Mail, express trains to drop ‘special’ tag, return to pre-Covid fares: Railways

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Mail, express trains to drop ‘special’ tag, return to pre-Covid fares: Railways

The Indian Railways on Friday issued an order to discontinue the ‘special’ tag for mail and express trains and revert to pre-pandemic ticket prices with immediate effect. Ticket prices of special trains and holiday special trains are marginally higher.

As per the Ministry of Railways, all the regular timetabled trains which are presently operating as MSPC ( Mail/Express Spl) and HSP (Holiday Spl) train services, including in the Working Time Table 2021, shall be operated with regular numbers and with fare and categorization as applicable.

“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, all regular mail/express trains were being operated as MSPC (mail/express special) and HSP (holiday special). It has now been decided that the MSPC and HSP train services, included in the Working Time Table, 2021, shall be operated with regular numbers and with fares as applicable for the concerned classes of travel and type of train, as per the extant guidelines.”, the Railway Board said in a letter to the zonal railways.

“This issues with the concurrence of Passenger Marketing Directorate of Railway Board,” the order dated November 12 further said. The order, however, did not specify when the zonal railways are required to revert to their pre-Covid regular services.

Since the coronavirus-triggered lockdown was eased, the Railways has been running only special trains. It started with long-distance trains and now, even short-distance passenger services are being run as special trains with “slightly higher fares” to “discourage people from avoidable travels”.

“The zonal railways have been instructed. While the order is with immediate effect, the process will take a day or two,” a senior official said.

“With this, more than 1,700 trains will be restored in the next few days. The first digit will now not be zero as was in the case of special trains,” another official said.

Officials, however, said curbs introduced in view of Covid such as temporary restrictions on concessions, bedrolls, and meal services would continue to be in effect.

With the operation of special trains and no concessions, the Railways’ revenue too has seen substantial growth. The transporter registered an increase of 113 per cent in earnings from the passenger segment during the second quarter of 2021-2022 as compared to the first.

Also Read: Good news! Indian Railways to operate special trains for Diwali, Chhath Puja | Check list here


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