Bangalore-Chennai double-decker train to ply soon

Indian Railways have been operating double-deckers on three routes: Howrah-Dhanbad; New Delhi-Jaipur and Mumbai-Ahmedabad since 2011-12.

The Bangalore-Chennai service is expected to lure more passengers to take the train, rather than ride a bus on the 360-km route. The trip will take six hours.

“The double-decker train is on trial run for a fortnight, and its operations are being fine-tuned in terms of safety, speed, halts and other technical parameters. Once we get statutory clearances, we will introduce the service before this month-end,” Bangalore division railway manager A.K. Agarwal told IANS.

To be operated daily, the train will initially have 10 AC chair cars and two power cars for air-conditioning, lights and auxiliary services.

“Each coach will have 120 reclining seats, with 50 in the upper deck, 48 in the lower and 22 in the middle, split at entrance on both sides. Being a double-decker, the train will carry 42 more passengers in each coach as against 78 per coach in a Shatabdi,” Agarwal said.

Unlike in Shatabdi, where food service is included in the fare, passengers in the double-decker will have the choice of ordering a-la-carte menu from pantry service in each coach as in other superfast trains like Brindavan Express and Lalbagh Express.

“As the fare to travel in double-decker will be same (Rs.440) as in AC chair car of Brindavan or Lalbagh, we are confident of attracting more passengers to travel by this train than bus or other modes of transport,” Agarwal said.

With 1,200 seats in the double-decker, the railways will not only be able to ferry more passengers to Chennai or eight other destinations in between the two metros, but also offer a choice of travelling in AC comfort.

“Though we are operating seven mail/express trains, including two Shatabdis daily between the two cities, we are unable to meet the surging demand, as evident from long waiting-lists, especially during the peak season. A double-decker will meet the shortage and tap the huge potential passenger traffic from the road sector,” Agarwal noted.

The double-decker is equipped with GPS (global positioning system)-based information system that scrolls its real-time running position, speed, distance to the next station in English, Hindi, Kannada and Tamil.

As the train will run at about 100 km an hour in some sections, the Kapurthala coach factory in Punjab has fitted the coaches with air suspension system and shock absorbers to minimise vibrations.

“The overall height of the double-decker coaches have been increased marginally by 116 mm (4.5 inches) keeping in view overhead structures, bridges, electric traction equipment and platform roof,” an official of the Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the railways told IANS.

The coaches being two meters longer, the space between each coach is, however, lesser than in conventional trains.

The bright yellow coaches with red strips in between boast of features like aesthetically pleasing interiors, blue-cushioned seats with fire retardant upholstery, tabletops between seats in the centre and electrical points for charging mobile phones and laptops.

The double-decker also has filter control discharge toilet system.

The first double-decker was introduced between Howrah and Dhanbad in West Bengal Oct 2, 2011, the second on the New Delhi-Jaipur route Aug 25, 2012 and third on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route Sept 12.

Published in: on March 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Expo that rekindles train of thought

Want to board on ‘Ooty Train’ or the very famous ‘Beach-Tambaram Electric train – 1965’ or ‘coach with a coupes’ or travel in ‘palace on wheels” under one roof, one must walk in to the Regional Rail Museum situated amid sylvan surroundings in an area of 6.2 acres inside Integral Coach Factory premises, Villivakkam. Situated in a comparatively clean and green environment, the museum is one among the five regional museums, inaugurated in 2002. It receives close to 6,000 visitors a month and on Sundays alone around 400.

Just not for kids, even an adult’s and train enthusiast’s thirst of knowledge is quenched by the employees. Anytime between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days except Mondays, the museum for rails has so much to speak about rail history starting from pre-Independence till now.

Out Door Live Exhibits have steam engine made in the year 1909, wagon of 1925, first and second class wooden body of Ooty train – 1965 model, the famous Beach-Tambaram electric train, hand travelling crane of 1887, hospital on wheels, steam crane made in England in 1930, line-up of various bogies, push trolley of yesteryears and inspection car with dual-brake system.

The museum has a built up area of 360 square metres, the three-tier running scale model layout with signal circuiting, is a must to watch. It has a gallery of scaled models, photographs and a toy train that takes visitors around museum. Rails are integral part of our lives, and Railways has a history of around 150 years. Museum captures the spectacular history of Railways which has passed through many developmental stages. One can visualise the skills, innovativeness and entrepreneurship of railways looking at the artefacts of yesteryears.

Recently there was a trial run of double-decker train to be operated between Chennai and Bangalore shortly by Railways. Believe it! Double-decker coaches were first made in the year 1863, in the wooden era of coaches.

It ran between Bombay and Baroda in the Central Indian Railway. Heritage furniture used in the waiting rooms of railway stations, and a convertible ladder-cum-chair used in the inspection car, astonishingly still tickling perfect, a hand wound wall clock of 1878 by ‘Smiths’ made in England are a must to see.

‘Shortly we will have a Science Museum too which will provide micro details to the visitors. We have started accumulating required exhibits and we are working towards it,” says Mr. Kalyanasundram – curator of the museum.

NWR’s double-decker train ready to be flagged off

The much-awaited double-decker train scheduled to run between Jaipur and Delhi has finally got safety clearance from Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS), which was the biggest hurdle in its operation. The authorities of the North Western Railways (NWR) are now waiting for the railway board to announce the official date to run the train between the two stations.
It may be recalled that the first ever double-decker train for Rajasthan reached Jaipur on April 11 this year and was handed over to NWR.
“The safety clearance has been given to us by CRS. Thus, we have asked the officials of the concerned departments and NWR’s Jaipur division to be ready for operations,” said a senior officer of NWR. The officials claimed that the train could chug off from the first week of August.
“The ongoing Jaipur-Delhi non-stop has been extended till July 20. If this does not get extension, we hope to replace it with the double-decker that would also be operated on the same time table. One cannot speculate the dates but it appears that we will have permission,” said an officer.
However, there is a possibility that it may be chugged off from August 1.
Lalit Bohara, chief public relations officer of NWR said that the officials of the Jaipur division are ready and are awaiting the final dates. “It can start any time now since we have got safety clearances. The dates would be finalized by the railway board,” Bohara added.
Earlier, NWR authorities were waiting for safety clearance and permission for its maiden run from the railway board.
The train had already had two successful trial runs between Jaipur and Delhi. The double-decker train was announced by former rail minister Mamata Banerjee in her budget for 2011-12.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment  

More comfortable journeys on double-decker train in the offing

More comfortable journey for passengers travelling on the new coaches of double- decker train is in the offing as many changes have been incorporated in them, including the number of seats that have been reduced to 120 from 128 after their redesigning at Rail Coach Factory here.

Several crucial changes have been made by RCF engineers based on the feedback received from passengers and railway officials who travelled on the first double-decker train operating between Howrah and Dhanbad stations since October 2011.

Senior RCF PRO Virender Kumar Vij said that 17 newly-designed coaches were rolled out from the factory on March 31 and had undergone field trials on the Delhi-Jaipur track.

“Basically, we have reduced the width of coaches by 80mms as there was some operational problem with the previous coaches as platforms were extended at some stations due to repair or other reasons. By reducing the coach width, this problem has been sorted out,” he said claiming that “this is the optimised standard design prepared by RCF officials”.

Apart from reduction in the number of seats, reclining chairs have been installed. Also, half of the seats would now be in one direction and others in opposite direction, with a snack table in the centre, added Vij.

Interiors of the coaches have been worked upon to improve aesthetic aspect.

Another rake is ready to be rolled out in the first week of June to be run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. By the end of this year, two more rakes for Southern Railway (Chennai to Bangalore) and for West Central Railway (Habibganj to Indore) would be rolled out from RCF, he added.

“Senior railways officials are highly impressed with the newly designed coaches and it is expected that these coaches will replace the existing Shatabdi coaches all over the country in the near future,” he said.

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Railways’ double-decker souvenir for Jaipur

In last year’s railway budget, the then Railways minister Mamta Banerjee announced two first-of-their-kind AC, double-decker trains — one connecting Delhi with Jaipur and the other linking Ahmedabad with Mumbai. Over a year later, only one of the two double decker trains have arrived and its halted in Congressman Ashok Gehlot’s state, giving Gujarat a miss.

Especially designed red and yellow coaches of the Jaipur-Delhi AC double-decker arrived in Jaipur on Wednesday.

The German LMB design train with AC chair-car coaches was manufactured by the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala. The 15-coach train comprises 13 double-decker AC chair-car coaches and two electric power cars. Each chair-car comprises 120 seats — 48 seats on the lower deck, 50 on upper deck, six near Door 1 and 16 near Door 2. Every coach has 10 emergency exit windows.

There will be 1,560 seats in — 67 per cent more than Shatabdi Express train presently connecting Ajmer with New Delhi. “Also, the comfort quotient of these coaches will be at least 1.5 times more than Shatabdi,” sources in North Western Railway said, adding that the train, which will replace Jaipur-Delhi special and will have better catering facility.

As per the time table announced in July 2011, it will depart daily from Jaipur at 6 am and reach Delhi Sarai Rohilla at 10.30 am. It will return from Delhi at 5.35 pm and reach Jaipur at 10.05pm and halts briefly at Delhi Cantonement and Gurgaon.

But it remains to be seen when the double-decker would make its first journey from Jaipur to Delhi.

“Several safety tests have to be performed. Only after getting clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety can the train become operational. It could take four days or a month,” an NWR official said.