Indian Railways passenger train services update: With PM Modi announcing extension of COVID-19 lockdown till May 3, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways will not resume passenger train services.
Indian Railways passenger train services update: With PM Narendra Modi announcing the extension of the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown till May 3, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways will not resume passenger train services. More importantly, the national transporter has also suspended all advance reservations for train tickets until further notice. This means that you cannot book any train ticket from the IRCTC website or agents for the coming months as well.
In an official notification, Indian Railways stated that all passenger train services including Mail/Express trains, premium trains, Kolkata Metro, suburban trains and Konkan Railway shall continue to remain cancelled till 2400 hours on May 3. Additionally, all the counters for booking of train tickets, whether reserved or unreserved, will remain closed both on railway stations and outside the station premises.
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Earlier, the national transporter had cancelled all passenger train services till April 14 but continued to take bookings for trains scheduled from April 15. With the lockdown being extending till May 3, no passenger train services will operate till that date and passengers will be given a full refund for their train tickets.
While IRCTC e-ticket holders will be refunded automatically without the need to cancel their tickets, the PRS counter ticket holders have been asked avoid going to railway stations to claim a refund. For this purpose, Indian Railways has extended the time till which the refund can be claimed so that passengers don’t rush to stations amidst lockdown.
Indian Railways continues to run its freight trains to ensure the supply of essential goods across the country. E-commerce giants like Flipkart and even India Post are now using Indian Railways special parcel trains to ferry goods. The national transporter has introduced 109 parcel train services over 58 routes.
The national transporter is also innovating with its production units and workshops making ventilator prototypes, contactless doctor check-up booths, making masks, sanitizers and PPEs. The Railway Board has also directed all its zones to convert old train coaches into isolation wards for Coronavirus patients. As many as 20,000 train coaches are planned to be converted into isolation wards, providing over 3 lakh beds for quarantine. In the first phase, 5,000 coaches have already been converted. These isolation wards have proper facilities for doctors and nurses as well. With trains being converted into COVID-19 patient wards, India now has unique “movable hospitals on wheels” which can be moved depending on the need in a particular area.