With coach manufacturing picking up across its factories, Indian Railways has manufactured more LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches in the last two years than it did in the first 17 years since their introduction.
Indian Railways creates a production record! With coach manufacturing picking up across its factories, Indian Railways has manufactured more LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches in the last two years than it did in the first 17 years since their introduction. According to Indian Railways between 2017-2018 and till December 2018, over 5500 LHB coaches were manufactured. From 2001 onwards to end of March 2016, 4020 LHB coaches were made. In 2016-2017, as many as 1470 LHB coaches were manufactured by the various coach factories. Hence, in a record, the production numbers in the last two years have exceeded that in the first 17 years!
Rajesh Agrawal, Member Rolling Stock, Railway Board is of the view that this paradigm shift happened because of a watershed moment in 2016 when the historic decision to change work scope of two Railway Board members was taken. While Member Mechanical was redesignated to Member Rolling Stock, Member Electrical was redesignated as Member Traction. The redistribution of work streamlined the process of manufacturing coaches, with both departments not required to coordinate on every other detail that goes into the making of rolling stock.
LHB coaches were first introduced on the Indian Railways network in 2000 and the first indigenous coach was put into service in 2003. LHB coaches, based on German technology, offer better riding comfort and more importantly are safer. LHB coaches boast of anti-climbing features, making them safer in case of an accident. The anti-climbing feature helps avoid a pile-up of coaches on top of each other in case of an accident, hence reducing the chances of a higher number of casualties and injuries.
In 2017, ICF Chennai manufactured the first 100% ‘Make in India’ LHB coach. LHB coaches are fast replacing the old ICF-design coaches in Indian Railways trains and the production of ICF-design coaches has been completely stopped now. Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways hopes to replace all old ICF-design coaches with LHB ones in the coming years.