Passenger Trains To Restart From Tomorrow

After more than a month’s pause, Indian Railways would be starting passenger trains on selective routes to restore people’s movement, slowly easing the lockdown. 15 pairs of train would function between New Delhi and 15 stations across India.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Railways and Lockdown
Indian railways had stopped all passenger trains since 23 March 2020 as a part of national lockdown. The government launched Shramik Special trains to help migrants labour reach their homes. Since its start from 1st May, around 3.4 lakh workers have been transported. Goods trains were kept functioning to transport essential goods. However, they are operating at 60% of their capacity due to subdued demand because of lockdown.

Relief for passengers
Indian Railways announced that 15 pairs of trains would operate between New Delhi and other 15 stations, starting from 12 May 2020. The booking will start at 4:00 PM on 11 May 2020.

However, passengers have to adhere to the following rules:

  • Tickets can be booked online only
  • No concession would be given and no tatkal booking will be allowed
  • Entry to the railway station prohibited without a ‘confirmed ticket’
  • Passengers expected to reach station 1 hour before departure for COVID-19 checking procedures
  • Only asymptomatic people allowed to board the train
  • Masks would be compulsory at departure.
  • Blankets and food will not be provided by the railways to avoid contagious spreading

Indian Railways: History and effect of Lockdown
Indian Railways is the 4th largest rail network in the world, measuring 67,358 km in length. It is also the world’s 8th largest employer, with a staff of more than 1.3 million workers. In 2019, it reported a revenue of ₹1.97 trillion and a net income of ₹60.14 billion.

The nation-wide lockdown has made deep effects on the Railway system. The passenger trains were shut down from 23rd of March, making it the longest shutdown since the strike in 1974, which demanded wage improvement and easing of work hours. On average, ₹150 crores were earned by passenger fair daily, which amounts to a loss of more than ₹7000 crores since the lockdown.

  • IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) held an initial public offering (IPO) on the National Stock Exchange on 30 September 2019, the IPO got oversubscription of 112 times. The base price of shares was set between ₹315 and ₹320 per share for the IPO. When the listing went live on 14 October 2019, the share price opened at ₹625 and ₹646 on NSE and BSE respectively and rose massively from there. The IPO has reduced Indian Railways’ shareholding in the company to 87.40%.
  • General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton was a British general and irrigation engineer. He built Red Hill Railway, India’s first train. Red Hill Railway ran from Red Hills to the Chintadripet bridge in Madras in 1837.
  • The 1974 railway strike in India was a major strike by the workers of Indian Railways in 1974. The 20-day strike beginning 8th May 1974 by 17 lakh workers was the largest industrial action in the world.