Linke Hofmann Busch design coaches in Indian Railways: To better the safety standards in rail travel, Indian Railways has decided to use Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) design coaches and stop production of the old ICF design coaches. As compared to Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches, the LHB design coaches are lighter in weight. Not only that, they also have higher carrying capacity as well as higher speed potential. Also, other than these features, the LHB design coaches have increased codal life and better safety features, says Indian Railways. LHB coaches also have anti-climbing features, so that in case of a collision, the coaches do not climb on top of each other.
Recently, Rajen Gohain, Minister of State of Railways in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha stated that considering the operating conditions on Indian Railways, the passenger coaches of the national transporter have been designed with the necessary safety features. However, the Railway Ministry informed that in order to provide safer and more comfortable journey to passengers, the Indian Railways has decided to replace conventional ICF design coaches of Mail or Express trains with LHB design coaches in a phased manner. Also, it was decided that from April 2018 onwards, only LHB coaches would be manufactured by production units of the national transporter.
As safety is the main priority, Indian Railways says it is taking all possible steps in order to prevent accidents and to enhance safety such as adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, interlocking systems and signaling, timely replacement of over-aged assets, safety drives, safety inspections, training of officials, educating staff for observance of safe practices etc.
Meanwhile, in Union Budget for 2017-18, Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley announced a fund called ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK). The fund has been created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore, which is to be utilized over a period of five years for replacement, renewal as well as for upgradation of critical safety assets. Also, in 2018-19, a provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been made out of RRSK to fund essential works for ensuring safety.