Indian Railways is addressing the biggest complaint that passengers have with its trains - toilets! The national transporter has often faced criticism for stinking toilets, especially in long-distance journey trains. Financial Express Online learns that over the next 2-3 years, as many as 50,000 coaches of Indian Railways will have better toilets.
Indian Railways is addressing the biggest complaint that passengers have with its trains – toilets! The national transporter has often faced criticism for stinking toilets, especially in long-distance journey trains. While part of the blame lies in the way people use toilets, the ageing coaches of trains definitely need better amenities. Financial Express Online learns that over the next 2-3 years, as many as 50,000 coaches of Indian Railways will have better toilets. For one, Indian Railways plans to install bio-toilets in all its trains by the end of March 2019. This move is aimed at keeping tracks defecation free and is an environment-friendly step. As part of Project Utkrisht, Operation Swarn and other initiatives of Indian Railways, toilets in almost the entire fleet of passenger coaches will get a facelift. We take a look at the top 5 ways in which Indian Railways will address the problem of stinking toilets:
1. Aircraft-like toilets: One noteworthy step towards modular stink-free toilets would be the installation of bio-vacuum toilets in 500 LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches. A railway ministry official told FE Online that contrary to the perception that Indian Railways is rethinking its decision to install bio-toilets, it is only the the top part of the toilet system which is being replaced. “There are two parts to a toilet system, the squatting pan and then the storage tank. The storage tank is the bio-digester, which will continue to be fitted on trains. It is only the squatting pan which will be changed to a vacuum-based flushing system,” the official said. Toilets on Indian Railways trains are often choked because people dump garbage and plastic into them, he added.
According to Indian Railways, it was noticed that despite a lot of water being used, efficient flushing does not happen in train toilets. To bring in greater efficiency, LHB coaches will now be fitted with air-pressure assisted bio-toilets. For now Indian Railways will fit bio-vacuum toilets in 500 LHB coaches. The vacuum system of flushing will be similar to the one used in aircraft. The system uses almost 1/4th the water and is more efficient. The bio-vacuum toilets will be fitted in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Mail/Express trains. Trains from Eastern, Northern and Western Railway have already been identified for the same. ICF design coaches will get a 2-stage flushing system.
2. Better ventilation in toilets: In the case of ICF-design coaches, Indian Railways plans to put venturi-type ventilation system on the floor. This would involve installing two pipes – one for inflow of air and the other for outflow – hence ensuring better ventilation. Also, toilets will have ventilation outlets fixed at the bottom of the toilet door. Indian Railways will also install exhaust fans on the side wall of the toilets.
For LHB coaches, ventilation outlets will be fixed at the bottom of the toilet door and the capacity of the exhaust fan will be increased. Additionally, toilet windows will be fixed to allow for better air flow. AC coaches will also get odour control systems.
3. Modular FRP toilets: According to the official FE Online spoke to, 6,000 ICF-design coaches that are yet to go for a mid-life refit will get modular FRP toilets, similar to those in LHB coaches.
4. Toilet choking: Indian Railways is also looking to address issues of toilet choking on a priority basis with the help of on-board housekeeping staff. Increasingly, toilets will be cleaned every two hours in trains.
5. Under Project Utkrisht, which aims to upgrade as many as 140 rakes of ICF-design Mail/Express trains by March 2019, the PVC flooring will be replaced in toilets with epoxy flooring. The step is aimed at preventing formation of water puddles. Apart from these 140 rakes, the proposal for upgrading 500 more ICF-design rakes under Project Utkrisht is already under works.