On Monday, the extensive Indian Railway network came to a standstill with just four mail express trains operating till noon as per the Centre's order for suspension of services in view of the increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.
The 166-year-old-network carrying millions of passengers over 13, 000 trains daily halted its services in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has infected over 3,50,000 worldwide.
The live monitoring on the railways’ dashboard displayed the four trains running till 3 pm on Monday that had originated on Sunday. By 10 pm, the dashboard showed zero passenger or mail express trains operating for the first time in the national transporter’s history. Naturally, the railway is incurring heavy losses with practically no trains running during the lockdown.
On Sunday, the Centre had ordered a suspension of all passenger train services till March 31 in order to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus that is gripping the nation. COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in India with over 490 reported cases.
The suspension of suburban trains left many passengers in a dilemma as they were now stranded in uncertainty. On Monday, the railways said that it will allow stranded passengers to stay in retiring rooms at railway stations till passenger trains remain suspended.
“It has been brought to notice that some passengers who were in retiring rooms and booked to travel by train after a day or two are facing problems as all trains are now cancelled and they have nowhere to go. The Railway Board has decided that in all such cases the stay may be extended in supersession of the rule that limits the number of days a passenger can stay in retiring rooms,” the ministry of railways said.