An attempt to make good the losses from passenger ticket sales due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Railways have belatedly woken up to the need of re-starting services of popular trains on various circuits. At Central Railway, about four trains ex-Nagpur and one from Amravati are mooted to be restarted on urgent basis. The Chief Passenger and Traffic Manager (CPTM), CR, has sounded an SoS to Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer (PCME), CR, about need for readying rakes of 24 trains identified for restarting at short notice. CPTM, in his communication, has underlined the plummeting losses due to limited availability of trains post permission was granted for re-start the derailed long distance Mail/Express trains due to lockdown.
With just three months to go for financial year to end, railway bosses have belatedly realised that popular services need to be restarted quickly to cover the lost ground before it’s too late. Ex-Nagpur the services identified for restarting are 12139/12140 Nagpur Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Mumbai (CSMT ) Sewagram Express; 12135/12136 Nagpur-Pune Tri-weekly; 22137 Nagpur-Ahemdabad Prerna Express, while for Amravati it is 12111/12112 CSMT-Amravati Amba Nagari Express. The three to four months of lockdown knocked out the regular services and in Mission Begin Again, railway bosses were not aggressive in ensuring starting the services that could have been popularised to great extent by travellers given the convenience of travel. The communication from CPTM is quite clear, he has expressed concerned over rising losses due to low response to ticket sales and hence cited urgency to make available 22 rakes of long distance trains. Right now 17 rakes of IRS/ICR/ and 5 LHB should be quickly made available by ensuring their fitness and readying there batteries and checking other requisite items, including electrical accessories.
At peak before the lockdown over COVID-19 concerns, Central Railway was running 169 pairs of Mail/Express trains. As part of calibrated restarting of passenger services, till now 99 trains were reintroduced but travellers were bewildered as the most popular services were missing from revised time table. In fact, CPTM letter is crystal clear as to popularity of these trains as CSMT-AMI had occupancy ratio of 119.32 per cent, AMI-CSMT had 130.42 per cent, CSMT-NGP had 101.97 per cent, NGP-CSMT had 130.85 per cent, Pune Nagpur had 118.92 per cent, Nagpur-Pune had 122.92 per cent, Nagpur-ADI had 132.36 per cent occupancy at the peak of their operations. The occupancy figures are for period from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. CPTM mentioned that the starting of these trains and other mentioned would enable meeting the goal of ticketing revenue target and further generate goodwill among masses. People are desperately waiting for stating of these services as they were quite handicapped in absence of these long distance trains, said Basant Shukla, Secretary, Bharatiya Yatri Kendra (BYK). He also demanded that local trains that covered intra-district travel should also be reintroduced early for the benefit of those who have to daily travel on official duties. SatishYadav, Member, Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, expressed surprise that Garib Rath, another popular train on Nagpur-Pune circuit does not find mention in the list of CPTM. Given the traffic on Pune route, Central Railway need to capitalise and introduce another service.