Date Of Post: 03 Feb, 2018
It is the continual endeavor of Indian Railways (IR) to take measures for modernisation of railway passenger coaches, strengthening and upgradation of security infrastructure and stations and improvement of catering facilities. Following steps have been taken/ are being taken for the same: –
Modernisation of railway passenger coaches and speed:
Large scale proliferation of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches:
- IR has decided to proliferate LHB coaches, which are technologically superior and have better riding and aesthetics. The Production Units of IR would be producing only LHB coaches from the year 2018-19 onwards.
Improvements in EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) / MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) rakes:
- One air conditioned EMU rake with 3 phase Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) based propulsion has been introduced on 25.12.2017 in Western Railway. Electrics for production of 6 more air conditioned EMU rakes are also being procured.
- Passenger Information System (PIS) has been provided in newly manufactured Alternating Current / Direct Current (AC/DC) and Air Conditioned (AC) EMU stock for Mumbai area.
Speed of train coaches:
- IR has decided to proliferate LHB coaches, which coaches are fit to run at a speed of 160 kmph for AC coaches and 130 kmph for non-AC coaches.
- Semi high speed Gatimaan Express between Delhi and Agra is running at a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
- One rake of LHB coach for Tejas Express running between Mumbai and Goa has been designed for a maximum speed of 200 kmph.
- A SpecialRajdhani Express (No. 09004/09003) between HazratNizamuddin and Bandra Terminus has been introduced on 16.10.2017with a composition of 18 LHB coaches. It is hauled by 2 electric locos to provide greater acceleration which has resulted in the run time of about 13 hours 50 minutes.
Manufacture of electric train set coaches:
- 141 Electric Train set coaches in 2018-19 and 11 in 2019-20 have been included in the Production Programme. The train sets will be semi high speed with distributed power, with quicker acceleration and contemporary passenger amenities.
Mid-Life-Rehabilitation (MLR) of coaches:
- MLR work of Broad Gauge (BG) non-AC & AC coaches is carried out in three workshops, namely Parel (Central Railway), Jhansi (North Central Railway) and Bhopal (West Central Railway). The work includes complete overhauling of interiors of coaches. Considering the present scenario, around 1000 coaches per annum are likely to be given MLR during the next three years.
Model Rake Coaches:
- IR has planned to improve the interior of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches. New interiors with more pleasing colours, aesthetically designed fittings, panelling, improved toilets, etc. will be provided in the existing coaches by refurbishing them during MLR. Work in 700 such Model rake coaches is being progressively carried out, out of which more than 100 Model rake coaches have already been turned out. Work of refurbishment of 3,000 ICF type coaches each has been given to ICF/Chennai and Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW)/New Delhi for awarding centralized tenders. Modern Coach Factory/Rae Bareli floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) for world class interiors of LHB coaches on 16.01.2018 and plans to begin manufacture of such coaches in 2018-19.
New coaches and train services with better amenities:
- Various premium services like Humsafar, Tejas, Antyodaya and coaches like DeenDayalu and Anubhuti, which have improved passenger amenities, have been introduced in service. More such coaches / services shall be introduced in the coming years. Utkrisht Double Decker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY) trains have been conceptualized as double-decker rakes with improved amentities and shall be inducted from 2018-19 onwards.
- IR has launched Project Swarn with the objective of significantly improving the passenger experience. In total, 14 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains will be covered.
- 2 rakes of Shan-e-Bhopal Express (Train No.12155/12156) have been upgraded at division level. Upgradation of 66 trains (140rakes) in divisions on lines of Shan-e-Bhopal Express shall be taken up from 2018-19 onwards.
Safety and Security of railway passengers and stations:
Safety and security in Railway coaches:
- Proliferation of LHB type coaches, which have better safety features, as compared to the conventional ICF type coaches.
- Improving fire retardancy in coaches by providing fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.
- Progressive fitment of Double Acting AC compartment doors in select existing AC coaches and in all new manufacture AC coaches to enable passengers to quickly evacuate from in the event of emergency.
- Progressive fitment of Automatic plug type doors in select existing coaches to prevent accidental falling of passengers from running trains.
- Progressive fitment of fire suppression and detection system in existing and all new manufacture Power Cars and Pantry Cars.
- Provision of fire extinguishers in all AC coaches, Second class-cum-guard and luggage van and Pantry cars. Progressive fitment of fire extinguishers in balance existing non-AC coaches and all new manufacture non-AC coaches.
- Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in Mainline coaches/EMU/MEMU and Metro coaches are being provided in a phased manner to improve security of passengers.
Safety and security in Railway stations:
- Provision of CCTV cameras has been made over 394 railway stations. Installation of CCTV cameras is also under progress over 983 stations with allocation of budget under Nirbhaya Fund.
- Railway Protection Force (RPF) Security helpline 182, installed to assist Railway Passengers especially women in distress, is planned to be upgraded by making it automated. This Information Technology (IT) enabled upgraded system shall make the distress response efficient by introducing features like automated phone call system, acknowledgement through SMS, computerized registration of complaint and further processing, voice recording, monitoring of call attending and optimum call capacity utilization.
- Networking of Posts and Security Control Rooms of the RPF is under progress for faster dissemination of data/feedback/Complaints. Pilot project has successfully been completed over Western and Central Railways and Roll-out phase is under progress.
- Other measures initiated to ensure security of passengers, in coordination with Government Railway Police (GRP), include escorting of 4,700 mail/express trains (2,500 by RPF and 2,200 by GRP), regular drives against antisocial elements under the provisions of the Railways Act, regular coordination meetings with State Police to ensure proper registration and investigation of crime by GRP, etc.
To improve the standard of food being provided to passengers, new Catering Policy has been issued on 27thFebruary, 2017 wherein inter-alia Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. In order to upgrade quality of food preparation, IRCTC is to set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones. Further steps being taken to ensure that good quality and hygienic food is served to the passengers inter-alia include:
- Optional catering service has been introduced as a pilot project, on 32 Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto trains under the management of IRCTC with effect from 01.08.2017 for an initial period of 180 days.
- Introduction of station based E-Catering for widening the range of options available to passengers for ordering food of their choice.
- Pilot for introduction of precooked food (‘ready to eat’ meals) in the range of options available to passengers.
- Operation of centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) (toll free number 1800-111-321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to the catering activities and real time assistance to travelling public.
- Operation of all India Helpline (No.138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services
- A Twitter handle @ IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.
Image Credit: Debashis.jena16 – Wikimedia Commons