Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Limited restarted the first set of “private” Tejas Express trains from Saturday, seven months after the services were suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. IRCTC had started the Lucknow-Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express on October 4, 2019, and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Ahmedabad on January 19 this year.
The two Tejas Express services are the first set of trains run by a corporate entity, IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways. The Tejas trains were suspended on March 19 and will now run from October 17. However, the third IRCTC-operated train, the Kashi Mahakal Express between Indore and Varanasi will not begin its services as of now.
“On getting approval from the Ministry of Railways to again start the operation of the two popular corporate trains, IRCTC is making all-round preparations to ensure that the trains once started to match the expectation of the people in terms of levels of services and safety and health protocols amidst the ongoing pandemic,” IRCTC said in a statement.
Here are the safety protocols being followed:
1. According to the state-run company, every alternate seat on the two trains will be kept vacant to ensure social distancing.
2. Passengers will be thermally screened before entering the coach and will not be allowed to exchange their seats.
3. It also said passengers will be provided with a “Covid-19 protection kit” with a bottle of hand sanitiser, one mask, one face shield and a pair of gloves.
4. Coaches, including the pantry areas and lavatories, will be disinfected at regular intervals. The luggage and baggage of the passengers will also be disinfected.
5. “Use of face covers/masks will be mandatory for passengers and staff.
6. All travellers will have to install the Aarogya Setu contact tracing app and will have to show it as and when demanded.
7. Detailed instructions were also given to the passengers at the time of booking of tickets, IRCTC has said.
8. IRCTC said it has conducted an extensive training programme to educate and train its team of employees of Tejas trains to manage the operations of the trains and provide services amid the coronavirus pandemic and to follow the standard operating procedures to ensure passengers’ safety.