Indian Railways declared that it will run 20 pairs (40 trains) of clone trains from 21 September on specific routes since the demand for travel has increased after the lockdown. This decision was announced to the public on Tuesday.
The Ministry released a statement saying, “Considering the huge demand for travel on specific routes, the Ministry of Railways has decided to run 20 pairs of Clone Special trains from 21.09.2020.”
These clone trains will have limited operational halts and will run only on notified timings. These trains will be fully reserved trains. The tickets for 19 pairs of these trains will be charged at same as the Humsafar Express rates and it will be at par with the Janshatabdi Express rates for the clone train between Lucknow and Delhi. The advance reservation period given for these trains is 10 days. They will be running in addition to the 310 special trains already in service and their stoppages will be limited to operational halt or the Divisional Headquarters en-route (if any).
These special ‘clone trains’ were announced by Indian Railways last week in a bid to provide relief to the waitlisted passengers in the routes which usually had high passenger traffic. This proposed step will not only ensure the availability of on-demand trains but also help the national transporter earn revenue at a time when the passenger segment earnings dropped due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government marks.
During the nationwide lockdown, Indian railways had suspended all passenger trains services from 25 March. However, it resumed services with Shramik Special trains to help stranded migrant workers reach their home states from 1 May. Later on, 230 special trains were started across the country. Another 80 special trains will start running from 12 September.
The additional trains also give a chance for reverse migration of workers to urban areas for work, with the country entering into the fourth phase of ‘unlocking’.