First special train arrives at Mumbai Central from New Delhi
BL Soni

Bringing a sigh of relief to the passengers, first out station train arrived at Mumbai Central from New Delhi on Thursday, nearly 54 days after the lockdown came into force.

However, some of the passengers complained of the long queues where they were made to stand after alighting from the train for thermal checking and sanitisation of their baggage.

Railway sources informed, the special passenger train originated from New Delhi on Wednesday evening, reached Mumbai Central around 8.40 am on Thursday.

As a pre-emptive measure, civic officials conducted thermal scanning and officials of Mumbai Fire Brigade sanitised their luggage. Civic officials also marked all the arriving passengers with 'Home Quarantine' stamps, asking them not to move out of their homes till May 20.

A senior citizen, who did not wish to be named, said there was no arrangement for sitting in the queue and hence, he suffered back pain after standing for nearly two hours.

Several passengers had arranged private vehicles to reach their destination from the railway station, while some booked cabs.

The city civic body's transport wing BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) arranged buses for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) passengers who did not have any personal mode of transport.

For Priyambada Pande and her father, who is a cancer patient, the MSRTC bus proved helpful after a private cab driver from Pune did not turn up.

"My father is a cancer patient and I had taken him to Delhi for treatment on March 13. His treatment got over a month ago, but we were stuck there. We arrived here by train, but the cab driver ditched us, she said.

Most passengers were happy, saying they felt lucky to get the train ticket to return home.

"I am really happy to return after being stranded in Delhi for two months. I had gone there for a course which was till March end, but suddenly the lockdown was announced and I got stuck, said Supriya Singh, a student.

However, she added that she did not face any major issue in Delhi, all thanks to a generous woman with whom she was staying as a paying guest.

Passengers also appreciated the precautions and care taken by the railway authorities during the journey.

"The railway authorities took care of everything. They were making regular announcements, asking passengers to maintain social distance and to wear masks all the time, said Vipul Koli, a resident of Charkop area in Mumbai.

Another passenger, who did not wish to be identified, said travellers were also aware of the various guidelines and were taking proper care about maintaining social distance.

On Tuesday, the Indian Railways operated a special train carrying 1,107 passengers from Mumbai Central to New Delhi.

The Railways had stopped running passenger trains since March 22 this year, while only goods and parcel trains were being operated till May 1 in the wake of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Since the start of this month, the railway authorities are also operating Shramik special trains for ferrying the stranded migrant labourers to their native places.

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