While 100% of services are being resumed, public access to the suburban local trains is still restricted.
In a bid to streamline and regulate the increased passenger load in local trains, the Central and Western Railways have decided to resume 100% suburban services in the Mumbai division, starting October 28. Notably, the Railways have clarified that though all services are being restored, the existing travel restrictions for the general public will continue. Only those recognised and allowed by the government and Ministry of Railways are permitted to travel in the local trains, in accordance with the established standard operating procedures (SOP).
Local trains to resume in full capacity
Pegged as the lifeline of Mumbai, local trains are set to return as per the pre-pandemic status on the Mumbai division of CR and WR from Thursday. With the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, all services of the suburban railway network were completely suspended in March 2020, only to be reopened partially by June last year for only those engaged in essential services.
Since then, the locals are running on a lesser frequency, ferrying those recognised and permitted by the state and the railways to use the local trains. A special seasonal pass has been additionally made mandatory to use the suburban rail system in Mumbai to keep a check on the total passenger load, added reports.
However, with the start of August 2021, the passenger load on Mumbai locals is steadily rising and given the traffic in the recent weeks, the revival of all services will promote the norms of social distancing while transiting.
The Central and Western Railways are presently operating around 1,702 and 1,304 train services on their respective lines. This cumulated to about 95.75% of its total service strength. From Thursday onwards, additional trains and services will patch up the handicapped rail system. A total of 1,774 services on Central Railway and 1,367 transits on Western Railway are expected to hit tracks.