Fares for festival and holiday special trains have been slightly higher since 2015, Indian Railways has said

The center has quashed the media reports suggesting that the Indian Railways has been charging extra fees from the passengers.

Referring to some of the news reports in a section of the media that Railways has been charging extra fares from passengers, the Ministry of Railways said, “This is misleading and not based on all the facts.”

The national transporter had started Festival or Holiday special trains to clear the extra rush of passengers. According to the Railway Ministry, the fare for such train services has been kept a little higher since the year 2015.

“Festival / Holiday special trains were started as per the long-standing practice to clear the rush. Festivals have been continuing and even today the harvest festival is being celebrated. This year there has been pent up demand on many sectors on which the festival trains were running. These festival trains have been continued to clear the rush. The fare for such trains has been kept a little higher since 2015. NOTHING NEW is being done this year. This is an established practice,” the statement read.

Despite low occupancy, Railways has been running trains in Covid times and operating in public welfare, said the Ministry of Railways.

"It may be noted that passenger operations have always been subsidized by railways. Railways bear loss for travel by passenger. Railways has been running trains in covid times in most challenging circumstances. Running in low occupancy in many sections and still operating in public welfare. Not only this, Railways has taken special care about the travel by those traveling by lowest fare in trains so that even in Covid times they bear the least burden," the ministry said further.

In all the train services that are being operated, apart from other classes, the trains have many 2S class coaches which have the lowest train fare in the reserved category.

According to the ministry, 40 percent of the passengers have traveled in 2S class coaches in much better traveling conditions than pre-pandemic, unreserved traveling situations. As per the railway policy, passengers of the 2S class, even in special fare case are not charged more than an additional amount of Rs 15.

Indian Railways has been constantly increasing the number of trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre-covid times, is to be considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances, it said.

Indian Railways had to stop running regular trains due to Covid-related nationwide lockdown on 22 March 2020 as a measure to counter the spread of coronavirus and trains are being added in a graded manner.

"Even during challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 60 % of the Mail/Express trains as compared to the pre-lockdown times. 77% of these special trains have fares of regular trains. Around 250 trains daily are running as trains with special fares," the ministry said.