The Railways has issued new guidelines for travel on 15 special trains from May 12, asking passengers to carry their own food and linen and arrive at stations at least 90 minutes before departure for health screening.
It also said all passengers must wear face masks during the journey.
The Railways, which has announced to resume a limited number of passenger services after an almost a 50-day hiatus due to ongoing coronavirus lockdown, said the 15 trains to run from Tuesday will be air-conditioned and will run on full-capacity on the Rajdhani routes, from Delhi to all major cities of the country.
The Railways said it will run eight trains on May 12 -- three from New Delhi terminating at Dibrugarh, Bengaluru and Bilaspur. And one each from Howrah, Rajendra Nagar (Patna), Bengaluru, Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad which will all terminate at Delhi.
These special trains will only have AC classes i.e. first, second and third AC. The fares will be equivalent to Rajdhani trains.
Since the trains will be operated amidst the ongoing nationwide lockdown, only passengers with confirmed e-tickets shall be allowed to enter the station.
Passengers can book tickets up to seven days in advance. However, no RAC, waiting list ticket or onboard booking by ticket checking staff will be permitted, the Railways said.
The movement of passengers as well as that of the driver of the vehicle transporting them to and from the railway station shall be allowed on the basis of the confirmed e-ticket, it said
Online cancellation shall be permitted up to 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, but the cancellation charge shall be 50? per cent of the fare.
The Railways said there will be special norms for air-conditioning inside the coaches and temperatures will be kept slightly higher than the usual.
Maximum supply of fresh air will be ensured.
The special trains will run from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
Booking will be available only on the IRCTC website (www.irctc.co.in).
These tickets, officials said, would have details of the 'dos and don'ts' passengers need to follow -- such as arriving at the station at least 90 minutes in advance for screening and other coronavirus protocols, mandatory use of masks and the Aarogya Setu mobile app.
'Maximum Advance Reservation Period (ARP) will be of maximum 7 days. Passengers are encouraged to carry their own food and drinking water. The passengers shall reach the station at least 90 minutes in advance to facilitate thermal screening at the station.
'No linen, blankets and curtains shall be provided inside the train. Passengers are advised to carry their own linen,' an order by the Railways said.
The order also said that there would be no provision of 'tatkal' and 'premium tatkal' accommodation and there will be very few stoppages during the journey.
Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains. Also, no 'current booking' will be allowed, the order said.
All passenger train services were suspended due to a countrywide lockdown announced on March 25.
The railways later started Shramik Specials to ferry migrant labourers stranded across the country. It, however, has been running freight and parcel services non-stop.
After the resumption of these 15 services, the Railways will start more trains on new routes, based on availability after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and an adequate number for planned running of up to 300 Shramik Specials every day.
Ticket booking services at stations will remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued for these special trains.
The Railways was initially given the nod to run Shramik Specials by the home ministry, but officials said they now have the approval to resume other services.
The health ministry in its advisory on Monday gave an indication that the government is inclined to allow more trains to ply.
It said that the movement of trains shall be permitted in a graded manner.