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.

Anubhuti rail coaches may roll out from Rae Bareli

The new Anubhuti coaches may be rolled out from the rail coach factory in Rae Bareli, the constituency of the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

This is a proposal under the consideration of the Railway Ministry.

Another option is to have such coaches manufactured at each of the coach factories, including Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala and Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai.


The new proposed coaches of the Indian Railways with better interiors — termed as Anubhuti or experience — may be priced about 40 per cent higher than the AC chair car.

These coaches will have about 50 seats in one coach as against 56 in the executive class coaches.

Improved facilities

“They would have much better interiors, more space for a person, improved lighting, upgraded toilets, automatic opening and closing of internal doors, roller blinds as curtains, LCD video screen, amongst others,” Keshav Chandra, Member-Mechanical, Railway Board, said recently.

Shatabdi trains

The plan is to place one Anubhuti coach in each of the Shatabdi trains that ply on a range of about 400 km, with a travel time of four-six hours.

The Executive Chair Car coaches cost about Rs 2.5 crore. These coaches will cost another Rs 30-40 lakh extra.


Coach interiors of Anubhuti would be on the lines of mocks designed by West Central Railway Coach Rehab Workshop, Bhopal, for other coaches.

The mock-ups of improved chair car, AC 2 tier, and AC 3-tier coaches were at the coach care centre near New Delhi Railway Station. Two Vadodara-based vendors — Kemrock Industries and Exports and Hindustan Fibre Glass Works — have supplied raw material for the new coaches.

Mock models of Anubhuti coaches have not been designed yet, said Railway officials.

RCF to fit 2,500 coaches with bio-digestive toilets

Indian Railways have set a huge target of fitting 2,500 coaches with bio-digestive toilets this financial year. Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, has already received the order to fit around 1200 bio-digestive toilets in 500 coaches.

The authorities hope to bring about a dramatic change in the hygienic conditions of the trains as well as the trains stations. The RCF has already rolled out a few dozens coaches with bio-digestive toilets. A total of about 8,000 bio-digestive toilets will be fitted in the 2,500 coaches, added railway sources. “The number of coaches with bio-digestive toilets was less then 100 in 2011,” said Railway board sources.

Senior RCF officer and secretary to RCF General Manager (GM) Rajneesh Bansal said, “Out of the 8,000 toilets to be fitted this year, RCF alone will be installing 1,200 such toilets.”

“Around 50 coaches were fitted with these toilets for testing purposes,” said a senior railways officer. The testing has now concluded and coaches will now be produced with the bio-digestive toilets.

The new system will not only avoid manual scavenging of human excrete from rail tracks but will be far more hygienic as all human waste will be converted into harmless gas and water.

“Unlike traditional toilets, which used to throw the human waste on tracks, the new system will treat the waste inside a tank of bacteria which will convert it into harmless gas and water,” informed Bansal adding that different types of non-pathogenic bacteria strains are injected in the tanks which digest human waste.

It may be noted that Delhi High Court has said that manual scavenging and indifferent approach of people towards cleanliness on Indian trains is a “crime against humanity” and the court had asked the Railway authorities to launch a massive campaign to educate the masses about cleanliness on trains.

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Coming soon: Trains of steel, speed

Trains in the country will sport new interiors, have more passenger comfort, will be faster and will be easier to maintain as the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai gears up to make stainless steel coaches using German technology in a new plant being set up in Perambur.

This is part of a long-term plan to phase out existing coaches that are made using 55-year-old designs and replace them with variants of German Linke Hofmann Busche (LHB) coaches that can run up to 200 kmph.

The railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 249.58 crore to ICF for the purpose. “Preliminary works to establish a new plant near one of our units has started. The new plant will be attached to the existing factory,” said ICF chief mechanical engineer Hemant Kumar.

Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops and Rites has invited tenders to identify contractors to build machine units, buildings and other facilities that are required to make the coaches.

“When production of stainless steel coaches starts, the capacity of ICF will increase to 1,700 coaches per year,” he said. The factory now produces nearly 1,400 coaches.

It looks like the conventional coaches made using ICF’s design may be on their way out even though they are cheaper than LHB coaches. Railways wants to go for the expensive LHB coaches because they are superior to the conventional coaches designed by ICF.

Railways imported 20 coaches from Germany in 2000 and started manufacturing LHB coaches at the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, after transfer of technology, from 2001. These coaches are used in Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and a few Duronto trains.

As these coaches received good feedback and railways want to run faster trains, the ministry gave the green signal to manufacture more LHB coaches and sanctioned `130.24 crore to RCF and sanctioned a new plant at ICF in the 2011 Railway budget. A new coach factory planned at Rae Bareli will also make stainless steel coaches.

Railways plans 4,000 German coaches on track

Come 2016, Indian Railways will roll out coaches using German technology. Four coach factories will replace the indigenously-designed carriages with 4,000 Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches.

However, the Indian Railways is not planning to make a complete shift to LHBs on rail tracks, but the Integrated Coach Factory (ICF)-designed old coaches will be phased out once they outlive their life span.

Conventional coaches run for 25 years and are prices at Rs 1.5 crore, while LHB AC coaches cost between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 3 crore, serve about a decade more.

According to K K Saxena, general manager, Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, a complete phase-out of conventional coaches and proliferation of LHB coaches would be possible by 2040, if there was no policy change by the government.

“The complete switchover from conventional coaches to LHBs is possible when RCF starts rolling out non-AC LHB coaches on a large scale.”

RCF produces “end-on-generation” air-conditioned LHB coaches. It is also expected to develop a second variant of the power car for non-AC coaches within the next five to six months, which will have commercially useful space on the top. At the bottom, there will be underslung power generation sets of lower capacity suitable for them.

Increase in carrying capacity and life cycle of LHB coaches is expected to bring down transportation cost for every kilometre by about 12 -15 per cent, even though production costs of LHB is higher.

RCF has invested Rs 114 crore since 2007 for the transition. Another Rs 130 crore has been sanctioned for phase II of the project, which will be invested over a period of 2-3 years, said Saxena.

To start with, trains with more than 20 coaches will use LHBs, then it will be extended to mail/express trains apart from Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto. LHB coaches manufactured in RCF in Kapurthala are mostly used in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains while other mail and express trains are equipped with conventional coaches built at the ICF in Chennai.

Increase in carrying capacity and life cycle of LHB coaches is expected to bring down transportation cost for every kilometre by about 12 -15 per cent, even though production costs of LHB is higher. With the optimisation of line capacity, the speed potential can also go up to 200 kilometres an hour from 110 kmph now.

“Apart from the economic benefit, LHB coaches offer better safety and do not turn turtle in case of a head-on collision,” said a railway ministry official.

A senior ICF official said they have invested Rs 300 crore for 250 coaches since 2009-end. The planned rollout of LHB coaches from RCF in 2011-2012 at 450 has increased almost 77 per cent from the actual production of 257 between 2001 to 2006.

The annual production capacity projection for LHB coaches in 2011-2012 from the three factories, including the upcoming one in Raebareli will be 506 but is expected to go up eight-fold in 2016-2017. By then, the Palghat factory is also expected to join the three production units in manufacturing LHB coaches.

The Railways acquired the passenger coach manufacturing technology through two separate agreements with Alstom LHB in 1995, one for supply of 24 EOG coaches and the other for transfer of technology to produce the coaches at Indian rail coach facilities. The 24 EOGs were imported at Rs 131.37 crore.

Double-decker AC trains from Howrah

Eastern Railway (ER) is likely to run a fully air-conditioned double-decker rake between Howrah and Dhanbad soon.

The first fully AC double-decker rake rolled out of the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, on Sunday and was expected to reach Howrah in the next few days.

“A single double-decker coach has reached Kolkata station. However, this will not be used by us. The train that we propose to use will have a different colour scheme. We have still not fixed a date when the train will start running. It may be flagged off in the next few days,” a senior ER official said.

The rake has 10 coaches (including two power cars). The stainless steel coaches have been designed to cater to high-density corridors where the railways is planning to introduce affordable AC travel.

The coaches can run at a top speed of 160 km per hour. Their carrying capacity is 128 passengers (conventional coaches carry 78). RCF, in association with Research Designs and Standards Organisation, Lucknow, finalised the design of these coaches and rolled out the first prototype within nine months on March 31, 2010.

“There is no need to make any major alteration in overhead equipment or permanent structures. The double-decker coaches are only 116 mm higher than conventional coaches. The coaches have features like aesthetically pleasing stainless-steel bodies, air-spring suspensions and a number of safety-related features. The chairs have been provided in a face-to-face format to ensure that passengers travelling in groups can enjoy the ride. The upholstery is fire-retardant,” the official said.

Once the rake becomes popular between Howrah and Dhanbad, the railways will run more such trains along short distances. They can’t be run beyond a 500-km stretch as there are no sleeper facilities on board.

The fare structure will also be reviewed. It is possible that AC trips between Howrah and Dhanbad will get cheaper once the rake becomes operational.

Many years ago, ER used to attach non-AC double-decker coaches to the Howrah-Dhanbad Black Diamond Express. This practice was discontinued after passengers who got seats in the upper decks complained of discomfort. Officials believe that there will be no such problems with the AC coaches.

RCF gets Golden Peacock Environment Management Award

In its pursuit to achieve excellence in Environment Management, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala bagged the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award – 2009 consecutively for 2nd year, which was received by Shri. Pradeep Kumar, General Manager, RCF from Dr. Madhav Mehra, President, World Council for Corporate Governance, U.K. in the “Global Convention of Climate Security” held at Palampur (Himachal Pradesh) from 12th June 2009 to 14th June 2009. This convention was organized by the World Environment Foundation. The award jury was chaired by Justice P.N.Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and Member, UN Human Rights Commission.

About 1000 organizations including big corporate houses of the country filed their nominations for Golden Peacock Awards. A paper was presented by RCF on the environmental measures being taken to save the natural resources and conservation of energy to make RCF Residential complex as a model township.

To conserve energy, 7000nos.of 40 watts tube lights have been replaced with 28 Watts energy saving fittings while 6000 nos. of 40/60/100 Watts lamps have been replaced with 5/11 Watt CFLs. The AC units of Air-conditioned coaches will now be provided with the latest R-407 refrigerants (Chloro-Floro Carbon free) for their environment friendliness. Solar energy is also being harnessed for certain applications. Besides this, manual timers have been replaced with Astro based digital timers for automatic switching ON and OFF of street lights depending upon sunset and sun rise timings. To recharge ground water, RCF has constructed 20 nos of bore wells and connected it with storm drainage system. Effluent treatment plant is being used for treating 7500 KL of water per day, a part of which is recycled for use in non-drinking and non-bathing activities like watering of lawns and grounds.

Measures have also been taken to improve the design of RCF built coaches to make them environmental friendly by using Control Discharge toilets system to eliminate filth from the station area as this system operates when the train picks up a speed of 30 kmph. Further to achieve Zero discharge of toilet waste, eco–friendly biological toilets have been put on trials. To eliminate the environmentally hazardous painting process, paintless coaches have been developed, requiring no painting for next 25 years.

It is needless to mention that RCF is already ISO 9001-2000 certified and it was the first organization in the country to obtain ISO -14001 certification for both workshop and township. On this occasion, Shri Pradeep Kumar, General Manager, congratulated RCF officials for their contribution in achieving eco-friendly environment and said that this award bestows upon us even higher responsibility and commitment towards developing more and more eco-friendly products besides environment management in the plant and its township