Rlys stresses on comfort, fire safety in coach designs

Fire safety tops the list of priority of the railways’ research and design wing, officials have said. Thermoplastic interiors, stainless steel coaches, entertainment facilities and smoke detection systems will soon be in place in trains, said senior railway officials at a seminar in Chennai.

Addressing a seminar on emerging coach technology, general manager of Integral Coach Factory Abhay K Khanna said measures were being taken to make the entire railway operations and services “green” and safe.“We will soon start using biodegradable and recyclable materials to build coaches.The railway coach factories are already self-sufficient in their energy needs with 10.5 MW power generated from windmills in Tirunelveli district,”Khanna said.

V Ramachandran, the director of Research Design and Standards Organisation, said detection of inflammable materials still remains a challenge in coaches with doors and windows open. “Even an effective smoke detection system may not raise an alarm inside a fast moving train with all its windows and doors are opened. We are working out on an effective mechanism to address all the safety guidelines suggested by various studies,” said Ramachandran.

Forensic experts have found existence of inflammable materials and fire crackers in the ill-fated compartment of Tamil Nadu Express, which caught fire in July last killing more than 30 passengers. Railway is also eying at possible tie ups with international coach designers to build light-weight coaches that will serve long and needless maintenance.