The Indian Railways is set to operate 416 festival special trains from October 20 to November 30 to meet the demand during the festival season. At present, the public transporter is operating 682 special trains and 20 cloned trains.

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The 416 festival special trains will operate from October 20 to November 30 connecting large cities that include Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow, and others. The trains will cater to the growing demand during Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, and Chhath Puja.

In a statement, the Ministry of Railways also said the fares of these trains will be similar to those applicable for special trains, which means ‘special charges’ will be levied making the tickets costlier by 10-30% as compared to the fares of mail/express trains, depending on the class of travel.

Full list of Festival Special Trains by Indian Railways

Till now, the railways have pressed into service 666 mail/express special trains which are now running regularly across the country. Additionally, some suburban services are also being operated in Mumbai as well as certain services of the Kolkata Metro. These new festival special trains, however, will operate only till November 30 and will not have a continued run, officials said.

The Railway Board said these festival special trains will be operated at a speed of 55 kmph.

The Railways has suspended all its regular services due to the coronavirus pandemic since March and is operating trains as per demand and necessity. From May 12, Railways started running limited special trains to help stranded people across the country to reach their homes in different states. It started with 15 pairs of premium Rajdhani special trains connecting Delhi with different parts of the country, followed by 100 pairs of long-distance trains on June 1. It also started 80 trains additionally on September 12.

Earlier this month, Railway Board Chairman and CEO, VK Yadav had said Railways will take stock of passenger services on a daily basis depending on the needs of the state governments and the status of the pandemic.

“We have conducted meetings with the general managers of zones and instructed them to speak with local administration and review the status of coronavirus. They have been asked to give us a report after which we will decide how many trains can be introduced during the holiday season,” Yadav had said.

While the Railway Board has approved the festival special trains, it will be up to the zones to finalize their details and schedule.

Mean-while, The Union health ministry data showed 55,722 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the lowest in five days, and 579 related deaths were reported between Sunday and Monday morning, which has taken the country’s tally to past 7.5 million. The number of fatalities in the last 24 hours was also the lowest in months.

There were 772,055 active cases of Covid-19 and the country’s death toll went up to 114,610, the health ministry’s dashboard showed at 8 am, with the cumulative tally of coronavirus infections at 7,550,273. The active cases have been less than 800,000 for the third straight day. The ministry had said on Sunday that India continues to report a trend of steadily declining active cases and comprise 10.45% of the total positive cases in the country.