The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) has rolled out the country's first air conditioned double-decker rake comprising 10 coaches that will run between Howrah and Dhanbad on the Eastern section of the Railways within the next 15 days. The double-decker rake includes two power cars, informed RCF General Manager Pardeep Kumar.
Talking to mediapersons at the roll-out, Kumar claimed that these futuristic, high-speed stainless steel coaches are comparable with the best international trains. These double-decker coaches have been introduced to cater to the heavy rush of commuters in high density corridors, offering AC travel at a lower cost. The railway board would decide on the fare.
The first train would start running on Howrah-Dhanbad section of Eastern Railways after clearance from the commissioner, railway safety. Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to flag it off.
The new design coaches are capable of running at a speed of 160 kmph and have been test run at up to 180 kmph.
The railways minister, in the rail budget for 2009-10, gave the RCF the challenge of developing double-decker coaches for Indian Railways.
RCF, in association with Research Development and Standard Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, finalised the design and the first prototype was rolled out for oscillation trials within a record time of nine months.
The double-decker cars have the capacity to carry 128 passengers against 78 in a Shatabdi chair car. The chairs come in a face-to-face format. There are 54 seats each on the upper and lower deck, 20 seats are on both the ends. Since the design has substantially lower tare weight per passenger, these coaches would be more energy efficient and save up to 30 per cent energy, claims Chief Design Engineer R.S. Kochak.
The railway board plans to run the next double-decker train on Mumbai-Ahmedabad section, as per sources.