The Southern Railway on Friday said the Tamil Nadu government employees authorised as essential services staff would be allowed to board its “Workmen Specials” running on the city’s suburban routes from October 5. Southern Railway is presently operating the specials for its own workmen.

The services would be out of bounds for the general public. “In response to the request of the government of Tamil Nadu, it is decided to permit essential services staff authorised by the state government to travel in limited number of suburban trains run as Workmen Specials by ChennaiDivision of the Southern Railway with effect from October 5,” an official release said.

Details of train services would be displayed at the stations. The release further said a nodal officer of the state government would authorise and issue specific travel permission to essential services staff to travel in the Workmen Specials.

“The specific travel permission shall have details such as name, designation and department/office among others. This travel permission in original will be accepted by the Railways only when presented along with the photo ID Card of the person issued by his/her office,” it said.

Tickets would be issued only to the said persons and not the general public, it added. Standard health protocols such as thermal screening of passengers would be followed while they should wear masks and follow social distancing at all times, it said.