Now, gear up to use newly-designed washrooms fitted with vacuum toilet system, similar to the ones in planes, as the railways is planning to introduce it on the Delhi-Amritsar Swarna Shatabdi and Palace on Wheels.
"Swarna Shatabdi will be the first train in Indian Railways to have vacuum toilets. As part of a green initiative undertaken by the railways, 80 new toilets will be fitted in the train," said a senior official in the railway ministry.
Besides, the railways will also replace the existing toilets in the Palace on Wheels, the New Delhi-Rajasthan luxury tourist train, with vacuum toilets for better sanitation and hygiene.
"The introduction of vacuum toilets in Swarna Shatabdi is being undertaken on a pilot basis," added the official.
The railways have floated global tenders for installing vacuum toilets in the Shatabdi at a cost of Rs 25 crore. "Five multinational companies, including two from Germany, one each from the US and China, have evinced interest in manufacturing and installing the system," he added.
"Approval has been sought from the civic authorities to make the vacuum toilet system operational, as it entails construction of safety tanks and sewerage link for the disposal of waste," the official said. The coaches will be fitted with vacuum toilets at the Kapurthala coach factory.
"All luxury trains will be equipped with green toilets. The exercise has begun for the Palace on Wheels," said the official.
"The cost of retrofitment of vacuum toilets on luxury coaches in the Palace on Wheels will be borne by the Rajasthan government," he added.
Environment-friendly and vacuum-based toilets prevent corrosion of rail tracks as they stop waste discharge on the tracks. Currently, premier trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi are equipped with controlled discharge toilet system which prevent disposal of waste at stations.
"Waste is automatically discharged after trains pick up a minimum speed of 30 km per hour," said the official.
Besides vacuum toilets, the railways will also introduce bio-toilets, based on a technology by the Defence Research Development Organisation, in mail and express trains.