Coronavirus outbreak: Indian Railways cancels all passenger trains till March 31

Coronavirus outbreak: Indian Railways cancels all passenger trains till March 31

"All originating long-distance Mail/Express and Intercity trains (including premium trains) and all originating passenger trains shall remain cancelled till 2400 hours of March 31", Ministry of Railways said in a press release.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India has now climbed up to 298, including 32 foreigners.

In a preventive measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Minister of Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has made a decision to suspend operation of 24 more trains in the country. It was also revealed that two who were isolated in hospitals had travelled in the Bangalore-Delhi Rajadhani express. If the trains keep running, the infection chain could branch out and explode.

Railway stations, too, are a matter of concern.

"Following detailed discussions, the State Governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID 19". Information regarding cancellations should be communicated to passengers through SMSs. The suburban train services being operated to the minimum on Sunday to comply with the Janata Curfew would be fully stopped from 12 a.m.

The trains that began before 4 am on Sunday will reach their destinations.

However, further complicating things, states like Jharkhand and West Bengal had already demanded that trains moving towards their borders should be called off.

Railways had been taking emergency measures to avoid crowding in trains.

Announcing the development, the railways authorities said that only those who booked their advance tickets from the reservation counters at the stations had to visit the stations.

The railways also said that the passengers who want to cancel ticket through 139 can get refund across the counter within 30 days from the date of journey instead of extant rule of up to scheduled departure of the train.

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