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Railways to spend Rs 15,000 crore on overhaul of coaches

Indian Railways produces 3,000 coaches every year, phases out 1,000 coaches

Shine Jacob  |  New Delhi 

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The Indian will invest Rs 15,000 crore in retrofitment of coaches over the six years starting the current financial year.

“It has been planned to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23. The approximate cost for refurbishing each coach will come to around Rs 30 lakh,” Union railway minister said on Tuesday.

He added that from April 2018 onwards the will stop producing the current (ICF) coaches and will focus on producing only (LHB) coaches designed by Alstom Germany.

Indian Railways, coaches
Source: Indian Railways
The move is to improve the safety of coaches and reduce the casualties in case of accidents. Out of the total 63,000 coaches that Indian have, about 53,000 are unsafe as they do not have the anti-climbing technology. “We are expecting an overall investment of about Rs 15,000 crore for retro-fitment of coaches. Out of the total 40,000 coaches, around 40 per cent will be done through private participation,” said Ravindra Gupta, member, Rolling Stock, Railway Board.

Currently, India has only 6,000 LHB coaches, which has the anti-collision technology, which is used in some and trains. The remaining 6,000 trains that are ICF,  have the anti-collision technology, as the implemented (CBC).

Coupling is a mechanism for connecting rolling stock in a train. “After retro-fitment, the new coaches will have couplers. The revamped coaches will have enhanced passenger safety mechanisms,” Gupta added.

The average life period of per coach is 30 years in India, and the board has decided to at least add (CBC) to these coaches during the mid-life rehabilitation period and also phase-out ICF coaches gradually. While the produce 3,000 coaches every year, it phases out 1,000 coaches every year.

“We have already invited bids from private players to revamp 2,500 coaches within railway premises. At least six companies have shown their interests in this.   
To improve safety, the are also planning to introduce ultrasonic fault detector to detect a fracture, revamping the training pattern of railway men and also converting railway safety directorate to an auditing body giving the onus of safety to the engineering department.

Recently, Niti Aayog had recommended setting up of a safety regulator in Meanwhile, the Safety Directorate of Railway Board, which currently looks into the safety aspects of the national carrier, will be converted into an auditing body and the onus of safety will now be in the Engineering department.