The SR has clarified that no such date in April has been fixed and it has been increasing train services in a gradual manner. The zone is operating over 65 per cent of trains as on date with 250 services added in January alone. Railway authorities have issued fresh clarification, asking the media and people to avoid speculation about resumption of normal train services.
Railway sources in the know revealed that the authorities have no plans to resume services in one go. A railway officer said that the authorities were resuming services gradually by identifying routes with high demand subject to COVID-19 situation. Resumption of Madurai Chennai Tejas Express service was a case in point. The railway officer said the decrease in express train operations due to coronavirus had helped cargo handling.
Fewer freight trains are being regulated at wayside stations to make way for express trains now because of the decrease in express train services. “If the current volume of traffic is maintained, more freight services can be operated before the financial year ends in a little over a month end. It will help achieve the business target without causing much hardship to the people as the current traffic demand is also less than usual (pre-COVID),” the SR officer requesting anonymity explained.
Resumption of normal (pre-COVID) express train services could be done even before April if the situation improves. “We will do it gradually. By the time it is near normal, people will not realise it even. Suburban train frequency is almost like pre-COVID times, except the travel restriction for men. Likewise, express train service will be slowly restored based on demand without people even noticing it,” a highly placed railway officer explained.