In a relief to commuters in and around Bengaluru, the South Western Railway (SWR) would resume suburban train services from December 7 after suspending them for over eight months to contain the Covid pandemic, an official said on Thursday. "The railway board has permitted our zone to operate 10 pairs of suburban trains from Bengaluru to Hosur, Tumakuru, Marikuppam, Bangarpet Hindupur and Hassan, which are within 180km range, SWR official C Narendra told IANS. The service for six days in a week except on Sunday will be operated as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the standard operating procedure of the Union Health Ministry to prevent the virus spread.
"Besides wearing a mask, commuters have to maintain physical distancing on the platform and in the coach where they have to reserve a seat for travelling and sanitise their hands. They will be screened at the entrance of the station to ensure they are free from the virus," said Narendra.
Hosur is across the border in Tamil Nadu and Hindupur is in Andhra Pradesh, while Tumakuru, Bangarpet and Hassan are in Karnataka.
Service to and from Hassan, Hindupur, Hosur and Tumakuru will operate from Yesvantpur station in the city's northern suburb, while service to Marikuppan and Bangarpet will be to and from Bengaluru main city station.
"Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) and Mainline Electrical Unit (MEMU) cars will be used for the services on the suburban routes," said the official.
The trains will halt at all stations en-route for the benefit of passengers who commute between Bengaluru and their home towns for work or living.
"Commuters without reserved tickets will not be allowed to use the service to avoid crowding the coaches and maintain social distancing," added Narendra.
The zonal railway has been operating daily suburban service between Bengaluru and Mysuru since mid-May after the Covid-induced extended lockdown was partially lifted.
The frequency of the service will be increased in commensurate with the commuters' response, as only 50 per cent of the seats will be allowed to be reserved and occupied for travelling.