Coronavirus Lockdown: How Indian Railways has served as a lifeline for the people

Updated: May 05, 2020, 16:33 | Sherlin Rajan
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    When the lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the country was announced, goods train services were exempted.

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    In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it was decided that all passenger train services on Indian Railways including premium trains, mail/express trains, passenger trains, suburban trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, Konkan Railway, etc be cancelled during the period of lockdown.

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    A statement issued by the railways said that adequate arrangements would be made for passengers who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations, adding that to ensure the essential supplies in various parts of the country, movement of goods trains will continue.

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    The goods train service has been useful to transport essential items like medical supplies, medical equipment, food, etc in small parcel sizes during the lockdown period in the wake of COVID-19

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    The statement also said that a full refund for all cancelled trains would be taken till June 21 and adequate arrangements shall be made to facilitate a hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.

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    Western Railway has been keeping the country's milk supply chain intact with the Ahmedabad Division loading trains with gallons of loose milk to be sent in other states.

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    Milk Powder, fresh milk pouches, cheese, butter, biscuits have also been despatched to various destinations across the country.

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    As part of COVID-19 preparedness, the Indian Railways decided to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine/ isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created across the country.

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    These modified 20,000 coaches can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh possible beds for isolation needs. One coach would have 16 beds for isolation.

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    Western Railway has also decided to convert 460 coaches to isolation wards as decided by Ministry of Railways to support the medical team.

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    The toilets in these coaches would be converted into bathing rooms, equipped with buckets, mugs, soap dispensers. Taps with lift type handle would be provided in washbasins. Similar taps would be provided at the proper height so that buckets can be filled easily.

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    The first cabin near the bathing room would be provided with plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight berth cabins can be screened off.

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    A group of trackmen of Western Railway's Bhavnagar division went beyond their call of duty and prepared 141 masks using the clothes available in the stores, to be distributed amongst the members working on the tracks to ensure smooth functioning of the Railways. 

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    Western Railway's Lower Parel Workshop manufactured a kiosk to collect the swab sample of COVID-19 infected patients. This booth enables doctors and medicos to take the sample/swab without exposing themselves to the affected patient.

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    Western Railway has been helping the medical fraternity with ingenious equipment, including high-quality PPEs, steel beds for patients, isolation coaches, reusable masks, sanitizers, etc.to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

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About The Gallery

The Indian Railways have been the lifeline of the country. From transporting essential items on the goods trains due the lockdown to converting their coaches to isolation wards for COVID-19 patients and making all the necessary arrangements in them and setting up kiosks for testing swabs, the Indian Railways have done it all. (Pictures/Rajendra B Aklekar, Suresh Karkera)