A limited number of suburban trains started zooming in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) from Monday morning after a gap of over two-and-a-half months, officials said.
The train services resumed a day after a statement to this effect was issued jointly by the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR).
The local services on the network of Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) – the city’s lifeline – are specifically for the employees of the Maharashtra government who are engaged in essential services, both clarified in the statement.
According to railway officials, the approval to resume local train services was received from the railway ministry on Sunday evening. Discussions between the railway ministry and Maharashtra government regarding the operation of trains went on till late on Sunday.
The CR will run 200 services (100 up + 100 down) on its main line – between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Thane, Kalyan, Karjat and Kasara and the Harbour line – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Panvel, the statement said.
The WR will run 73 pairs of suburban services including eight pairs between Virar and Dahanu Road, it further said.
These trains will run from 05:30 am to 11:30 pm, according to the joint statement.
Approximately 1.25 lakh employees of essential services of state government are expected to commute by these special limited services. During normal times, over 85 lakhs commute daily on the suburban networks spanning Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad.
The Railway workman special trains, already running will continue to run and personnel of the Railway Protection Fprce (RPF) will be deployed at various stations.
Food and other stalls will not be opened, the statement said. There is also a ‘No Hawker’ and ‘No Parking’ zones in 150 metre radius.
To maintain social distancing, the railways is planning to allow 700 passengers per local train. One 12-compartment local has a capacity of carrying 1,200 passengers, but routinely during peak hours prior to the lockdown, as many as 5,000 commuters would travel per train.
A few booking counters will be operated on Central and Western railway stations. The service will be only for essential workers and medical staff, who will be given an e-pass along with details including picture, name, designation, office railway station, residence railway station, and mobile number.
The e-pass is likely to have a QR code that will be scanned at the entry point.