In view of the COVID pandemic all regular train services were suspended during March 2020 and were reintroduced as Mail /Express Special and Holiday Special trains from June 2020. With respect to Mail/Express special trains, Railway collected no excess fare as compared to that of Regular train services that existed before COVID. Holiday/Festival specials were charged at Tatkal Fare. on 12-11-2021, Railway board decided to run all these special trains as regular train services with train numbers and fare that existed before COVID.
In accordance with the Railway board decisions, Southern Railway, at its Chennai Data center, had undertaken and completed changing of the tatkal fare to normal fare for 39 Holiday/Festival trains and 47 Holiday/Festival trains originating from Southern Railway and South Western Railway respectively. This has been modified on 13-11-2021 itself and the benefit of booking at normal fares accrued to all passengers with effect from 13-11-2021. Similar exercise of reducing the fare was undertaken by other Zonal Railways and reduced fare was brought into effect. It may be noted that Mail/express special trains did not require any fare reduction as such Railway was collecting only the normal fare for such trains.
Train numbers revised
Indian Railways had announced to the public that the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) would remain shut down for six hours (23:30 to 05:30 hours) for seven days from 14-11-2021 till 21-11-2021 in order to carry out the change in train numbers. This task was taken up by CRIS and five Regional data centers in a steadfast manner and renumbering of all the Mail/express trains running in the entire Indian Railway network system was completed by 05:30 hours of 20-11-2021, i.e., within 6 days as against 7 days targeted. With that all the train numbers have been brought back to the old train numbers as it had existed pre-covid. In southern Railway’s Chennai Data center, train numbers of 314 southern Railway originating trains were renumbered during the above said 6 days.
Although regular train services have now been introduced the following restriction will continue on account of prevailing COVID cases in the country:
1.General coaches in the above trains shall continue to be run as reserved coaches as Second sitting class except in train services where General coaches are already notified as unreserved coaches. Southern Railway is working towards dereserving General Coaches in phased manner in Mail/express trains.
2.Passengers are requested to follow COVID appropriated behavior such as social distancing, wearing of masks, regular washing of hands, etc. while travelling in train and at Railway stations.