Soon, travelling in the AC 3-tier coach will become luxurious. Indian Railways has gone for a ‘major makeover’ of the AC 3-tier coach to make it more passenger friendly, according to The Indian Express report. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has time to time pitched for modernisation of India’s most favoured mode of transportation apart from focusing on its safety. The Narendra Modi government has taken a slew of initiatives to make train journeys more comfortable. The makeover of AC 3-tier coaches is one of them. Speaking to The Indian Express, M K Gupta, General Manager of the Modern Coach Factory workshop in Rae Bareli said, ““Ever since the AC 3-tier first rolled out in India, we have not been able to get rid of the footprint of the old design. Whatever little changes were made inside, the look and feel as well as the user experience remained more or less the same. Our mandate was to change all that and make from scratch,”.
Here are key takeaways:
1. It has been learned that the first coach is currently awaiting the railway ministry’s final nod. It is set to hit the tracks as the new all-AC-3-tier Humsafar Express to be unveiled later this month, according to The Indian Express report.
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2. According to the report, the new AC 3-tier coach will have USB charging ports and reading lights for all berths.
3. There will be ladders with comfortable footrests. Apart from this additional handles will be there for easier access to the top berth, the report says.
4. In a good news for travellers, the coaches will have separate urinals for men in the toilets. Foldable nappy-changing tables for babies will also be available.
5. A GPS-enabled screen has been installed in each coach to display the train’s location.
6. There are at least 10 major and minor design interventions — the AC 3-tier is the only passenger operation in which the Indian Railways makes a profit. As part of the new look, a beige-cream-grey colour scheme has replaced the old signature blue upholstery of the Railways, the report says.
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7. In the new coach, a thin, cushioned plank has been placed alongside the side-lower seats. After lowering the backrests, the passenger will have to slide the plank up to place it on top of the joined backrests for it to become a flat berth, Gupta said.
8. For every cabin of eight berths, there are two plug points and six USB ports, the report says.
9. To the readers’ delight, each berth has been provided a reading light.
10. In the toilets, the floor is made of a material which does not soil easily and the walls are graffiti resistant. Apart from this, the steel mug chained to a pipe has been replaced by a faucet.
The new coach has every possible modern facilities, like CCTV cameras near doors, smoke detector alarms and tea coffee vending machines. The manufacturing cost of each coach is Rs 2.7 crore, about Rs 20 lakh more than an ordinary AC 3-tier coach, Gupta told Indian Express.
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Meanwhile, it has been learned that the Railways will invite bids this month from top foreign and domestic vendors for a Rs 20,000 crore joint venture project to manufacture around 5,000 electric coaches that will have modern facilities and run faster than existing ones. The stainless steel AC and non AC coaches will be equipped with automatic doors, forced ventilation system, bio-toilets, and a regenerative braking system that saves power, besides boasting of better interior design, as per PTI report.
According to PTI report, known as Electric Multiple Unit and Mainline Electric Multiple Units, these coaches run without a traditional locomotive and are used generally on local routes. With the modern coaches, the Railways is looking to ensure that local and mainline train services become faster and more comfortable. In June last year, the Railways had started the process of sounding out potential bidders for the manufacturing around 500 such coaches over the next 10 years in a joint venture model at the proposed Kanchrapara rail factory in West Bengal.
Vendors like Bombardier (Canada), Siemens consortium (Germany), Alstom (France), CRRC Corporation consortium (China), Stadler (Switzerland), Medha consortium (India),and BHEL, an Indian PSU, have made the cut to qualify for the bidding process. The public transporter will have a 26 per cent stake in the joint venture project, the PTI story says. “We will issue the request for proposal this month for the Kanchrapara coach factory in Bengal,” a senior Railway Ministry official was quoted as saying by PTI.