Passenger train service will expand from the existing 15 trains to more than 200 starting next month. The service will involve non-air conditioned trains, which had not been allowed so far. The 15 trains that have been running since May 12, are air-conditioned trains and the passengers are required to maintain rules of social distancing and use masks and sanitisers.
In a tweet today, the Railways said apart from the Shramik Special trains, it would run “200 additional timetable trains daily from June 1, which will be non-air conditioned second class trains and booking of these trains will be available online”.
Information on the trains will be made available soon, the Railways said.
The Railways had hinted at the move last week, saying it would begin issuing waitlisted tickets from May 22. The order, it said, applies not just to the 15 existing trains, but also “those that will be notified in due course of time”.
The decision comes days after the Centre extended the countrywide lockdown for a third time but lifted the bar on bus service and other public transport. The final decision in terms of implementation was left to the states.
It also marks a step forward in the tussle with some states over the running of special trains for migrants. Claiming that some states are denying permission for incoming special trains carrying migrants, the Centre had scrapped the mandatory requirement that states receiving migrants approve the transfer.
The move had created room for a face-off with states like Bihar and Karnataka, which have said that incoming migrants were spreading the infection.
Before the lockdown, the railways operated around 12,000 trains every day. Since May 1, it ran 366 special trains for migrant workers from different corners of the country.