VIJAYAWADA/VISAKHAPATNAM: After two months of lockdown, train services resumed partially in Andhra Pradesh on Monday. While passengers thronged Visakhapatnam railway station to board Godavari Express that left for Secunderabad, social distancing went for a toss at Vijayawada railway station.
Golconda Express to Secunderabad was the first one to leave Vijayawada after inter-state services were restored. Though the South Central Railway (SCR) advised passengers to turn up 90 minutes before the train’s departure, people started gathering at the east terminal entry point from 4.30 am onwards.
Train No. 07201 arrived at 7 am from Guntur, its originating station, and departed after a 10-minute halt.
Though the passengers wore masks, social distancing norms were thrown to the wind in Vijayawada due to the rush to enter the station. The authorities repeatedly announced that only those with reserved tickets can stand in queues, while the rest of them should leave. When several turned a deaf ear to the instructions, the Railway Protection Force swung into action and made the passengers stand in a single file by maintaining physical distancing.
On the other hand, Visakhapatnam officials ensured all the passengers maintained social distancing and, to this effect, constantly announced through the public address system that the passengers should wear masks, gloves and carry their own bed linen for the overnight journey. The railway officials directed that only those with reserved tickets can enter the premises and asked the others to leave. A few travelling to Vijayawada and Rajamahendravaram were disappointed due to the restrictions on intra-state travel.
Meanwhile, those travelling to Secunderabad were happy to go home after a long time. “I was hurt in an accident and have to be treated by a nephrologist. Thank God, the trains services have resumed,” K Nageswara Rao said. Many migrant workers arrived at the Vizag station to board AP Express to Delhi.
To avoid physical contact, railway staff in Vijayawada verified the tickets with the help of computers and cameras. The passengers were told to pass through an automated thermal scanner.
Other trains that arrived in Vijayawada included Golconda Express from Secunderabad-Guntur followed by Falkunuma Express, Sanghamitra Express, Godavari Express, which ran between Visakhapatnam and Secunderabad.