A day after Indian Railways resumed partial train services, a special train on Wednesday chugged out of Bhubaneswar station with 523 passengers who underwent health screening in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Delhi-bound special train departed for its journey amid clapping as the passengers, including women and children, and onboard railway staff wearing face masks maintained social distance before boarding the train.
Altogether 523 passengers boarded the train at Bhubaneswar railway station, while the rest will join at different stations as the tickets for all the 916 berths have been booked, East Coast Railway (ECoR) Spokesperson said.
The passengers, who were asked to reach the station 90 minutes before the scheduled time of departure, underwent thermal screening at the entrance before entering the platform area.
The passengers adhered to social distance norms and stood inside circles marked on the pathway and the platform, a railway official said, adding that all the passengers were provided hand sanitisers upon entry to the platform. “They were also thermally scanned,” he said.
Non-touch sanitiser dispenser was also set up at the entrance of Platform No 1 from where the train departed. The train was also sanitized.
Expressing happiness over the resumption of train services, passengers also appreciated the efforts of the railway for helping the stranded people, while the joy of the children who boarded the train knew no bounds. Many people were highly excited to go back home after being stuck in Odisha for a long time due to the lockdown.
The ECoR had advised the passengers to carry their own bedroll linen and make food arrangement. Only limited variety of eatables and packaged drinking water are available on payment inside train. Therefore, the passengers were advised to carry their own food, an official said, adding that bedroll linen will not be provided.
The special train, fully air-conditioned having a total of 17 coaches of 3A/2AC/1st AC type, has stoppages at Balasore, Hijli (Kharagpur), Tata, Bokaro Steel City, Gaya, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction, and Kanpur Central between Bhubaneswar and New Delhi.
Tickets were sold only through IRCTC website.