Within minutes after the Indian Railways on Monday started taking bookings at 4 p.m. for the 15 pairs of the Special trains to be operational in the first phase of lockdown ease, the IRCTC website crashed due to heavy online traffic as passengers waiting for over a month and half immediately sarted logging in. Only passengers with confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railways stations, and only passengers who are asymptomatic for COVID-19 will be allowed to board the train.
The trains will run from New Delhi station connecting 15 stations and also return from there, and these stations are - Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
Bookings for passenger trains starting May 12, which was earlier to begin at 4 pm on May 11, will now start at 6 pm, as per an alert on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website.
No concession will be allowed on the trains. Ticket counters, including those for platform tickets, at all stations will remain closed.
Tickets can be booked online only through IRCTC website or through its mobile app. Booking of tickets through agents is not allowed. Tatkal services have also been suspended. Passengers will wear a face mask during the entire travel journey.
The movement of the passengers as well as the drivers of the vehicles transporting the passengers to and from the railway station shall be allowed on the basis of the confirmed e-tickets.
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Passengers shall observe social distancing both at the station and on trains.
All passengers would be provided with hand sanitizer at entry and exit points at the station and in coaches.
The rules also say once they arrive at their destination, they have to follow the health protocols of the state.
Special trains that will resume services from May 12 will only have AC classes, the Indian Railways said on Monday.
All governments should cooperate with the railways in running of more number of special trains so that the travel of the stranded migrant workers is facilitated at a faster rate.