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Zones prepare post-lockdown restoration plans, railways says no decision on resumption of services yet

Washing of railway coaches in progress at Virar.

Washing of railway coaches in progress at Virar.   | Photo Credit: Archisman Dash

The railways had suspended services of 13,523 trains for 21 days after a lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on March 24.

The Railways on April 4 said no final decision was taken on restoration of train services, even as its zones have started drawing up plans to resume passenger services, which were suspended for 21 days due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The statement of the Railways came a day after a video-conference held by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with the Railway Board chairman and other officials, where it was decided that the services will be resumed in a graded manner and the plans for such restoration should be given to the board for approval.

“Train services will have to be resumed only on specific approval of each train from the Railway Board. Suggestions for a phase-wise planning should be given to the board,” an official said, commenting on the decision taken during the video-conference.

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The trains, however, will begin operations only after receiving a green signal from the government, which had formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) on the issue.

All 17 railway zones and divisions are preparing plans to identify trains and resume services from April 15, taking into account the availability of rakes.

For example, the Ferozepur Division of Northern Railway has drawn up a plan to restore 23 trains, the rakes of which are available at the Amritsar, Jammu Tawi, Sri Vaishno Devi Katra and Ferozepur railway stations.

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These trains include the Saharsa Garib Rath Express, New Delhi Express, Banmankhi Jan Sewa Express, Haridwar Express, Katihar Express, Jaynagar Saryuyamuna Express, Saharsa Weekly Jansadharan Express, Bilaspur-Chhattisgarh Express, Darbhanga Jannayak Express, Dehradun Express and Pathankot Ravi Express.

Similarly, the Delhi division plans to restore around 200 trains, including the Amritsar Shatabdi, Sarbat Da Bhala Express, New Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani, Rewa Express and Jammu Rajdhani.

Sources said the railways is also likely to conduct a thermal screening of all passengers and follow the protocols as may be advised by the government after the lockdown.

They added that a concrete action plan will be sent to the zones next week.

In an unprecedented move, the railways suspended the services of 13,523 trains for 21 days after the lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 24.

The freight trains, however, continued to run.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 8:11:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/zones-prepare-post-lockdown-restoration-plans-railways-says-no-decision-on-resumption-of-services-yet/article31257192.ece

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