- No decision has been made on when passenger train services will be resumed on the Indian Railways network.
Important alert for Indian Railways passengers! The Ministry of Railways has clarified on resuming train services amidst the unprecedented situation. According to the Railway Ministry, some media reports have falsely published details of protocols that will be followed for passenger travel post the lockdown period. However, Indian Railways has clarified in this regard that no protocol has been issued for restarting train services after the COVID-19 lockdown will be lifted and all such media reports claiming otherwise, are misleading and incorrect. To put it clearly – no decision has been made on when passenger train services will be resumed on the Indian Railways network! The Railway Ministry further stated that as and when the decision for restarting passenger trains will be taken, all stakeholders will be informed.
In the wake of the rising COVID-19 pandemic across the country, Indian Railways had suspended the operations of all passenger trains throughout the network, including Mail/Express trains, suburban trains, metro, inter city trains, Konkan Railway and all long distance trains. However, the Railway Board allowed the continuation of Indian railways freight trains in order to ensure the supply chain in the country, by the valuable transportation of essential commodities such as food grains, fruits, milk, vegetables, salt, sugar etc. Indian Railways has also started 109 timetabled parcel trains over 58 routes for the transportation of essential items in the lockdown period.
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Meanwhile, the Railway Board has also taken a slew of measures to support the Centre and state governments in dealing with the pandemic. Indian Railways is in the process of converting as many as 20,000 train coaches spread across the network, into COVID-19 isolation wards, for facilitating individuals to be kept in quarantine.
It is also preparing hospital beds, saline stands, face masks, sanitisers to be utilized for safety and protection across the network. Additionally, Indian Railways has also relaxed the refund rules for passengers, who had confirmed train tickets between the lockdown period i.e., March 21, 2020 – April 14, 2020. The relaxed refund rules apply for both IRCTC e-tickets as well as PRS counter booked tickets.