In another sign of normalcy returning soon, the South Western Railway (SWR) is resuming passenger train services within Karnataka from Friday, an official said on Wednesday.
"The Ministry of Railways has approved state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa's request to resume intra-state train services, including suburban across the southern state to enable citizens travel within Karnataka after being stranded for over 55 days due to extended lockdown," a zonal official said in a statement in Bengaluru.
Though passenger services across the state and country remained suspended since the lockdown was enforced on March 25 and extended four times up till May 31 to contain the coronavirus spread, the Railways have been operating freight and parcel services since April first week to ensure essential supplies and movement of goods across the country.
"Initially, two pairs of special trains will operate between Bengaluru and Mysuru for 6 days a week except on Sunday and between Bengaluru and Belagavi in the state's northwest region thrice a week," said the official.
"The tri-weekly superfast will operate from Bengaluru to Belagavi on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, beginning from May 22 with halts at 10 stations en-route for passengers to alight or board as per the guidelines," said the official.
The return train to Bengaluru will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Belagavi with halts at 10 stations en-route for passengers to alight or board.
The trains will have 14 chair cars and two luggage-cum-brake vans, with 1,484 seats to carry passengers as per the guidelines to maintain physical distancing due to coronavirus.
"The special trains to Belagavi and Mysuru are in addition to Shramik (labour) trains for ferrying migrants from within the state to other states and Rajdhani specials between New Delhi and Bengaluru," added the official.
The state government thanked Union Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi, a two-time ruling BJP Lok Sabha member from Belagavi, for resuming train services in the state.
The trains will not operate on Sunday due to complete lockdown in the state.
"Passengers have to buy tickets and reserve seats online through the IRCTC website. They should also wear mask and report to stations in advance for thermal screening and security check," added the official.