Due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in Chennai Indian Railways is not looking at operating trains to and from the city, even though a decision has been taken to run 200 special trains across the country from June1. Chennai has been witnessing a minimum of 300 to 400 cases a day for the past few days.
“Trains from Tamil Nadu will start a bit later. There are no services in Chennai due to Covid-19 situation,” said a senior official from Southern Railway. The Rajdhani Express between New Delhi and Chennai will continue to operate twice every week. Southern Railway will open reservation counters at MGR Central railway station from Friday. Two counters will open, one for issuing tickets and the other for issuing passes, concessions and other vouchers.
The Tamil Nadu government is not complaining. Sources said that the government is relieved that trains will not bring more people into the state. There are trains connecting major cities to Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra, but not for Tamil Nadu.
“Testing and quarantining a large number of people is a problem for the state government. This was the reason the government opposed Rajdhani express initially,” said an official. The government later agreed to the railway ministry’s move to push Rajdhani trains because there are only two trains a week. The first train from Delhi reached Chennai on May 14 and the first train for Delhi left the next day.
However, this has come as a blow to the several people waiting for trains to start from Chennai and other towns to travel home or to their work places. Many people took the Chennai-Delhi train to join work while a majority of those who reached Chennai by the Delhi-Chennai train were those who wanted to join their families.
There were many senior citizens travelling alone to Chennai because they were stuck for two months in the national capital. The eagerness to travel is evident in the demand for tickets for Rajdhani express on the Chennai-Delhi-Chennai route. The tickets are getting sold within hours after the bookings open.