essential items.