With the gradual decrease in infection cases, Indian Railways has stepped up efforts to press 100 more trains shortly to ramp up passenger services to cater to growing demand for travel.
Currently, the Railways is running 889 Special Mail Express trains every day on an average.
"Our aim is to normalise train operations as soon as possible and would begin running 100 more trains in the next 5-6 days owing to an increase in demand," Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said on a virtual presser recently.
The demand for trains had increased with the number of reserved passengers increasing from 5 lakh in the last month to 13 lakh this month.
"We had operationalised about 1,500 trains before the second wave of the pandemic. However, due to the pandemic and restrictions on movement in various States, we faced challenges,” Sharma said.
The Railways had gradually started increasing the number of trains following discussions with States. Destinations where a high volume of traffic has been registered in the last few days are Mumbai/Pune area, Delhi area, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Secunderabad and Bangalore.
The overall occupancy of mail express trains has gradually improved to around 90 per cent in the previous seven days, which has gradually improved from levels of 60 per cent which was around May 15.
On May 15, 2021, the total booking of reserved passengers was 6.29 lakhs, whereas the corresponding figure on June 7, 2021 was 14.58 lakhs.
Since there were lockdowns in some States, the Railways was in discussion with them and was monitoring the demand for more trains. Asked about Covid vaccination of employees, Sharma said about 6.5 lakh employees have been vaccinated so far.
“Our 12 lakh employees are our biggest resource. We are talking to States; some have also agreed to vaccinate railway employees, especially in the 18-44 age bracket, on priority,” he added.
He said so far, about 2,600 employees have succumbed to Covid-19. However, the number of daily infections currently has fallen to about 100-150.
In early May, the number stood at about 1,000. Currently, about 3,500-4,000 railway employees were infected and are being treated.
Railways had been taking several steps to prevent deaths due to trespassing including the construction of additional 182 foot over bridges, 168 road over bridges and 951 road under bridges in 2020-21.
All 20,375 manned level crossing gates on the broad-gauge line have been eliminated. So far, Indian Railways has delivered nearly 27,600 MT of medical grade oxygen in more than 1,603 tankers to various states across the country.
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