The East Central Railway (ECR) has taken proactive measures to address the significant surge in passengers returning to Bihar to partake in the Diwali and Chhath festivals. With the standard trains already operating at full capacity leading up to Chhath and airfares reaching unaffordable levels for many, the ECR has announced its decision to operate 74 pairs of special trains from various locations across the country to diverse destinations in Bihar.
These special trains comprise renowned services like the Vande Bharat Express and Rajdhani Express, strategically scheduled to accommodate the massive influx of passengers journeying back to Bihar during this festive season. With the common trains fully booked, and airfares soaring to exorbitant rates on routes like Mumbai-Patna and Delhi-Patna, where tickets are being sold at prices ranging from ₹7,000 to ₹15,500, the demand for these festive specials is evident.
Among the notable special trains is the Delhi-Patna Vande Bharat special train (Train No. 02252), which is scheduled to operate on November 11, 14, and 16 from Delhi. This service features 16 coaches, including executive class compartments. The fares for these special trains are yet to be finalized, but bookings are expected to commence soon, as informed by Birendra Kumar, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of ECR.
These special trains will remain in operation until the end of November, ensuring the return of those who have traveled to Bihar for the auspicious Diwali and Chhath festivals. To accommodate the growing number of passengers on waiting lists, additional coaches may be appended to regular trains. It is anticipated that the Bihar-bound special trains will undertake approximately 2,000 journeys to cater to the passenger influx.
In addition to these efforts, the railways have implemented crowd management strategies to handle the surge in passengers. Automatic ticket vending machines have been deployed at key railway stations that are facing heightened pressure due to passengers traveling to Bihar. Furthermore, help desks are being established to facilitate a smooth and comfortable journey for passengers.
The escalating airfares in the lead-up to the festivals have compelled travelers to explore alternative modes of transportation. With air ticket prices for destinations like Darbhanga from Delhi and Bengaluru already soaring to exorbitant levels, people are increasingly considering rail travel to ensure they can partake in the festive celebrations.
The meticulous planning and arrangements made by the East Central Railway underscore the significance of the Diwali and Chhath festivals in the lives of the people of Bihar, while also reflecting the commitment of the railway authorities to ensure that this festive period remains both accessible and enjoyable for all.