In the view of the festive season, the Indian Railways is witnessing a huge demand for rail tickets as out of the 736 special trains currently in operation, 327 are facing waitlisting, officials said.
Addressing a virtual press conference, Railway Board Chairman and CEO V.K. Yadav said: “We are monitoring these 327 trains on a daily basis. Once we determine the nature of the waitlist — for how many days is the waitlist and how long, we will run clone trains on those routes.”
He said that railways have been saying that it will introduce trains wherever necessary. “But they will be only reserved trains and will follow all coronavirus protocols,” the CEO said.
According to data provided by the Railways, the average occupancy of these special trains is around 92 per cent.
The Railways, which had suspended all passenger train services since the lockdown in March, has so far earned Rs 3,322 crore as revenue from the segment, Yadav said, adding that it is 90 per cent less than what it earned during the same period last year.
According to the Railway Ministry, other than the 736 special trains that are being operated, the Railways is also running 200 services of the Kolkata Metro, 2276 Mumbai suburban services, 20 special clone trains and 436 festival special trains from October 20 to November 30.
Yadav said that while the overall occupancy of the 736 trains is around 92 per cent, 19 trains have occupancy below 30 per cent, 44 have occupancy between 30 per cent to 50 per cent, 83 trains have occupancy between 50 per cent to 75 percent and 327 trains which have waitlisting.
He also said that the Railways is geared to begin suburban services in cities in addition to Mumbai, adding that discussions are underway with the West Bengal and the Tamil Nadu state governments in finalising modalities for the resumption of their suburban services.
While passenger trains have all but stalled, the Railways’ freight business seems to be speeding forward with incremental loading of over 14.32 MT over October 2019.
In October this year, the freight revenue was Rs 869 crore more than last year and it also saw the highest ever automobile loading.
The Railway Board chief said that while 320 rakes of automotives were loaded in October 2020, 162 were loaded in 2019, thus meaning a 97.5 per cent increase.
Over all this year, the cumulative automobile loading surpassed last year with 1,156 rakes as compared to 886 rakes till October 2020 which is a 30.5 percent increase, Yadav added.