Bengaluru: Its passenger services may be suspended till May 3 but Indian Railways is gearing up to run trains for a group of very special passengers on multiple routes.

The Centre has given its nod for the running of two special trains to be deployed for the Indian Army personnel citing national security consideration, according to officials aware of the development.

Close to 1200 officers and jawans of Indian Army are likely to take trains from Bengaluru to their postings in various parts of India this month. They had been stuck due to the 21-day lockdown, and no other way of transporting them could be worked out.

Two special trains are scheduled to run on Friday and Saturday (April 17 and 18).

According to a report on Hindustan Times, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has approved the running of two special trains for security forces, the officials said. “The MHA authorities have given their nod for deploying two special trains for security forces,” a senior official said requesting anonymity.

To meet the operational requirements for Northern and Eastern borders, two military special trains are planned to be run. These are; Bangalore - Belgaum- Secunderabad - Ambala- Jammu on 17 April 20. And Bangalore - Belgaum- Secunderabad - Gopalpur - Howrah - NJP - Guwahati on 18 April 20,” a senior army official said.

“Only personnel due to rejoin units deployed in northern and eastern borders and have undergone mandatory quarantine period or have been found medically fit will be accommodated,” said the sources.

However, unlike regular train services, these special trains will not take the shortest routes to destinations. And they will halt at multiple places for long periods en route. Each special train will have a pantry car. 

Both Railways as well as Army will work to sanitise the coaches. Accounting for social distancing, each non-AC sleeper coach, with a capacity of 72 will probably hold some 40 jawans.