Hyderabad: Rail travel chugs off
Passengers duly follow Covid guidelines at Sec’bad and Nampally stations
Hyderabad: The daily hustle bustle returned to Secunderabad and Nampally railway stations on Monday after more than two months of lockdown with SCR resuming train services to ferry thousands of passengers to their destinations. As Covid precautionary measures South Central Railway (SCR) authorities are ensuring strict adherence to the guidelines prescribed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
SCR took up several initiatives including thermal scanning, maintaining social distancing, etc. Also, people accompanying passengers have been prohibited to enter platform and station building. Many had to return from the entrance.
Passengers only with confirmed reserved tickets and wearing masks were allowed to enter the stations while maintaining social distancing. Authorities drew clear foot markings with a distance of 1 meter for passengers to stand near the entrance and on the platform while alighting trains.
The cameras with scanners have been installed for checking e-tickets of passengers. Officials said they also provided automatic hand sanitisers for the passengers. The Hyderabad-New Delhi Telangana Express was the first to chug out of the Nampally station at 6.25 am. Secunderabad-Danapur Express departed from Secunderabad at 9.35 am while Secunderabad-Guntur Golconda Express left at 12.20 pm South Central Railway is operating nine pairs of trains: Hyderabad-Mumbai CST (Hussain Sagar Express), Secunderabad-Howrah (Falaknuma Express), Hyderabad-New Delhi (Telangana Express), Secunderabad-Danapur (Danapur Express), Secunderabad-Guntur (Golconda Express), Nizamabad-Tirupati (Rayalaseema Express), Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam (Godavari Express), H.S. Nanded-Amritsar (Sachkhand Express) and Secunderabad-Nizamuddin Bi-Weekly (Duronto Express) which will run on Thursdays and Sundays.
In addition to this, five pairs of trains will pass through the SCR. They are Mumbai CST-Bhubaneswar (Konark Express), Mumbai CST-Bengaluru (Udyan Express), Danapur-Bengaluru (Sanghamitra Express), Visakhapatnam-New Delhi (AP Express) and Howrah-Yasvantpur (Duronto Express). Officials said 22 trains originating, terminating or passing through Andhra Pradesh had 71 stoppages but Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney wrote to Railway Board to restrict the halt points to 18.
The passengers are being allowed to board the trains only after thermal screening. Automatic thermal scanners have been installed for the purpose. Passengers found symptomatic of Covid-19 during the screening would not be allowed to travel and in such case, full refund of ticket fare would be provided to them, said officials. Though passengers were asked to arrive at least 90 minutes before the departure time of the train, long queues were seen at both Secunderabad and Nampally stations even three hours before the scheduled departures. The city police also deployed its personnel to ensure adherence to the guidelines.
The IRCTC canteens were opened at the stations only with take-away service. Officials said passengers could either bring their own food or buy the ready-to-eat meals from the IRCTC.
Trains were not equipped with linen, blankets or curtains while three Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits were provided on each train as a precautionary measure. Railways has advised people with co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, immune deficiency conditions, pregnant women, children below the age of 10 years and persons above 65 years to avoid travel, except if it is essential.