Indian Railways is on a revamping spree, especially when it comes to the introduction of new coaches with better amenities for passengers. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had in the Rail Budget this year announced many new types of trains, aimed at enhancing passenger comfort.
The latest addition to this plan is an all new AC-III tier coach, which will come equipped with coffee and tea machines, CCTVs and GPS-based passenger information system ! According to a report in the Indian Express, a new AC-III tier coach will be rolled out by the middle of November.
And that’s not all. The new features include :
– A GPS-based passenger information system above each door, a fire-and-smoke detector, and automatic room-freshener dispensers.
– An airline-like light bar with numbers indicating upper, lower and middle berths, which will replace the stencilled numbering on the walls.
– Gel coating in the toilet walls to make them “graffiti proof”.
– Curtains for side berths as well as in the aisles, which are currently available in higher classes only.
The new coaches will initially be deployed on the all-AC-III tier Humsafar service, which is tentatively scheduled to start operating between Delhi and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The Rail Coach Factory in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh has designed the service’s new coaches to be a part of four trains now — a set of coaches for a fifth train is in production and will be rolled out later.
In the fifth train, the small gap in the middle of the side lower berth — between the two lowered backrests — has been removed, which had challenged coach designers for decades.
A solution has been found by tucking a separate thin berth sideways between the wall and the side-lower seats. Its edge works as a handrest until the passenger pulls it up, lays it over the two seats to become a separate “gapless” berth.
The Humsafar Express will also have an optional service for meals. Prabhu, in his Rail Budget speech, had said, that Humsafar and Tejas trains will ensure cost recovery by way of tariff and non-tariff measures.
And in line with that, Indian Railways plans to keep the fares of Humsafar Express around 20% higher thatn that of normal Mail and Express services.