In the backdrop of train accidents that have occurred over the last few years, the Kapurthala-based Rail Coach Factory (RCF) has developed 'crashworthy coaches' that would keep casualties at a minimum in the event of an accident.
The coaches would have 'crumble zones' on both ends, specifically designed to absorb the impact of the crash. These zones, according to experts, would absorb the force of the impact substantially - leaving the passenger area unaffected.
Another set of "energy absorbers" have also been provided behind the couplers, which link the coaches.
The new coaches are also being fitted with couplers of a new design, which would lessen the discomfort whenever a train accelerates or decelerates, and absorb the impact if trains collide.
A prototype shell was developed and validated after being crash-tested at the Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO).A technical report, suggesting that crashworthy features be incorporated in all LHB-design coaches, will be forwarded by the RCF to the railway board soon.
"Once we receive the approval of the rail board, we will start work on incorporating this feature in all LHB coaches," RCF general manager BN Rajashekhar said.
The German LHB-design technology incorporates "anti-climbing" features to prevent coaches from piling over one another in the event of an accident.
The Indian Railways plans to replace its entire fleet of 59,000 passenger coaches with the lightweight LHB-design stainless steel coaches.
With an annual installed capacity of 1,500 coaches, the RCF is India's premier coach manufacturing factory. It has manufactured coaches for premier trains, including Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durantos — besides double-decker trains.