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Better reading lights in trains

Just like overhead reading lights in aircraft, each berth in trains will now come with a reading lamp that emits light in a straight line, reports Avishek G Dastidar.

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2008 01:41 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

A team of Northern Railway engineers has started a pilot project that, if successful, will make matters comfortable for those who love to catch up with their reading habits during train journeys.

Just like overhead reading lights in aircraft, each berth in trains will now come with a reading lamp. The lamp emits light in a straight line and its direction can be manually controlled, so that co-passengers are not disturbed even if used throughout the night. As experiment, a few AC coaches have been fitted with these lamps.

“Nine out of 10 passengers love to read to while away time during journeys. But the current reading lamps disturb passengers because of their lack of focus, so passengers are often forced to switch them off for others’ convenience,” said V.K. Dutt, chief electrical engineer, Northern Railway.

The new lamps are made of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Each lamp is a cluster of tiny LEDs that compose a strong, pointed ray of light. Circular in shape, the lamp comes with an adjustable dimmer that controls the focus, just like in the planes.

To get a better feedback on the reading lamps, engineers plan to fit these coaches in trains that are known to carry student crowds. “We will be looking at trains to destinations like Pune and Bangalore, which are usually packed with students who study for entrance exams or other kinds of tests,” he said.

So far, four AC coaches have been fitted with the new lighting. Each one has 77 reading lamps—one for each passenger. The plan is to install the lamps in all classes, including the sleeper class. Apart from better lighting, LEDs help to save power as well.

The railways has been trying out several options in reading lamps inside compartments. The earliest form of reading light was a small bulb that came in a steel casing with a lid. The user had to open the lid to switch on the light.