Local train services in West Bengal resumed on Wednesday after a period of over seven months as authorities maintained strict vigil and passengers were seen following coronavirus (Covid-19) protocols.
Train services coming under the jurisdiction of the Eastern and the South Eastern Railways started during the early hours after being suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The Eastern Railway is operating 413 suburban trains in Sealdah division and 202 in Howrah division from Wednesday, an official said, according to news agency PTI.
To avoid overcrowding of trains, 148 of 177 time- tabled services are being run during peak hours, he added.
On Sunday, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal said a total of 696 suburban services would operate in Bengal from November 11.
“Railways to run 696 suburban services in West Bengal from 11th November. With adequate safety measures in place, this will greatly enhance passenger convenience, ease of movement & facilitate smooth travel for the people,” he tweeted.
The train coaches on Wednesday were not as crowded as they were during the pre-Covid era but passenger footfall is expected to rise gradually as this mode of public transportation is preferred by those living in the suburbs.
Railway authorities requested passengers follow all Covid-19 protocols and also made wearing of masks mandatory for entering stations or trains.
With a view to prevent the spread of the disease, officials made several other arrangements such as sanitising of stations and coaches, alternate seating arrangements in coaches to maintain physical distance and spot markings at all important places including platforms and ticket counters.
On the other hand, passengers sought an increase in the number of trains to avoid overcrowding.
(With PTI inputs)
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