New Delhi: In a major relief to passengers, Indian Railways on Wednesday released the list of 200 Special trains that will run from June 1 and said that these will be fully reserved trains having both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned classes. Bookings for these trains will commence on May 21.
A Railway Ministry spokesperson, in a statement, said that Indian Railways, in consultation with Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, and Home Affairs, has decided that train services will be further partially restored with effect from June 1.
However, other regular passenger services including all mail/express, passenger and suburban services shall remain cancelled until further advice, he said.
The bookings of these Special trains will commence from Thursday at 10 a.m. through IRCTC.
The announcement comes a day after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced running of the 200 Special trains from June 1.
The railways have been operating Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrant workers, tourists, pilgrims and students from May 1, and from May 12, began 15 pairs of Special air-conditioned trains.
The official said that these 200 Special trains will be fully reserved. "General coaches shall also have reserved seat for sitting. There will be no unreserved coach in the train," he said.
He also said that fares shall be as normal and for General coaches, being reserved, second seating fare shall be charged and seats will be provided to all the passengers.
The official said that only online e-ticketing will be done through IRCTC website or through Mobile App.
"No tickets will be booked across the reservation counter on any railway station. Booking of tickets through 'agents' -- both IRCTC and railway -- shall not be permitted," he said, adding that the advance reservation period in these trains will be 30 days.
The official said that wait-listed and reservation against cancellation tickets will also be generated. "However, passengers with wait-listed ticket will not be allowed to board the train," he said.
The official said that no tickets will be issued onboard to any passenger during the journey and no Tatkal and premium Tatkal booking shall be permitted in these trains.
According to the official, the first chart will be prepared at least four hours before scheduled departure and second will be prepared at least 2 hours, unlike present practice of 30 minutes before the scheduled departure.
The railway official said that all passengers shall be compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to enter or board the train.
The railways also said that all quotas shall be permitted in these special trains as has been permitted in regular trains.
"Limited number of reservation counters shall be operated for this purpose. However, normal ticket booking cannot be done through these counters," the official said.
The railways also said that only four categories of Divyangjan concession and 11 categories of patient concessions are permitted in these special trains.
Passengers were advisedto arrive at the station 90 minutes before the departure of the train, and wear face masks.
The official also said that on arrival at their destination, the passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols as are prescribed by the destination state/UT.
The Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Ticket and Refund of Fare) Rules, 2015 shall be applicable for cancellation and instructions have already been issued regarding refund of fare in case passenger is not found fit for travelling due to symptoms of corona.
The official also said that no catering charges shall be included in the fare.
"Provision for pre-paid meal booking, e-catering shall be disabled. However, IRCTC shall make provision for limited eatables and packaged drinking water on payment basis only in limited trains, having pantry car attached," he said, adding passengers are encouraged to carry their own food and drinking water.
The official said that no linen, blankets and curtains shall be provided inside the train.
"Passengers are advised to carry their own linen for the travel. The temperature inside AC coaches shall be suitably regulated for this purpose," he said.
Arogya Setu app is mandatory for any passenger to travel in these 200 special trains.