After a long nationwide lockdown, railways resumed its passenger services with 15 pairs of special trains on May 12th. And since then, train travel has changed in India and all across the globe. Currently, Railways is operating 230 special trains in all the prominent routes of the country. IRCTC has taken all major steps to ensure that the travel remains safe and the virus doesn’t spread further.
Here are some of the major changes that we can see in train travel during Corona:
- Wearing a mask is compulsory!
Covering your face with a mask is made mandatory, otherwise the chances of catching the deadly virus just multiply. It is extremely important and now compulsory to carry while travelling.
- Reaching before time
With multiple health screenings, passengers now have to reach at least 90 minutes before the train departure time.
- Hygiene is of utmost importance!
IRCTC is trying its best to maintain high-level sanitation. Deep cleaning of each coach is being done so that safer travel can be ensured.
- Social distancing is important
Only passengers with confirmed tickets are being allowed to enter the station premise after all the required checking. Social distancing is being strictly.
- Bring your own linen
While travelling in trains, passengers are requested to bring their own linen so that the spread of COVID-19 can be stopped. Also there are kiosks selling linens at some of the stations.
For those planning to travel anytime soon, special train tickets can be booked online or through reservation counters which are recently opened for the convenience of the travellers.
The Tatkalticket booking services have begun since 29th June for currently operating 230 special trains.
Here are the key points –
1– Passengers who want Tatkal quota tickets have to book their tickets after 10 am one day before the journey for the AC class and after 11 am for the sleeper class.
2– Tickets booked under Tatkal category are slightly more expensive than normal tickets. Earlier, the railways increased the Advanced Reservation Period (ARP) from 30 days to 120 days.
“Recently, Railways has taken a number of initiatives to ensure a safer rail travel and ensuring that we win this fight against Corona virus.”
Some of the key initiatives involve —
- A Robot called Arjun to Screen Passengers While Boarding Trains
From introducing automated thermal scanners to launching automated ticket checking and entry management systems, Railways has taken every step necessary to stop the spread of the virus.
- Fresh air to be pumped inside AC coaches Air-conditioned trains will now have operation theatre-like fresh air pumped into the coaches. This process will replace the circulated air which raises the possibilities of spread of infections.
- Kiosks at railway stations
There are kiosks installed at some of the railways stations selling linen disposable bed sheets, three-ply masks and hand sanitizers.
- All stations regularly disinfected
Railway staff is ensuring constant disinfection of all commercial places as well as high touch surfaces.
- COVID Care Coaches
Railways’ is providing train coaches as COVID care centres with basic medical facilities. They are operational in various states and providing aid to governments in the fight against coronavirus.
- Touch free Wash-basins
In order to maintain hygiene and sanitation, Indian Railways has installed a touch-free wash basin at Guwahati Railway Station. It’s helping passengers in washing hands without touching the tap or soap dispenser.
- Automated Boom Barrier Gate (ABBG)
Railways has recently launched Automated Boom Barrier Gate (ABBG). This new feature will allow entry to passengers only after automatic, no-touch scanning by ATMA is complete. It will help reduce the exposure of on-duty RPF to suspected infections:
- Automated thermal scanners
To make the process of screening seamless, the bullet thermal image screening cameras have been installed at various railway stations such as Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Asansol.
- Automated Face Mask and Hand Sanitiser dispenser
Indian Railways has installed an automated face mask and hand sanitiser dispenser at the Patna station. In case a passenger forgets to carry their own safety wear, they can always use this machine.
- Vehicle-mounted sprayer being used for sanitisation
As a part of the disinfection process, waiting halls, parking areas, platforms, lifts and escalators are being regularly sanitised. Some stations are using a vehicle-mounted sprayer for the same purpose.
“Railways have always adapted new methods to ensure safety, sustainability and pleasant travel experience.”
The 230 special trains being operated by the Indian Railways as of now include 30 special Rajdhani and 200 special mail and express trains.
If you are planningtrain ticket booking, here are some of the important points you need to know:
1– Indian Railways is currently running 230 special trains.
2– Some of the trains run on a weekly basis while others run on a daily basis.
3– Special train ticketscan also be booked online through ixigo.com.
4– There is a tatkal facility available for reservation of seats in these trains.
5– Only passengers with confirmed and valid tickets will be allowed to enter the stations.
IRCTC refund policy includes –
Along with existing railway cancellation rules, if during screening a passenger has very high temperature or shows symptoms of coronavirus, he shall not be allowed to travel despite having confirmed tickets. In this case full refund shall be provided to passenger under these conditions:
- On a PNR having a single passenger.
- If one passenger on a party ticket is found unfit to travel and other passengers on the same PNR do not want to travel, full refund shall be granted to all passengers.
- If one passenger is found unfit to travel on a party ticket, and other passengers on the same PNR want to travel, full refund of fare shall be granted to the passenger who is not allowed to travel.
These trains will have both AC and non-AC classes, along with fully reserved coaches.