In a bid to provide more convenience to passengers, the Indian Railways on Monday said that the Shramik Special trains will now have three stoppages on its route and the will run with full capacity.
The announcement came a day after the Indian Railways announced to run 15 pair of air conditioned trains from New Delhi to several cities from May 12.
A senior railway ministry official told IANS, "Now the Shramik Special trains will have three stoppages on the route besides the terminating station." Earlier, these trains did not have a single stop on its route and terminated at the last stop.
He said, now 1,700 passengers can travel in the train against 1,200 passengers earlier allowed to travel in the Shramik Special trains.
He said the decision was taken in the backdrop of partial resumption of train services from May 12.
The Indian Railways, which suspended the passenger, mail and express trains from March 25 amid the nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, has started to run the Shramik Special train from May 1 to transport the stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists.
Till 10 a.m. on Monday, the national transporter operated 468 Shramik Special trains and transported over 4.7 lakh people across several states.
The official said that 363 trains had reached its destination and 105 trains are in transit. These 363 trains were terminated in various states like Andhra Pradesh (1), Bihar (100), Himachal Pradesh (1), Jharkhand (22), Madhya Pradesh (30), Maharashtra (3), Odisha (25), Rajasthan(4), Telangana(2), Uttar Pradesh (172), West Bengal (2), Tamil Nadu (1).
He said that these Shramik Special trains have ferried migrants to cities like Tiruchchirappalli, Titlagarh, Barauni, Khandwa, Jagannathpur, Khurda Road, Prayagraj, Chhapra, Balia, Gaya, Purnia, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Hatia, Basti, Katihar, Danapur, Muzzaffarpur, Saharsa etc.
On Sunday, the national transporter announced to gradually resume the train services with 15 pair AC trains equivalent to Rajdhani Express from New Delhi. According to railway officials, these trains in the initial phase will run as special AC trains from New Delhi Station to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
All the coaches will be equipped with AC with limited stoppage and the fare will be equivalent to Rajdhani Express train.
The official further said that in AC three-tier coaches, 52 passengers will be allowed while in AC two-tier coaches, 48 passengers will be allowed keeping in mind the protocol of social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reservation for these special AC trains will start from Monday at 4 p.m. and passengers can book the tickets from IRCTC website or mobile application. The railway official further said that ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets, including platform tickets shall be issued.
"Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course," the official added.