Partial train service resumed across the country on Wednesday after being suspended for two months as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
The resumption of train operations was announced by Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday who said Prime Minister Imran Khan had permitted to partially resume train service from Wednesday on the condition that the SOPs were adhered to as the country battles the novel coronavirus.
Rashid, addressing a press conference, said: “No one will be allowed inside the stations without having a ticket. Nearly 7,000 police officers have been deployed at [the stations in] Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Quetta and an emergency has been imposed.”
“If the situation [of the coronavirus pandemic] remains stable during the current month, then all train services will be resumed across the country from June 1,” Rashid said.
During the first phase of resumption of operations, 30 trains will begin their journey from the provinces. The first train departed from Rawalpindi from Karachi at 6am, followed by one to Lahore at 7am. The third train departed from Lahore for Rawalpindi at 7:30am.
SOPs issued for passengers
The Ministry of Railways has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for those travelling via trains.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Railways Amir Nisar, passengers have been instructed to reach the station an hour earlier and no visitors will be allowed to enter the station premises for seeing off passengers.
Nisar said that only 60% of the passengers will fill a train, while 40% will remain empty.
“The passengers will wear masks and the railways officials will provide them with sanitisers during the journey,” added the DS.
For a first-time violation of an SOP, there will be a fine of Rs500 while for the second time there will be a fine of Rs1000, he said.
Upon a third-time violation, the passenger will be off-loaded, said Nisar.