Railway Ministry has restricted run of two Howrah-bound trains with immediate effect after accepting the demand of West Bengal government. As per information, the daily train services would now run on weekly basis and they are Howrah Mumbai and Howrah Ahmedabad.
However, with number of COVID-19 cases increasing, State Government communicated to Railway Ministry that it is not willing to permit daily run of Trains No. 02810/02809 and 02834/02833. The composition of weekly train will continue to be same, 22 coaches. While the weekly service of Train Nos. 02810 will kick in from July 1 onwards ex-Howrah that of 02809 ex-Mumbai from July 3. Currently, the Railways is running 100 pairs of special long distance passenger carrying trains besides 27 Rajdhani as per permission from Union Home Ministry.
But countrywide, the rising number of cases of novel coronavirus has already limited the occupancy in number of these trains. Local Railways officials were of opinion that little bit tweaking in number of services of trains would go unnoticed as the demand is quite low. But the truncation of services from daily to just weekly has wide ramification since advance tickets were already issued by Railways without having inclination about such request from any State. Now modification would be done in the passenger reservation system (PRS) to enable issuance of tickets on weekly runs. Also, for Railways, a new refund process would have to be started for cancellation of issued tickets for which the trains’ remains cancelled. Even in Maharashtra, no decision is taken to permit inter-district travel and therefore, occupancy in long distance trains at railway stations is quite low. The demand on Nagpur-Mumbai, Nagpur-Pune, Nagpur-Nasik, Nagpur-Wardha, used to be quite high till lockdown started over concerns of COVID-19 and till date normalcy remains bleak.