In view of the upcoming festive season, Indian Railways has decided to run 196 pairs of festival special trains (392 trains) between 20 October 2020 and 30 November 2020. These festival special trains will be run for destinations like Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi, among others to cater to the growing demand during the festive period of Diwali, Dussehra, Durga Puja, and Chhatt Puja, according to a PTI report. The national transporter has said that the fares of these special train services will be similar to those applicable for Indian Railways’ special trains. This means that ‘special charges’ will be levied on the train tickets, making them costlier by 10% to 30% as compared to the fares of express/mail trains, depending on the class of travel.
Till now, the national transporter has pressed into service a total of 666 express/mail special trains which are now being operated regularly across the Indian Railways network. Additionally, some local trains are also being operated in the city of Mumbai as well as certain Kolkata Metro rail services. However, the new festival special trains will only run till 30 November 2020 and will not have a continued run. These festival special trains will run at a speed of 55 km per hour, as per an order issued by the Railway Board recently.
Indian Railways will take stock of passenger train services on a daily basis depending on the state governments’ needs and the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Railway Board Chairman and CEO, VK Yadav, earlier this month. The Railway Board had conducted meetings with the zonal general managers and also instructed them to speak with local administration as well as review the pandemic status, Yadav had stated. The zonal railways have been asked to submit a report to the Railway Board, after which it will be decided how many trains can be introduced during the festive season, he had said. While the festival special trains have been approved by the Railway Board, it will be up to the zonal railways to finalize their details and schedule, the report added.