The Effects of COVID-19 on Train Travels in India

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the start of nation-wide lockdowns in the country, the day-to-day life of the people has changed drastically. It is not just the eating, sanitary, and working habits that have been affected, but a major setback has been made on domestic traveling as well due to the numerous restrictions.

The nation has gone into the ‘unlock’ phase recently and the railways, private cab booking, and airline services have also resumed their services but with lots of restrictions set up by the central, state, and other organizational bodies.

Now, traveling in a train is not the same as it used to happen in the fascinating non-COVID times. With the current COVID-19 scenario, the Indian Railways Ministry has laid out quite a few rules and guidelines that passengers need to follow to be able to travel in trains.

In order to book a ticket, both the options of counter service and online service are available for the customers as of now. But it is advised to book a ticket online using a train ticket booking app easily rather than going to the counters that are being made functional in a phased manner.

There are various railway ticket booking apps which provide details like train schedules, fares, seat availability, pnr status, train running status etc which helps in having a smooth journey even in these times of uncertainties.

Plus the added bonus of getting travel deals like train ticket offers, coupons,and discounts when you book your tickets through these travel apps.

Changes seen in train travel:

For the AC coaches, the curtains and the beddings have been removed. So now the passengers need to carry their own bedding with them. Pantry cars in the trains have been made unserviceable as of now. Although, the water, snacks, and pre-cooked dinner will still be provided in the trains. Another change that is being noticed is that people are avoiding to purchase anything in order to avoid contact because of the COVID situation. A noticeable change in the train journeys these days is also the minimal use of washrooms by the passengers which were littered almost all the time earlier.

Railway Stations adopting the Airports’ 90-minute rule:

The Indian Railways has made it mandatory for the passengers to reach the railway station 90-minutes prior to the scheduled time of the train. A long queue is also expected by the passengers now as they have to go through thermal scanning while entering the railways’ premises in order to make it COVID-free and only then can their tickets be verified.

The 7-day quarantine rule set by the authorities:

As per the new Indian Railways guidelines, those who are traveling through trains need to go for a 7-day home quarantine post their travel. You are also supposed to enter the address of the place that you will be staying at after your travel when you will book your ticket in order to help with the checking that will be undertaken by the state authorities.

So, all in all, it is suggested to travel only in the ‘very urgent’ situations as we are still not completely out of the COVID-19 pandemic. These relaxations that are being provided by the government are just for the ease of needful and not for random travels. But if you are still planning to travel, then please do follow the social distancing rules and stay safe by avoiding contact with others and also random objects as much as you can for the safety of yourself and others.

Emma Lewis: Emma, a digital nomad and world explorer, shares her travel experiences, tips for budget travel, and guides to various destinations. Her blog offers a unique perspective on experiencing the world.