Covid-19: Railways makes first prototype of isolation coach

Updated on Mar 28, 2020 03:19 PM IST

A cabinet meeting chaired by the PM discussed ways of using state-owned facilities and production units to for boosting the production and supply of medical equipment and setting up quarantine facilities.

The coaches are being sanitized before and after they are converted into isolation wards.(ANI Twitter)
The coaches are being sanitized before and after they are converted into isolation wards.(ANI Twitter)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAnisha Dutta

Indian Railways has prepared the first prototype of an isolation coach for Covid-19 patients. The prototype, the handiwork of Northern Railways, is equipped with 10 isolation wards per coach. Each zone of Indian Railways has been tasked with manufacturing 10 coaches a week.

The coaches are being sanitized before and after they are converted into isolation wards. “The hospital isolation coaches will have provision of air curtains in each compartment. We have converted two toilets into bathrooms by plugging the toilet pan and (installing) proper flooring. We have removed the middle berth,” a Northern Railways official said, requesting anonymity.

Hindustan Times on March 26 had reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked government ministries to find innovative ways of using their resources to manufacture medical equipment like ventilators and scaling up production in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak.

A cabinet meeting chaired by the PM discussed ways of using state-owned facilities and production units to for boosting the production and supply of medical equipment and setting up quarantine facilities.

Indian Railways has been considering using some of its vast number of train coaches as isolation wards. It has already begun work on using locomotive production units to manufacture ventilators and other medical equipment.

“There is a plan to use the vast pool of non-AC coaches for setting up isolation wards. Railways has also begun production of masks, sanitisers and other supplies,” a railway ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

Indian Railways has also been tasked with using its large manufacturing and locomotive production units and workshops for manufacturing essential medical equipment hospital beds and stretchers, among others.

The national transporter has issued directions to this effect to its production units -- the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and Diesel Loco Works in Varanasi, among others. The Railway Board has asked production units and workshops to assess the feasibility of manufacturing such items in large numbers at short notice, if required.

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