Mysore/Mysuru: Barring the operation of Special trains, the Railways has extend the ban on the running of regular trains till Sept. 30 in the wake of rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the Railways had said that the ban will be in force till Aug.12. But with no signs of the pandemic abating and also the sharp drop in the number of passengers due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Railways has extended the ban till Sept. 30.
Accordingly, barring a few special trains and Goods Trains, the normal train services will remain suspended until Sept. 30. The message has been circulated to all Divisions of the Railways via e-mail.
Meanwhile, the number of passengers travelling by the Special Mysuru-Bengaluru Express has slightly increased over the past few days. This train, which leaves Mysuru City Railway Station on all days at 6.45 am, is very much similar to the popular Chamundi Express. On its return journey, the Special Train Departs KSR Bengaluru Railway Station at 6.15 pm and reach Mysuru at 9.05 pm.
After the train was introduced in June following relaxation in COVID-19 lockdown regulations, the train that has 14 bogies with a total seating capacity of 1,500 passengers, used to record a poor ridership of just about 150 passengers. But with the passage of time, there has been a slight improvement in ridership as about 400 to 500 passengers have started to travel by the train on week days.
However, this number drops to 200 to 300 on week ends. The Railway Authorities expect that ridership will pick up once the COVID-19 pandemic start showing signs of abatement and all activities return to normal.
With no over-the counter tickets available, the passengers are required to book their tickets online for the journey and non-availability of over-the counter tickets too has hindered train ridership. The Mysuru-Bengaluru train is one of the only two special daily trains running in the State, the other being Bengaluru-Belagavi train.