Many government and state government offices starts operating after the declaration of Unlock 1.0. As per the demand of Government of Maharashtra, Western Railway has commenced its 162 local train services on the Mumbai suburban section after 84 days of complete closure since 23rd March, 2020.
The services resumed as per the defined protocol & SOP, with effect from Monday, 15th June, 2020, to cater to the essential category employees required to attend their offices. Western Railway as well as Central Railway have resumed their selected suburban services over WR, CR (main line & harbour line) for ESSENTIAL GOVT STAFF AS IDENTIFIED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
According to a press release issued by WR CPRO Ravinder Bhakar, WR will run 81 pairs of its 12 car suburban services (total 162 i.e. 81 in Up direction & 81 in Down direction). Out of these 146 ( 73 up & 73 in down) services will run between Churchgate & Virar, while 8 services will be operated between Virar & Dahanu Road, w.e.f. Monday, 15th June, 2020 with defined protocol & SOP, only for movement of essential govt staff as identified by the State Government. These trains will run from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm with an interval of approx. 15 minutes. These services will run as fast local trains over WR, between Churchgate & Borivali and will run as slow beyond Borivali.
Bhakar stated that approximately 50 thousand essential category staff on Western Railway has been identified by the state government, who will be benefitted and expected to travel by these trains.
Railway workman special trains, which are already running will continue to run for the Railway staff and the above mentioned local train services are in addition to the Railway workman special trains. It is therefore pertinent to mention that these special suburban services will not be for general passengers / public & will be strictly for essential staff as identified by the State Government of Maharashtra only.
The 1st local train which departed from Churchgate at 5.30 am to Virar was run by Motorman Vilas Pawar (1st pic from left), while the 1st train which departed from Virar at 5.30 am to Churchgate was manned by Motorman Shri Ashok Tiwari (2nd pic from left). The 1st train which departed from Virar at 5.00 am to Dahanu Road was manned by Motorman Shri Mahesh Bukka (3rd pic from left) alongwith Motorman Shri S K Mourya ( 4th pic from left).
Bhakar further stated that the travelling authority will be applicable as per normal procedure over WR for Season Tickets etc & certain booking windows will be opened for the same, on which respective staff will be facilitated on showing their Govt ID cards.
Also, it has been decided to extend the validity of the season tickets to the extant of days lost for those season ticket holders who have lost a number of days due to the lockdown, despite holding a valid season ticket. The same shall be permitted at the UTS counters at the stations to those permitted by State Government.
UTS counters may also issue fresh tickets/ season tickets to persons permitted by State Government of Maharashtra. Similarly, for tickets issued on UTSON MOBILE APP, the revalidation may be deemed to have been done till the changes are effected by CRIS in the system. Accordingly, CRIS may make necessary changes regarding revalidation of season tickets in the UTSON MOBILE system for persons; as allowed by State Government of Maharashtra in coordination with Western & Central Rlys. UTSON MOBILE shall continue to remain suspended till further advice for all others.
Total 56 booking windows were operated in the morning at 20 stations having scheduled halts for the train services, i.e. at Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali, Dahisar, Mira Road, Bhayander, Naigaon, Vasai Road, Nalasopara, Virar, Vaitarna, Saphale, Kelve Road, Palghar, Boisar, Vangaon & Dahanu Road. In the morning shift on 15th June, 2020, total 3521 journey tickets & 1466 season tickets were issued which resulted in earnings to the tune of Rs. 601265 and in addition to these, the validity of 190 season tickets were also extended.
Bhakar informed that RPF/ GRP & State Police have been deployed at various stations and entry will be given at stations strictly through ID cards of essential staff as identified by the State Government. More than 1000 security personnel including 650 RPF personnel have been deployed over Mumbai Central division for ensuring secure and hassle free journey of passengers in EMU for essential services from Churchgate to Dahanu Road.
Close liasioning with GRP, local police, various Railway departments is being maintained for ensuring social distancing, queue management and prevention of spread of COVID-19. Later on, the staff will be issued QR based E-passes by the State Government, which will also bear colour coding to enable swifter ticket checking.
Bhakar further stated that the Railways as well as the state government will ensure multiple rounds of checking to ensure only essential staff as identified by the State Government, should board these trains. The Railways have urged the state government to ensure that all those allowed to travel are done so after ensuring that they are medically fit and do not come from containment zone. Further, the state government has been advised to stagger the timings of its offices for workers coming from different areas to ensure there is no crowding at the stations and inside the trains. Also, to maintain adequate social distancing in the coaches, only about 700 will be allowed per train, unlike its seating capacity to accommodate about 1,200 persons. There will be strict imposition of “NO HAWKER & NO PARKING ZONE” in station circulating area at 150 meters radius.
The approach roads to stations shall be ensured to enable smooth passage of identified passengers and prevent any mass gathering of public at station premises by respective Municipal Corporations in their respective areas. Ambulances will be kept available at each station alongwith the medical staff to deal with the emergency situation arises during the travel of commuters by respective Municipal Corporations. The local train services on Mumbai suburban section was suspended from 23rd March, 2020 as a part of the nationwide lockdown to contain the Corona pandemic.
Western Railway also urges all its valued commuters, not to rush to the stations and to follow medical and social protocols as mandated for COVID19. Also, the public is requested not to believe on any rumours and to check with the updates only from the official twitter handle (www.twitter.com/WesternRly) as well as the facebook page (www.facebook.com/WesternRly) of Western Railway.