Railway workshop to repair LHB coaches

The Carriage Repair Workshop (CRW) of East Coast Railway at Mancheswar is set to take up maintenance and repair needs of important long distance trains which are fast switching to the Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches.

This year only, the workshop achieved the capability to maintain LHB coaches which are modern, fire-retardant in nature, do not capsize during mishaps and have a longer shelf life. It was in May that one rake of Rajdhani Express was maintained by the workshop for the fist time.

In next few months, the entire rakes of Rajdhani and Duronto trains are targeted to be maintained at Mancheswar and need not be sent to far-off workshops. This will help better availability of coaches and problems can be better monitored too, Chief Workshop Manager of CRW SK Pankaj told mediapersons here on Wednesday.

He said ` 38 crore had been sanctioned by Railway Board to accommodate special facilities for maintenance of LHB coaches at the CRW and it has taken rapid strides. Indian Railways is fast switching over to LHB design steel shell and integral coach factory (ICF) bogie with air spring.

Earlier, these coaches were being repaired in West Bengal, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Now complete overhauling of bogies, air brake system and roof mounted air-conditioning system including poly-urethane paintings, interior and renewal of berths of LHB coaches have been achieved and sent for passenger carrying.

Pankaj said the workshop is also targeting to achieve a capacity augmentation from the 100 periodic overhauls (POH) of coaches per month to 150 POH per month by next year.

The capacity augmentation, sanctioned by Railway Board in 2008-09 at an estimated ` 25 crore, would enable the workshop to repair upto 150 coaches per month. The workshop achieved a record of highest ever outturn of 134 coaches in April 2013.

The Mancheswar workshop under ECoR would celebrate three decades of its operation in December this year. The first off POH coach was turned out on December 31, 1983. For capacity expansion, procurement of machinery and civil construction work is under advance stage. The CRW is spread over 314 acres of land with its workshop occupying 121 acres.

The workshop had started POH of hybrid coaches in February 2012 with Duronto Express. It is also developing infrastructure for supply of wagons and locomotive wheels to divisions.

Pankaj said a work order has already been sanctioned at the cost of Rs 57.7 lakh to develop facility for freight wheels.


Infrastructure at rail workshop in Mysore being ramped up

The infrastructure at the Central Railway Workshop in Mysore city is being ramped up for undertaking the periodic overhauling and maintenance of Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches that constitute the rakes of the Shatabdi and the Rajdhani trains.

This is part of the capacity building of the railway workshops across the country as the Indian Railways plans to substitute the conventional Integral Coach Factory-designed coaches with the German technology-based LHB coaches for most Indian trains in the long run.

“The Mysore workshop has been upgraded to handle the LHB coaches and 29 such coaches have been overhauled here since October 2012. The workshop’s installed capacity at present is to take up maintenance of eight LHB coaches a month or 96 coaches a year. This is in addition to the periodic overhauling and maintenance of 70 ICF-designed coaches a month, of which 10 will be AC coaches. The workshop also takes up intermediate overhauling of 40 coaches a month,” Mr. U. Subba Rao, chief workshop manager, said.

Though the LHB coaches are expensive (One LHB coach costs about Rs. 1.8 crore while an for an ICF coach costs Rs. 65 lakh), they are found to be more efficient and capable of higher speeds ranging from 160 kmph to 200 kmph and reckoned to be safer while providing greater ride comfort.

The LHB coaches at present are air-conditioned, the Railways has designed non-AC LHB coaches as well and they will supplant the conventional ICF coaches in future, according to Mr. Subba Rao.

V. Suresh, senior section engineer, Bogie Repair Shop, said there were nearly 100 LHB coaches operating out of the Bangalore Railway Division but as Bangalore does not have a railway workshop, infrastructure had been put in place at the Central Workshop at Ashokapuram here for coach maintenance.

“The load will be shared between the Mysore and the Hubli workshops, and we have presented a proposal for capacity upgrading,” Mr. Rao added.


The staff here have designed a hydraulic press, reckoned to be the most important machinery for coach maintenance. While a few testing equipment have been procured, there are other requirements such as a surface traverser for shifting coaches, which costs around Rs. 3.5 crore, he said. A proposal has been submitted for the construction of a new building at a cost of Rs. 5 crore.

Conventional ICF coaches require periodic overhauling once every 18 months against once in 72 months for LHB coaches. The workshop staff have been sent for training at Lower Parel in Mumbai and at the Jagadhri workshop in Haryana where they have been working on LHB coaches for almost 10 years, according to Mr. Rao.

The Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala, Punjab, manufactured 460 LHB coaches last year and the ICF at Perambur, Tamil Nadu, was scaling up the LHB production. The new factory established at Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, was exclusively meant for the production of LHB coaches, Mr. Rao added.


Doubledecker coaches to have fire safety system

The Railways has decided to equip all new doubledecker coaches with automatic smoke detector systems to prevent any fire incident.

The proposed Chennai—Bangalore and Habibgunj—Indore doubledecker trains will be operational with full—fledged fire alarm systems, a senior railway ministry official involved with the safety measure said.

However, Delhi—Jaipur and Howrah—Dhanbad doubledecker trains, which are already operational, as well as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, would be equipped with the system in due course as per the fire safety measures initiated by Railways, he said.

Research Designs and Standard Organisation has finalised the specification for the system and tendering process is on for awarding the contract, the minister said.

Once the vendor is selected for the job, all the LHB and doubledecker coaches will be fitted with the fire alarm system at the manufacturing level, while retrofitting procedures will be adopted for the already manufactured LHB coaches, he said.

Fire alarm systems, vital for protection of lives and assets, is very complicated in trains due to the electrical environment, vibrations, and variation in temperature and humidity, which can interfere with the system’s functioning, he said, adding, the system has been developed after several trials in the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express.

Describing its functioning, he said there are three layers of warning in the smoke detection system.

In the first stage, when some smoke is detected, an alert will be sent to a console, which would be manned by a guard. .

“The guard will alert the coach attendant accordingly after seeing the warning on the console,” he said.

If more smoke starts coming out from the same coach, a strobe light would be flashed simultaneously outside that coach and on the console manned by the guard, he said.

Finally, automatic brakes will be applied to stop the train, followed by a hooter sound, if the system detects considerable amount of smoke or fire in the coach, he said.

The LHB coaches have fire retardant quality. “The materials used for flooring, seating arrangement, curtains and vestibules in the LHB coaches are all fire retardant,” he said.PTI


Railways to double up production of new age LHB coaches

Railways have decided to double the production of new age LHB coaches keeping in mind their enhanced safety features, which have come in for praise from a high-level safety panel.

The production will be scaled up from about 400 Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches to 800 coaches, utilising them for running not only for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains but also for running mail and express trains.


Published in: on March 3, 2012 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Production of LHB coaches to be increased

Indian Railways plans to progressively increase the manufacture of new LHB (Linke Hofmann Bush) design coaches, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

A complete switchover to new manufacture of only LHB design coaches, the technology for which was acquired through a Transfer of Technology (TOT) agreement with M/s ALSTOM, Germany, is envisaged by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa said in a written reply.

The existing conventional Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches would, however, still remain in service. These coaches have some superior features as compared to the conventional ICF design coach — like having a longer service life, enhanced safety standards, particularly crash worthiness, high carrying capacity of about 10-12 per cent, high speed potential, superior riding comfort, aesthetic interiors and lower maintenance – no corrosion owing to stainless steel body.

He said the average differential in the cost of manufacture of LHB design coach and the corresponding Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coach is at present approximately Rs 75 lakh to Rs one crore, but this is expected to reduce significantly with volume production of LHB coaches.

Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala is already a Coach Production Unit of international standards. Projects have also been sanctioned to further upgrade the facilities at Rail Coach Factory there and at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, to increase production of LHB design coaches, the Minister informed.


Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.


Get ready for more luxurious and safe journey by Rajdhani Express

The journey from Bilaspur to New Delhi by Rajdhani Express will soon become more safe and luxurious as the Indian Railways is planning to introduce super air-conditioned coaches.

The technically advanced rail coach is to be introduced in all the important Rajdhanis, including Bilaspur- New Delhi Rajdhani Express in the first phase.

“Preparations have been going for the introduction of these hi-tech coaches from a long time now. The decision regarding this will be taken at the Railway Board level and then it will be sent to the higher authorities for final approval,” Santosh Kumar, senior spokesperson, Railways, told Bhaskar News.

These modern coaches will be manufactured in the Rai Bareilly coach factory. Atleast 25 such rail compartments will be manufactured by the end of this year. Every year 60 super luxury coaches will be produced from this factory.

At present, the 3-tier AC coaches of Rajdhani Express have 72 berths and 2-tier bogies have 64 berths. The new super luxury AC coaches will have 55 berths.

However, Railway officials declined to comment on when these new coaches will be introduced but they said that the bogies will be seen in the Rajdhani Express in the first phase itself.

Rajdhani Express to get advance LHB coaches

The new super luxury rail coaches will be built using Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) technology.

These coaches, which will be built using the German technology, will be made of stainless steel. They will have more inbuilt safety and luxury features. They can absorb shock and impact of derailment more effectively, a feature which reduces the loss of live and property in case of accident. Such coaches are already being used in some of the top trains in the country like the Palace on Wheels.


Rlys plans to switch to German coaches by ’16

The railways plans to switch over from indigenous ICF coaches to German technology based Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) ones in all mail and express trains within the next five years.The LHB coaches, which have fire-retardant quality and advanced couplers, are designed to minimize fire accidents. The move is aimed at infusing more safety measures in train operations, with railways expected to enhance production capacity of its coach factories to 2,000 LHB coaches in 2014-15 and another 4,000 in 2016-17.

The modern coaches that are made of stainless steel have more in-built safety features, and can absorb shock and impact of derailment more effectively. A senior rail official said, “The sturdy and robust design obviates capsizing of coaches in case of accidents. This helps to minimize damage and reduce the loss of lives.” The casualties in the recent Kalka derailment could have been much less if the train was running on LHB coaches, he said. The state-transporter is planning to introduce LHB coaches in mail and express trains in a phase manner by 2016-17 as they are equipped with fire-retardant material and advanced couplers.

Unlike indigenous ICF coaches, which are prone to capsize or climb on each other during a collision, the LHB bogies don’t get toppled. Apart from restricting the speed limit to 105 kmph on mail line and 110 kmph on Rajdhani tracks, ICF coaches raise safety concerns due to a large number of hanging under-gear parts. Though a traditional coach costs Rs 1.5 crore each against a LHB one that comes for Rs 2.5 crore-Rs 3 crore. The modern coaches are more comfortable, have a higher life-span of 35 years against ICF’s 25 years, and also have a 12%-15% higher passenger capacity that can raise revenue.


Published in: on July 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways starts ushering in Rajdhani-type coaches

The Indian Railways is all set to run a rake comprising newly manufactured low-cost stainless steel coaches on the Amritsar-Jaynagar route. The Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala has rolled out 28 such coaches which will now be used for the Shaheed Express.

These coaches are not only similar in appearance to the LHB coaches used in the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, they also have superior aesthetics, better ride quality and low maintenance costs. The move is aimed at heralding the era of stainless steel coaches for all mail/express trains. Till now, only the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains had stainless steel coaches.

This 28-coach rake has six variants including a unique composite coach having a mix of AC 2 and AC 3 seating.

To bring down costs, the RCF has replaced the Fiat bogies used with LHB coaches with indigenously manufactured bogies. “Earlier, following the transfer of technology from LHB, Germany, we used LHB shells with a Fiat bogey for AC coaches. That coach used to cost around Rs 2 crore. Now, we have used LHB-like stainless steel shells along with a modified ICF-type bogey. That has brought down the cost by 40 per cent,” an RCF official explained.

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railway to manufacture fire proof coaches

PATNA: In the wake of growing fire incidents and huge loss to railway property every year, the railways have decided to manufacture fireproof coaches from safety point of view. The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at Kapurthala in Punjab is manufacturing new fireproof coaches which are likely to replace all outdated and general coaches in future.

According to sources, the RCF has of late designed new fireproof coaches to cater to the needs of the railways across the country. The railways have started manufacturing fireproof AC and sleeper coaches based on the technology and design of LHB German coaches. While each AC coach would now cost about Rs 60 lakh, sleeper coach would cost about Rs 40 lakh each. However, the railways are incurring an expenditure of about Rs 1 crore for manufacturing each special AC coach. There has been a marginal escalation in the production cost of these coaches, sources said.

Under the new design approved by the railways, the curtain and other fittings inside the AC coaches will be fire resistant. In the event of any fire incident, emission of smoke would be less obnoxious. Superfine stainless steel materials are being used to manufacture these fireproof coaches, a Railway Board official said.

A board official admitted that the railways have taken a policy decision to replace the existing ICF Swiss coaches with LHB German coaches to enhance safety measures on running trains. At present, the ECR has the holding capacity of more than 2,500 coaches, including AC and sleeper ones. They need immediate replacement to maintain foolproof safety to railway property and passengers, he said.

With the introduction of LHB coaches mostly in Rajdhani Express trains, the railways have initiated steps to further improve safety measures on running trains, particularly in the long distance trains. The newly-designed coaches are light in weight and have the running speed limit up to 130 kmph to 140 kmph on the existing track condition, sources said.

The railways have already adopted modernisation process to ensure safety to passengers during their journey. That apart, the new fireproof coaches have the riding comforts as well. A team of technical experts of the railways have been keeping a tab on the quality of new coach production, the Railway Board official added.


Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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