Shatabdi Back on Track

The New Delhi-Lucknow Swarn Shatabdi Express resumed operations after 174 days but found few takers with just 12 to 19% occupancy despite extensive preparations for Covid-19 screening and contactless ticket examination.

A total of 255 passengers boarded the Shatabdi Express to Delhi from Charbagh and only 164 passengers alighted from the premium train which always ran full capacity in pre-Covid times. The Swarn Shatabdi has 1,300 seats but most had to go vacant on Saturday (12th September 2020) last week, as railways rolled out 80 trains on track for plying after Covid-19 induced shutdown.

“We had set up thermal scanning facility for passengers at the entrance of the station. The passengers had been asked to report 90 minutes before departure, but still few came late,” said station director Girish Kumar Singh. Three passengers came late, but were still subjected to thermal scanning made and had to run to board the train.

The train departed for New Delhi exactly at 3.35pm as per schedule. Most passengers headed to Delhi said they were going to rejoin their jobs after lockdown. Manoj Kumar, an IT engineer in an e-retail firm, said, “The arrangement for passengers screening at railway station gave a feeling of being at airport. Staff was humble but attentive while checking tickets and temperature.” Sumitra Sharma, another passenger, said, “This thorough checking should be a permanent feature now.”