Resumption of passenger trains provides relief to people stranded due to lockdown | India News

NEW DELHI: Thousands gathered at the New Delhi Railway Station on Tuesday with mixed feelings of relief and apprehension, with many landing up hours before the scheduled train departure, as the railways resumed its services amid the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The railways said three special AC trains will leave the New Delhi Railway Station for Dibrugarh, Bengaluru and Bilaspur.
The train to Dibrugarh in Assam left at 4.45 pm, while the one leaving for Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh departed at 4 pm. The train to Bengaluru in Karnataka will leave the station at 9.15 pm.
The national transporter is taking all safety precautions like following social distancing and providing hand sanitisers to passengers to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
The resumption of train services has come as a big relief to many stranded in the national capital due to the nationwide lockdown.
For 70-year-old Ram Vilas, a craftsman of gunmetal statues, the main concern is his onward journey from Patna station to his home in Madhubani in Bihar.
“I came to Delhi for a crafts fair in February. After the lockdown was imposed, I was stranded with my team of seven artisans at Pragati Maidan. The train ticket is a big relief, but my concern is to reach Madhubani after leaving the train at Patna,” he said.
A total of 1,122 passengers were booked on the New Delhi-Dibrugarh special train which departed at 4:45 pm. The New Delhi-Bilaspur train, which left at 4 pm, had 1,177 passenger reservations, railways officials said.
The Chelmsford Road leading to the New Delhi Railway Station was heavily barricaded by police, as those who had to catch the trains walked with their luggage or hired rickshaws.
The entrance of the railway station was also barricaded by police.
People gathered outside as policemen queued up the passengers to different destinations.
Announcements were made to maintain social distancing as people packed the road outside the railway station.
Shivani Chaube, a civil services aspirant, staying in Mukherjee Nagar, expressed concern over her health during her journey back home to Bilaspur.
“I was finding it difficult to study in Delhi and am going back home. I am concerned about the safety precautions during the train journey with the epidemic raging in Delhi,” she said.
Railways officials said all precautions have been taken to ensure that passengers had a safe journey. Even the air conditioning of train coaches was adjusted to help the circulation of more fresh air, they said.
“The air conditioning units in the coaches have been modified to maximise fresh air. Screening of all passengers is being done and floor markings for social distancing at the platforms and entire passenger area have been done,” said a senior railway official.
The passengers were made to sanitise their hands before entering the raliway station. Also, they were asked to carry their own linen and blankets as well as food and drinking water for the journey.
Swami H B, employed with a bakery in Gurgaon, reached the station hours before the departure of his train to Bengaluru at 9.15 pm.
“I got the reservation with great difficulty. Me and my three friends in Gurgaon and Bengaluru got the booking after spending hours on the IRCTC website. I came early as I had to commute from Gurgaon and also because I cannot afford to miss the train,” he said.
He said he was apprehensive of his journey forward from Bengaluru to his hometown Chikmagalur .
“I may be quarantined in Bengaluru. But, if authorities allow, I will make some arrangement to reach Chikmagalur ,” Swami said.
A total of 1,162 passengers have been booked on the New Delhi-Bengaluru special train.
Syed Yasir, a private retail sector executive, said he will finally be able to go to Nagpur to be with his family on Eid.
Walking with his luggage on Chelmsford Road towards the railway station, he said he preferred to reach earlier than the railways-advised 90 minutes period before train departure, to make sure he did not miss the train.
“Due to lockdown, it is difficult to commute. Also, one cannot afford to miss the train at such times,” he said as he fastened his steps.
Surendra, an engineer with a PSU, was on an assignment in Agra when the lockdown was announced by the government. After the railways decided to resume passenger train services, he came to Delhi in a private vehicle to board the train to Bengaluru.
“I was on an assignment in Agra where I was stuck. I have come from Agra in a private vehicle and now going to board the train to Bengaluru,” Surendra, who identified himself with his first name, said.
Railway officials said a total of 3,461 passengers had reservations in the three trains scheduled to leave Delhi on Tuesday.
In Video:Lockdown: Passenger train services resume in India

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