"Swarna Shatabdi is going to be the first train in Indian Railways to have vacuum toilets and 80 such new toilets will be fitted in the train as part of a green initiative undertaken by Railways," a senior Railway Ministry official, involved with the green toilet project, said.
Besides, Railways has also decided to replace existing toilets in Palace on Wheels, the New Delhi-Rajasthan luxury tourist train, with vacuum toilets for better sanitation and hygiene.
The introduction of vacuum toilets in Swarna Shatabdi is being undertaken on a pilot basis, the official said.
Railways have floated global tenders for installing vacuum toilets in the Shatabdi at a cost of Rs 25 crore, and five multinational companies, including two from Germany, one from the USA and one from China, have evinced interest in manufacturing and installing the system, he said.
Railways has got approval from civic authorities en route Swarna Shatabdi to make the vacuum toilet system operational, as it entails construction of safety tanks and sewerage link for disposal of waste.
The coaches will be fitted with vacuum toilets at the Kapurthala coach factory.
It has been decided that all luxury trains would be equipped with green toilets. "The exercise has begun for Palace on Wheels to equip the train with vacuum toilets," the official said.
The cost of retrofitment of vacuum toilets on luxury coaches in Palace on Wheels will be borne by the Rajasthan government, he said.
Environment-friendly vacuum-based toilets consume less quantity of water and flush the toilet very effectively in the shortest possible time.
Vacuum toilets also prevent corrosion of rail tracks as they stop waste discharge on tracks.
Currently, premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi are equipped with controlled discharge toilet system which prevent disposal of waste at stations. "Waste is automatically discharged after trains get minimum speed of 30 km per hour," the official said.
Apart from vacuum toilets, Railways is also going ahead with bio-toilets, based on a technology by Defence Research Development Organisation, in mail and express trains.