Charging points, tray-tables in next Railways upgrade
Tray-tables and charging points for every seat, better seat covers, new taps in toilets, even photographs in the passages are some of the upgrades planned by Indian Railways for 2,000 old coaches it plans to refurbish this year at a cost of ₹600 crore.
Tray-tables and charging points for every seat, better seat covers, new taps in the toilets, even photographs in the passages, these are some of the upgrades planned by Indian Railways for 2,000 old coaches it plans to refurbish this year at a cost of ₹600 crore as part of its effort to better customer experience.
Over the next few years, Indian Railways plans to do the same to 40,000 of the 59,000 coaches on its trains.
“We have taken many initiatives to change the interiors and exteriors of trains and improve the standards of railway coaches. While other initiatives are for selected trains, mostly express ones such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi, an umbrella project has been taken up to refurbish coaches on the basis of requirement. Over 40,000 coaches will be refurbished in coming years,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, member (rolling stock) of Railway Board, the apex decision making body of the transporter.
He added that this would be done when the coaches go for their annual maintenance so as to avoid any disruption in operations. In addition to changing taps and mirrors in toilets if they need to be replaced, Indian Railways is also planning to install new fans.
“This will increase the life of coaches and from a passenger’s point of view, refurbishment is important. Things like curtains and bathroom fittings need to be changed,” said RK Singh, former chairman of Railway Board.
The plan is to only focus on coaches less than 20 years old.
“About 8,000 coaches are more than 20 years old and we are not investing in them as they will be of no use once they are 25 years old. We are focusing on coaches less than 20 years old and zones have been asked to identify and tell the coach factory about the parts that are required to be changed. Seat covers will also be changed and wall paper will be placed to change the look (of the coach),” the second railway board official said.
Indian Railways also plans to develop 640 Utkrisht rakes as part of the upgradation of its mail/express trains in the next two years at a cost of ₹400 crore.
“Under Utkrisht scheme we are making changes across the train, while in refurbishment, every coach will be inspected and major changes carried out. In Utkrisht, the cost per coach will be around ₹2.5 lakh and focus will be on exteriors and minor repairs,” the official said.
Indian Railways has also decided to manufacture only the superior Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches from 2018-19.