RAWALPINDI: After 56 days, train services resumed on Wednesday from Rawalpindi Railway Station, in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government for Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, and other regions of the country.
More than 1,600 passengers on Wednesday traveled to various parts of the country from Rawalpindi. The first train, Pakistan Express from Rawalpindi to Karachi leaves Rawalpindi at 6 am, Train to Lahore departs at 7 am, Tezgam from Rawalpindi to Karachi departs at 8 am, Awam Express from Peshawar to Karachi via Rawalpindi at 12:10, Jaffar Express to Quetta at 3:30 pm, Mehar Express to Multan at 5 pm, Train to Lahore at 6 pm, Khyber Express from Peshawar to Karachi departs at 2 am, while the Milat Express from Lala Musa to Karachi via Sargodha departs at 9:15 and Green Line to Karachi leaves at 3:15 pm.
Pakistan Railway Division Superintendent Syed Munawar Shah oversees the opening of train services at the station, to ensure the implementation of SOPs issued by the government.
A special table has been set up to sell masks and sanitizers to passengers. No passengers are allowed to enter the train without wearing masks and carrying hand sanitizers. Before leaving, all trainers were disinfected and anti-germ chemicals were sprayed on the platform. There are no visitors beside the passengers, are allowed to enter the train station and tickets are sold online. Some passengers are of the view that tickets should be sold at the counter, because most people do not know how to buy tickets online.
Speaking with Dawn, Mr Shah said: “Due to the closing of ticket sales 24 hours ago, most people failed to take advantage of travel facilities. Federal Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed ordered to close ticket reservations online, one hour before the train departure.”
He said that 60pc of seats were allowed to be filled with trainers, so that social distance could be adopted. No passengers without masks are allowed to travel on the train, he said, adding the train service will pick up momentum in the coming days, because most people contact the train office, to order tickets during the Eid holiday.
He said that to facilitate passengers, an information desk had been set up at the station. “Online booking facilities are improved and passengers will get safe and secure travel facilities,” he added.
Published in Dawn, May 21, 2020
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