LAHORE - A limited train operation by Pakistan Railways (PR) started from Wednesday morning with thirty trains after getting special approval by Prime Minister Imran Khan to facilitate citizens ahead of upcoming Eidul Fitr.

The first train 101-Up Subak Raftar left with 105 passengers for Rawalpindi under strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Pakistan Railways had planned to operate 15 up and 15 down trains in the first phase including Khyber Mail and Awam Express trains ( between Peshawar and Karachi), Jaffar Express (Quetta and Peshawar) , Tezgam , Green Line and Pakistan Express trains ( Karachi and Rawalpindi) , Mehar Express ( Multan and Rawalpindi), Subbak Raftar and Islamabad Exress ( between Lahore and Rawalpindi). Pak Business, Karakorum Express and Shah Hussain Express (between Lahore and Karachi), Millat Express (Karachi and Lalamusa), Allama Iqbal Express (Karachi and Sialkot ) and Sukhur Express ( Jacobabad and Karachi).

Railways management appealed to the passengers to follow the SOPs and maintain distance with others ,and travel only when needed with limited number of passengers. Booking for the trains would be done only through online ticketing service, while booking offices would remain closed. Also, the booking would be closed after 60 per cent of occupancy in the trains.

PR installed sanitizer walk through gates at entrance of the railway stations, and passengers were allowed to enter one hour before departure of the train while the friends and families were not allowed to come to the Railway Station premises to see offthe passengers. The Railway authorities did not allow any irrelevant person or relatives of the passengers to enter within the radius of 200 metres around railway stations.

Medical and other necessary staff was deployed at railway stations where the trains would stop to ensure social distancing and to provide medical facilities if and when needed.

Temperature of all passengers was checked during traveling whereas the railways officials appealed to the passengers to keep their masks, sanitizers, gloves and soap with them.

PR warned that in case of violation of above stated SOPs , the passenger would be fined Rs 500 at first, later the fine would be doubled, and if the passenger still did not follow the SOPs  even after two fines he or she would be off boarded at the next stop.