With the Centre working on a planned exit strategy, there were some hints given by popular media sites that Railways will be given priority over air travel from April 15. But, it would not be easy for passengers to travel in trains post-April 14 in case the lockdown is lifted.

Mumbai train
Indian Railways was planning to run 307 trains in north India as per reports.Reuters | Representational

These reports have, however, been denied by the Railway Ministry saying that no protocols have been prepared by the railways for train travel that was reportedly to start from April 15.

Tweet claiming that the reports are not trueTwitter

'No such protocols have been issued'

Reports stated that protocols have been prepared by the Ministry of Railways for possible train operations in order to check the spread of coronavirus.

What it stated:

  1. As per the media reports on protocols, all those who wish to travel by train will only get to travel by sleeper class as air-conditioned coaches will not be available for travelling.
  2. Passengers will need to report to the railway stations about four hours early from the scheduled departure of their respective trains.
  3. With this happening, railway authorities will have enough time to conduct thermal screening of all passengers at the railway stations. Not everyone will be allowed to enter the premises of railway stations. Only passengers with reserved tickets will be allowed to enter the station. Passengers with waiting tickets will not be able to board trains.
  4. The sale of platform tickets will remain suspended till further orders.
  5. All passengers will have to provide prior information about his or her health to the railways about 12 hours before the journey. Social distancing norms will have to be strictly adhered to by the passengers.
  6. Only two passengers will travel in a cabin with six berths.
  7. The trains will run non-stop from one station to another without stopping in between. All four doors of the train will remain closed.
  8. In case a person is found having symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cold, cough etc, he or she will be forced to deboard the train in the middle of the journey.
  9. Indian Railways was planning to run 307 trains in north India as per reports.
  10. It was further stated in the report that passengers will be given gloves and masks at the station for which the railways will charge a nominal fee. The railway staff will also be required to wear masks and gloves. No outside vendors will be allowed to enter the coaches.

However, a Twitter post stated that the Ministry of Railways has not issued any protocol regarding passenger travel during post lockdown period, as has been incorrectly reported in some media reports

As and when a decision is taken, all stakeholders would be intimated. Please do not be guided by any misleading report

Railway Ministry's TweetTwitter

In wake of coronavirus, the Indian railways have cancelled all passenger trains till April 14.