Earlier this week, the government allowed resumption of train services, starting June 1 as part of the relaxations in the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The Indian Railways will start operations of 200 passenger trains apart from Shramik trains which are being run to help migrants reach their homes. Bookings for all these trains began from Thursday. However, the Ministry of Railways, in consultation with the Home Ministry and Health and Family Welfare Ministry, has laid out detailed guidelines for passengers willing to avail the services of these trains. Here is a list of all the guidelines:
Booking of Tickets & Charting for Special Trains:
- Only online E-Ticketing will be done through IRCTC website or through Mobile App. No tickets will be booked across the reservation counter on any Railway Station. Booking of tickets through ‘agents', (both IRCTC Agents and Railway Agents) shall not be permitted.
- The ARP (advance reservation period) shall be maximum 30 days.
- RAC and wait list will be generated as per extant rules however waiting list ticket holders shall not be permitted to board the train.
- No unreserved (UTS) tickets will be issued and no tickets will be issued onboard to any passenger during the journey.
- No tatkal and premium tatkal booking shall be permitted in these trains.
- First chart shall be prepared at least 4 hours before scheduled departure and second chart shall be prepared at least 2 hours (unlike present practice of 30 minutes) before scheduled departure. Only online current booking shall be permitted in between first and second chart preparation.
- All passengers shall be compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers are allowed to enter /board the train.
Passengers travelling by these special trains will have to observe the following precautions:
- Only passengers with Confirmed tickets shall be allowed to enter the Railway station.
- All passengers must wear face covers/masks at the entry and during travel.
- The passengers shall reach the station at-least 90 minutes in advance to facilitate thermal screening at the station. Only passengers who are found asymptomatic will be permitted to travel.
- Passengers shall observe social distancing both at the station and on trains.
- On arrival at their destination, the travelling passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols as are prescribed by the destination state/UT
All quotas shall be permitted in these special trains as has been permitted in Regular trains. Limited number of reservation (PRS) counters shall be operated for this purpose. However, normal ticket booking cannot be done through these counters.
Concessions: Only four categories of Divyangjan concession and 11 categories of patient concessions are permitted in these special trains..
Cancellation and Refund rule: Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Ticket and Refund of Fare) Rules, 2015 shall be applicable.
In addition following instructions already issued regarding Refund of fare in case passenger is not found fit for travelling due to symptoms of Corona shall remain applicable.
As per MHA guidelines all passengers shall be compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers shall be allowed to enter/board the train.
If during screening a passenger has very high temperature/symptoms of Covid-19 etc., he shall not be allowed to travel despite having confirmed tickets. In such case full refund shall be provided to passenger as under:
- On PNR having single passenger.
- On a party ticket if one passenger is found unfit to travel and also all other passengers on the same PNR do not want to travel in that case full refund shall be granted for all passengers.
- On a party ticket if one passenger is found unfit to travel however other passengers on the PNR want to travel in that case full refund of fare shall be granted to passenger who was not allowed to travel.
Catering in special trains:
- No catering charges shall be included in the fare. Provision for pre paid meal booking, e-catering shall be disabled. However, IRCTC shall make provision for limited eatables and packaged drinking water on payment basis only in limited trains, having Pantry car attached. Information to this effect shall be made available to passengers during time of booking ticket.
- Passengers are encouraged to carry their own food and drinking water.
- All static catering and vending units (Multi Purpose stalls, Bookstalls, Misc./Chemist stalls etc) at Railway stations will remain open. In case of Food Plaza and Refreshments rooms etc, cooked items may be served as take away only with no sit-down eating arrangements in place.
Linen and Blanket:
- No Linen, blankets and curtains shall be provided inside the train. Passengers are advised to carry their own linen for the travel. The temperature inside AC coaches shall be suitably regulated for this purpose.
- Zonal Railways have been instructed to ensure that there are separate entry and exit gates at Railway stations to the extent feasible so that there is no face to face movement of passengers. Zonal railways will be guided by standard social distancing guidelines on stations and trains and observe the safety, security and hygiene protocols.
- All passengers must download and use the Aarogya Setu application. Passengers are advised to travel light.
- As per MHA guidelines the movement of the passenger(s) as well as the driver of the vehicle transporting the passenger(s) to and fro the Railway Station shall be allowed on the basis of the confirmed e-ticket.