Mumbai local train services resume today, but only ‘essential staff’ permitted to travel

Mumbai local train services resume today, but only 'essential staff' permitted to travel
These special suburban services will not be for general passengers/public and will be strictly for essential staff as identified by the State Government of Maharashtra only

After nearly two-and-a-half months, Railways resumed limited suburban train services in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on Monday morning.

Both Central Railway and Western Railway have decided to run “selective suburban services” over main line and harbour line only for essential staff as defined by the state government, a senior official said.

These special suburban services will not be for general passengers/public and will be strictly for essential staff as identified by the State Government of Maharashtra only, Railway authorities said.

The first such train left from Virar for Churchgate early morning today.

“It has been decided to run selected suburban services over mainline and harbour lines w.e.f. 15th June 2020 with defined protocol & SOP, ONLY for movement,” both CR and WR tweeted.

“ESSENTIAL STAFF AS IDENTIFIED by the STATE GOVERNMENT who are traveling by selected suburban trains are requested to travel with VALID TICKETS to avoid inconvenience,” they tweeted.

The partial resumption of suburban train services is expected to benefit around 1.25 lakh employees of essential services of the state government. Additionally, entry will only be allowed at stations through ID cards of the employees.

This follows repeated appeals by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the Centre for the resumption of services as part of the unlocking process post COVID-19 lockdown.

The WR will run 60 pairs of its 12 car suburban services (total 120) in both directions between Churchgate and Dahanu Road, according to WR spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar.

The CR will run 100 services on either side on its mainline between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Thane, Kalyan, Karjat and Kasara and 70 services on either side of Harbour line between CSMT and Panvel, said CR spokesperson Shivaji Sutar.

“These trains will run between 05.30 hrs to 23.30 hrs and with an interval of approximately 15 minutes”, said a CR-WR joint statement early Monday.

“It is requested not to rush to the stations and follow medical and social protocols as mandated for CoVID-19,” the CR-WR joint statement said.

Meanwhile, the city saw 1,395 new coronavirus cases and 79 deaths on Sunday. “The total number of cases in the city is now at 58,135, including 28,959 active cases, 26,986 discharged and 2,190 deaths,” a BMC official said.

Highlights from the Railways statement on resumption of services:

* The Railway workman special trains, already running will continue to run.

* RPF/GRP/State Police will be deployed at various stations.

* Entry will be given at stations strictly through ID cards of essential staff as identified by the State Government. Later on, the staff will be issued QR based E-passes which will also bear colour coding to enable swifter ticket checking. State Government will ensure the same.

* Railways as well as the state government will ensure multiple rounds of checking to ensure only essential staff as identified by the State Government, should board these trains.

* The state government has been urged to ensure all those allowed to travel, are done so after ensuring that they are medically fit and do not come from the containment zone.

* To allow adequate social distancing in the coaches, unlike its seating capacity to accommodate about 1,200 persons, only about 700 are to be allowed per train.

* Further the state government is advised to stagger the timings of its offices for workers coming from different areas to ensure there is no crowding at the stations and inside the trains.

* Strict imposition of “NO HAWKER & NO PARKING ZONE” in station circulating area at 150 meters radius. Approach roads to stations shall be cleared to enable smooth passage of passengers and prevent any mass gathering of public at station premises.

* Ambulances will be kept at each station alongwith the medical staff to deal with the emergency situation arises during the travel of commuters by respective Municipal Corporations.

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