The novel coronavirus has been changing circumstances by the hour. Governments around the world have been announcing lockdowns, closing borders, imposing quarantines and urging citizens to take utmost precautions and to stay indoors. Once the lockdown restrictions were lifted in a phased manner in India, the virus has been spreading its tentacles at an alarming rate and speed. As the cases have been spiking big time in our country, Indian Railways have decided to cut services and in some cases suspending operations entirely leaving train travel plans being roiled and travellers wondering what they can do to minimize disruptions to their itineraries.
The Indian Railways on 25th June 2020 announced the cancellation of all its regular trains till the 12th August 2020 in the background of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. What happens next is anyone’s guess, all these restrictions would also be lifted and train schedules would be restored once the situation of the pandemic improves across the country and people will once again take to travel normally. Indian Railways had resumed its limited services to run at full capacity on May 12th, 2020 after a hiatus of nearly two months when all the trains were cancelled due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. Few key notable points from Indian Railways on this announcement are:
- All regular trains stand cancelled till 12th August 2020.
- All special Rajdhani, Mail, and Express train services that started on May 12th and June 1st, 2020 will continue to operate.
- All regular time-tabled passenger services including Mail/Express, Suburban, and passenger services stand cancelled up to 12th August 2020.
- All tickets booked for regular timetabled trains for the journey dates from 01.07.20 to 12.08.20 also stand cancelled and full fares would be refunded.
As several people have been reluctant to travel and had resorted to cancelling their train tickets due to the fear of coronavirus, the decision of Indian Railways to cancel regular trains till 12th August 2020 will allow people if they still need to travel, to try for tickets in the newer special trains by taking the refund and redeploying it to fund their travel plans. There are concerns from Health Ministry officials on the effect that people to people movement through trains is having on the spread of novel coronavirus as each train moves roughly one thousand people and also all state governments have to be on-board and prepare accordingly.
For travellers who decide to take up travelling by the special trains while the cases continue to surge across the country, coronavirus essentials like masks, gloves, sanitizers, and bedroll kits will now be sold at the multi-purpose stalls at railway platforms. The stalls run by private contractors have most of the items a traveler might require like toiletries, books, and medicines during their journey. Many e-caterers are available at almost all the important stations of the country to provide clean and hygienic food for train delivery at the railway station and ensure a hassle-free journey for train travellers. All service providers have been issued a set of strict and stringent guidelines for their catering staff that no employee having fever, cough, running nose or breathing difficulties should be deployed in the business of handling and supplying hygienic food for train on the Indian Railways.
In the middle of all the panic during this pandemic, a series of misinformation is afloat about how secure it is to use food for train delivery at railway station services. While the government has given a clean chit to supply of quality food for train delivery at the railway station to be operational, several misinformation regarding the safety of these services has sent people into frenzies. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, cooked food is not the source of corona transmission.
Food for train delivery service providers have taken assertive measures to train its delivery executives for the best practices which include maintaining proper hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene as well as identification of associated symptoms if at all the novel coronaviruses. Also, once the food for train delivery is done at the railway station, a simple practice of taking out food in a clean container, disposing of the package and washing your hands before eating can keep your end to end security.
Traveler Food takes all the best possible measures to ensure that not only fresh and quality food for train is delivered but it remains hygienic and germs free and also by advising our restaurant partners to strictly adhere to all guidelines set by FSSAI’s food safety norms and prohibit any unauthorized persons or vendors.
We all at Traveler Food are trying our best to do every bit that can help our country and be united in these times of crisis.