The Railways on Tuesday announced that it will operate 392 festival special trains between October 20 and November 30 in view of the upcoming festive season.
It also said the fares of these trains will be similar to those applicable for special trains, which means 'special charges' will be levied making the tickets costlier by 10-30 per cent as compared to the fares of mail/express trains, depending on the class of travel.
The decision was taken as the national transporter is anticipating a passenger rush during the upcoming festive season, the Railway ministry said in a statement.
The special trains will be run for destinations such as Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow among others to cater to the growing demand during the ensuing holiday period of Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhatt puja, it said.
Till now, the railways has pressed into service 666 mail/express special trains which are now running regularly across the country. Additionally some suburban services are also being operated in Mumbai as well as certain services of the Kolkata Metro.
These new festival special trains, however, will operate only till November 30 and will not have a continued run, officials said.
In an order issued on Tuesday, the Railway Board said these festival special trains will be operated at a speed of 55 kmph.
The Railways has suspended all its regular services due to the coronavirus pandemic since March and is operating trains as per demand and necessity.
From May 12, Railways started running limited special trains to help stranded people across the country to reach their homes in different states.
It started with 15 pairs of premium Rajdhani special trains connecting Delhi with different parts of the country, followed by 100 pairs of long-distance trains on June 1. It also started 80 trains additionally on September 12.
Earlier this month, Railway Board Chairman and CEO, VK Yadav had said Railways will take stock of passenger services on a daily basis depending on the needs of the state governments and the status of the pandemic.
"We have conducted meetings with the general managers of zones and instructed them to speak with local administration and review the status of coronavirus. They have been asked to give us a report after which we will decide how many trains can be introduced during the holiday season," Yadav had said.
While the Railway Board has approved the festival special trains, it will be up to the zones to finalise their details and schedule.
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