A day after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal allowed women passengers to travel in local trains in Mumbai and suburbs, the Western Railway on Wednesday added four 'ladies special' trains on its suburban network.
Taking to Twitter, Western Railway wrote: "Railways has permitted women to travel in Mumbai suburban trains from 21st Oct, 2020 between 11.00 am to 3.00 pm & after 7.00 pm. WR will run 4 more Ladies Specials to ensure social distancing, #COVID19 health protocol & avoid overcrowding, taking the number of Ladies Spls to Six."
Railway authorities resumed the local train services in the metropolis from June 15. But only those engaged in essential services as categorised by the Maharashtra government are allowed to travel in the local trains run by the Central Railway and the Western Railway, through a QR code mechanism.
The Maharashtra government on October 16 requested the Railways to allow women to commute by local trains during the non-peak hours - from 11 am to 3 pm, and from 7 pm till the end of the day's services.
On Tuesday morning, Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar asked the railway authorities to consider its request "at the earliest".
Later, taking to Twitter, Piyush Goyal said, "I am happy to announce that Railways will allow women to travel on suburban trains from 21 Oct between 11 am to 3 pm and after 7 pm. We were always ready and with the receipt of letter from Maharashtra Govt today, we have allowed this travel."
The Western Railway and the Central Railway are now collectively operating around 700 local train services every day on their suburban network.