More trains will be allowed soon, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said today, asserting that it was time to take India towards normalcy after weeks of shutdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.
"We will announce resumption of more trains; it is time to take India towards normalcy," Piyush Goyal was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
He said the booking of train tickets would resume at around 1.7 lakh centres across the country from Friday.
"Bookings also will resume at ticket counters of stations in the next two-three days; we are conducting studies, developing protocol," the minister added.
Trains were stopped, along with flights and metros, after the country went into lockdown in late March.
Earlier this month, migrant specials or "Shramik Express" trains started running to take migrants stranded by the coronavirus lockdown to their home states.
Last week, 200 more trains were announced.
The Railways said regular passenger trains would restart next month.
The decision to run more trains came days after the centre extended the coronavirus lockdown for the third time but eased restrictions, allowing states to run limited transport if they wanted.
Passengers will be screened for COVID-19 infection before they board the train and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel. Symptomatic passengers will get full refund.
The government says everyone must wear masks and have the COVID-19 contact-tracing app Aarogya Setu installed in their mobiles.
Before the lockdown, the railways operated around 12,000 trains every day.
Yesterday, the government also announced that flights will begin again with new SOPs for travel in the time of coronavirus.
SOPs for air passengers announced today include thermal screening, Aarogya Setu app on mobile phones, no meals on planes and one piece of baggage to start with.