Rlys won't operate additional trains at present

NEW DELHI: The railway ministry doesn’t plan to bring more passenger trains into service currently because the special trains operating since the lockdown was imposed are meeting most of the demand, Railway Board chairman VK Yadav said on Thursday.Scheduled passenger train services came to a halt after India implemented a nationwide lockdown in March to curb the spread of Covid-19. As restrictions were eased in phases, 30 Rajdhani trains were put into service in May and 200 trains started operations on June 1.“Right now, we are monitoring it (booking pattern) and we don’t feel that there is any necessity to run additional trains because, as I mentioned, there are only 58 trains with waitlists,” Yadav told reporters in a virtual briefing.Of the 230 trains currently operating, 224 are running at 75% occupancy. Six trains have since been cancelled on request from some state governments.Yadav said more trains will be introduced when demand picks up on certain routes.“Wherever we feel that on a certain route there is a long waiting list and people are not getting tickets for next 10-15 days, then certainly we will add more trains,” Yadav said. “But at this point of time, the most important thing for everyone is to see that the spread of Covid-19 is arrested.”Yadav said demand for Shramik trains – meant for workers wanting to return to their home states – has saturated and more such services will be arranged if fresh demand comes in from state governments.The Indian Railways operated 4,615 Shramik specials since they started on May 1, transporting 6.31 million passengers. The last Shramik train ran on July 9.