34 coaches of Uzhavan Express have bio-toilets

Uzhavan Express that was flagged off from here on September 1, qualifies to be called a ‘green express’ as bio-toilets have been fitted into 34 of its 36 coaches. “Except first AC and AC two-tier coaches, all the other 34 coaches have been fitted with bio-toilets,” said Southern Railway officials.

Indian Railways, at present, is running 1,400 coaches with 3,800 bio-toilets in various trains, according to a Southern Railway press release issued here on Thursday.

In the first four months of the current year, more bio-toilets have been fitted into coaches than the entire number fitted in the last three years. The number of bio-toilets fitted into passenger coaches from April to July this year was 2,285, against 1,337 bio-toilets fitted during 2012-13, 169 during 2011-12, and 57 during 2010-11.

The first bio-toilet-fitted train, Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express, has been running since January 2011.

After receiving encouraging feedback from the users and railway maintenance staff, the pace of fitment of these bio-toilets into passenger coaches has been ramped up.

In its endeavour to take all necessary steps to keep station premises clean, Indian Railways is now manufacturing all-new conventional passenger coaches fitted with bio-toilets.

A colony of anaerobic bacteria convert human waste mainly into water and small amount of gases (methane and CO2) in the bio-toilets has been fitted underneath the lavatories in coaches. The gases emit into the atmosphere and waste is discharged after chlorination onto the track. Human waste thus does not fall on the railway track. This procedure is environment-friendly and improves the working condition for the railway track staff.

The toilets, according to the press release, will not function if they are chocked with plastic bottles, paper cups, cloth rags, sanitary napkin, nappies, plastic poly bags and pouches. The environment-friendly, low cost and robust technology has been developed jointly by the Indian Railways and Defence Research and Development Organisation. The bacteria used in the bio-toilet has been collected and analysed by DRDO from Antarctica and the efficiency of this system has been tested in extreme climates and conditions like those at Siachen Glacier. The anaerobic bacteria can survive in extreme climates and when exposed to common disinfectants.


Published in: on September 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Railways to speed up fixing of bio-toilets

The Railways has informed Parliament that it will speed-up the implementation of bio-toilets on passenger coaches.

The data placed before the House reveals that in the last four months, 2,285 bio-toilets have been fitted.

The ministry said now 1,400 running coaches have 3,800 bio-toilets on various trains. The Railways is now manufacturing all new conventional passenger coaches fitted with bio-toilets.

This pollution-free technique entails treatment of human waste in anaerobic condition by bacteria. It converts human waste into water and small amount of gases, methane and carbon dioxide.

The gases escape into the atmosphere and waste is discharged after chlorination onto the track, thereby avoiding human waste on the track. This is environmentally friendly and also improves the working condition for the track staff.

However, the maintenance of bio-toilets require caution. Throwing items like plastic bottles, paper cups, cloth, sanitary napkins, plastic/poly bags and gutka packets will choke these toilets and render them non-functional.


Indian Railway Runs 1400 Coaches With 3,800 Bio-toilets

Indian Railways, which is one of the world’s largest railway network, is running 1,400 coaches with 3,800 bio-toilets in various trains as part of its commitment to provide hygienic environment to passengers.

In the first four months of the current year, Indian Railways have fitted more bio-toilets on coaches than the entire number of bio-toilets fitted in the past three years, the Ministry of Railways announced.

In the first four months of the current financial year, the number of bio-toilets fitted in passenger coaches were 2,285 in comparison to 1,337 bio-toilets fitted in 2012-13, 169 in 2011-12 and 57 in the year 2010-11.

The first train, Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express, fitted with bio-toilets is running since January 2011.

“After receiving encouraging feedback from the users and railway maintenance staff, the pace of fitment of these bio-toilets in Indian Railways passenger coaches has been ramped up,” said the statement.

In its endeavour to take all necessary steps to keep station premises clean, Indian Railways is now manufacturing all new conventional passenger coaches fitted with bio-toilets.

These bio-toilets are fitted below the coach floor underneath the lavatories and the human waste discharged into them is acted upon by a colony of anaerobic bacteria that convert human waste mainly into water and small amount of gases (methane and CO2).

The gases escape into atmosphere and waste is discharged after chlorination onto the track. Human waste thus does not fall on the railway track. This is environmentally friendly and also improves the working condition for the railway track staff, it added.

As of December 2012, Indian Railways transported over 25 million passengers daily and over nine billion on an annual basis.

The old-fashioned open-hole toilet in about its 50,000 coaches that ply the country’s big railway system resulted in it being called, the largest open toilet in the world.


Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Railways fit select trains with bio-toilets

In a bid to comfort travellers in passenger trains, the Nagpur division of Central Railway has modified facilities aboard four trains. The trains include Nagpur-Amla, Amla-Betul, Amla-Chhindwara, and Chhindwara-Junnardeo.

Central Railway divisional manager (DRM) Brijesh Dixit on Tuesday said, “Following complaints many changes have been made in passenger coaches. These changes include improvised seats, tube lights, tail lamps, wash basins, water taps, fans, washrooms etc”

The seats have been made more layered and have backrests attached making them more comfortable. A special arrangement for handles has been made for handicapped passengers. Besides, efficient and modular tubelights have been used in place of the old incandescent ones which produced more heat than light.

Dixit further said that emergency safety lights have been installed. Number of rods on the window has been increased for safety and security. The new addition is eco-friendly bio-toilets or green-toilet in select coaches. These toilets will help keep the station clean.


In 6 years, all trains will come fitted with bio-toilets

Come 2019, and train travel will become so much more eco-friendly. By that time, the Railway Board hopes to complete installation of bio-toilets in all 40,000-plus coaches of the Indian Railways. The benefits, it is felt, will be many. Corrosion of railway tracks will be reduced; the stations will remain clean; it wills save water and the on-board facility will be odourless. Capping it all, the whole scheme will fit into the government’s national scavenging policy discouraging use of human beings to clear the muck.

“We’ve already installed about 500 such toilets, mostly in existing coaches, after running a pilot project for two years in two trains and we hope to install 3,000 more in the current fiscal”, Arunendra Kumar, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, told Business Line. “All the new coaches coming out of IR coach factories at Kapurthala and Perambur will be fitted with bio-toilets”.

But then, the job is not so easy. First, the cost, is prohibitive. Installing bio-toilets in each coach costs around Rs 3.5 lakh, and each will have four such toilets. Next, for new LHB coaches, the toilets have to be redesigned.

Coaching, major issue

Finally, fitting the new toilets in an existing coach is proving difficult because the coach has to be taken out of operation, thus creating the shortage of seats available for travel.

Interestingly, the design and technology being used in the bio-toilets are entirely indigenous. “The bacteria being put into six chambers will eat up everything”, he said adding, “The Defence Research & Development Organisation, Gwalior, is helping us a lot in this matter”.

However, a major challenge facing the Railways is teaching passengers how to use the new toilets properly. At present, the passengers are used to treating a train toilet as a dustbin throwing napkins, bottles and various other things.

Such exercises will be prohibited in the bio-toilets. Use of highly acidic and alkaline cleaning agents will also be a no-no.


(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 16, 2013)


Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Bio-toilets to prevent corrosion of rail tracks

Defacement and corrosion of railway tracks by night soil—costing the exchequer crores—might soon be a thing of the past. All new coaches inducted into the trains run by Northern Railway will now come fitted with bio-toilets. After the successful run of bio-toilets installed in Nizamuddin-Indore Inter-City train, the railways has decided to install such toilets in all trains maintained by the Delhi division.

Top sources said the Integral Coach Factory at Perambur and the Railway Coach Factory at Kapurthala have decided to use bio-toilets in sleeper and AC coaches. Six hundred toilets have already been fitted in 150 coaches.

Passengers on express trains Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi which have LHB coaches, will have to wait longer as bio-toilets for these coaches are still in the planning stage. These trains use the Control Discharge Toilet System (CDTS), in which the night soil gets discharged only after the train attains a particular speed to prevent at least the station areas from being affected.

The Delhi division aims to install 3,000 bio-toilets in 750 coaches in this financial year. “Bio-toilets will be installed in coaches under other divisions of Northern Railway in the next phase,” said a railway official. These new-age toilets have been designed along with the Defence Research and Development Establishment. A special bacterium is released in the night soil. The bacteria then consume this soil and releases non-corrosive neutral water. The bacteria can thrive without external help. The green toilets not only prevent discharge of excrement on tracks and maintain cleanliness but will also help do away with manual scavenging.

To prevent choking, the toilet has got a tank inlet with a valve, which can be manually operated to clear any blockage.


Anubhuti coaches to have features ‘similar to aeroplanes’

Minister of state for railways, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, confirmed on Saturday during his visit to the rail coach factory, Kapurthala, that the railway board has received design proposals for “Anubhuti” coaches from the RCF and the factory would be given orders after approval by the board. It is learned that RCF has proposed internal features “similar to aeroplanes” to make these super-luxury coaches extremely comfortable.

RCF has proposed to have LCD screens and entertainment system and features similar to those in aircraft, while also designing diffused lighting in place of focused lights as is the practice in trains.

These coaches would be having motorized automatic sliding door in compartments while in all earlier coaches, these were manually operated doors, which required a bit of force for opening. “These motorized doors would open with just pressing a button and would be making a class difference for travelers, pushing the standard of coaches to the next orbit,” an RCF official, privy to the design details, told TOI.

RCF officials revealed that the inside aesthetics they had proposed included paneling with world class phenolic-based fiber reinforced plastic, which was currently the best used material for internal aesthetics. Rubberished floor having anti-skid properties has also been proposed.

While bio-toilets are already being manufactured and fitted by RCF, Anubhuti coaches would have modular lavatories with better space management and aeroplane-type fitting. While the RCF has already rolled out coaches with Wi-Fi, the Anubhuti coaches would have this feature integrated in them.

Even as the number of chairs has not yet been decided and reduction in their number is also not being ruled out, the proposed design and material of these chairs aim at making these much more comfortable. “Even if the number may not come down or there would be slight difference, these chairs would have better leg space and comfort,” said a RCF official.

Meanwhile, the MoS, who visited RCF when it is completing its silver jubilee year, said that the mandate of Anubhuti coaches is very clear — to make the journey a super-luxury experience. Manufacturing of these coaches would be started by RCF here as soon as the design is finalized, he said.


Rail coaches built after 2016-17 to have bio-toilets

Rail coaches built after 2016-17 will have bio-toilets and by 2020-21 all trains will have such toilets, Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told Lok Sabha today.

The bio-toilets, which have been indigenously developed by Indian Railways and DRDO, have been installed for in-service trials in nine trains, he said during Question Hour.

“By 2016-17, all new coaches built in the country will have bio-toilets. By 2020-21, all coaches will have bio-toilets,” Bansal said.

He said such toilets are being installed in existing coaches through retro-fitment but the process costs five times more than building new coaches with bio-toilets.

“The estimated cost of retro-fitment in existing coaches is expected to be approximately Rs 15 lakh per coach while in case of original fitting in the new coaches the cost will be about Rs 3 lakh per coach,” he said.

The quantum of work and material required in case of retro-fitment is significantly more which makes it a costly affair. Rs 7,000 crore would be required for this project, Bansal said.

Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express is the first train to have a bio-toilet.


Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Bio-Toilets: Railways to Set Up Three Bacteria Plants

Railways will set up three bacteria generation plants as part of its effort to equip more coaches with bio-toilets in trains for eco-friendly waste disposal.

Railways have set a target of installing bio-toilets designed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) in 2,500 coaches in the current fiscal.

Bacteria plants will be set up in Kapurthala, Chennai and Nagpur as there is a huge requirement for anaerobic bacteria for an increasing number of coaches with bio-toilets, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the bio-toilet project.

“Currently we are procuring bacteria from DRDO but we have to generate on our own to meet the requirement for all coaches,” he said.

Bio-toilets are being fitted in all new LHB (Linke Holfmann Busch) coaches manufactured in Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and conventional coaches will also be equipped with these toilets in a phased manner, he said.

In bio-toilets, anaerobic bacteria converts human waste into water and gases (methane and carbon dioxide).

Currently bio-toilets have been provided on trial basis in Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express, Jammu Tawai-Indore Malwa Express, Chennai-Guwahati Egmore Express, Nizamuddin-Indore Intercity Express, Indore-Gwalior Express, Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagri Express, Lucknow-Mumbai Pushpak Express and Kochuveli-Bangalore Express.

The first train to be fitted with bio-toilets was Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express in January last year. The latest train to be equipped with these new toilets is Kochuveli-Bangalore Express. Field trials on these trains are successful, the official said.

The problem of environmental degradation and corrosion of tracks has been a cause of concern for the Railways. Corrosion costs Railways more than Rs 3,500 million every year.

Railways have set up a core committee which is working out details to undertake fitting bio-toilets in about 50,000 coaches of the national transporter. (PTI)


All rail coaches to get bio-toilets in 10 yrs

Ten years down the line to provide better cleanliness and hygiene in and around railway stations, on board trains and track area, the entire fleet of the Indian Railway will be fitted with the bio-toilets. A senior railway official informed the Delhi High Court bench headed by the Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw during hearing of a PIL earlier this month.

Ajay Singh, Director of Mechanical (Development) told the Bench that by the 2021-22, all the coaches of Indian Railway will be fitted with bio-toilets. “Currently 500 bio-toilets have been fitted in the rail coaches and by the end of year 2,500 more of these toilets will be fitted in the coaches. By the year 2016-17, all the new rail coaches will be fitted with these green toilets,” said Singh. PIL was filed by Safai Karamchari Andolan. Singh informed the court that currently 50,000 coaches are in service and 4,000 coaches produced every year at Integrated Rail Coach factory.

The Bench asked the railways to speed up the process of installing the bio-toilets, on which Singh told the court that the existing rail coaches currently in use and which goes for periodic overhaul (maintenance) every one-and-half year. These toilets can be fitted once they go for periodic overhaul as it cannot be done at station and yards.

The bio-toilets will make stations and trains cleaner and would also solve the problem of manual scavenging which is also against the basic human rights. The new toilets will not only improve the environment on board for passengers but also help in preventing corrosion of rail track, which takes place due to the acidic nature of waste material. Railways have joined hands with the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior for the development of bio-toilets.