The Railways on Tuesday announced it will upgrade 40,000 coaches under its Mission Retro-fitment in the next five years to enhance the passengers' travel experience, with better amenities and safety.
"Mission Retro-fitment is an ambitious programme to upgrade the level of furnishing and amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways," Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said after launching Mission Retro-fitment here.
"It is one of the largest Retro-fitment projects in the world, as 40,000 coaches of the Indian Railways will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years," he added.
Pointing out that Mission Retro-fitment was an endeavour to provide better travel experience, Prabhu said, "The interiors of the coaches would be refurbished and the retrofitment of Centre Buffer Coupler with balanced draft gear would add more to safety of the passengers."
The Centre Buffer Coupler's anti-climbing feature prevents damage to life and property during accidents. It also prevents un-coupling in the event of derailment or accident.
This will be installed in 35,000 old coaches and 15,000 new Integral Coach Factory (ICF) coaches. For Mission Retro-fitment, the railways has sanctioned a budget of Rs 15,000 crore and it has already stopped production of ICF coaches.
He also said currently over 80 per cent coaches in service are old.
"We have closed manufacturing of these coaches from April 1, 2017. The existing old coaches will be modified to improve total travel experience of the passengers," Prabhu added.
He also said this mission is challenging, "as it will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation".
Refurbishing one coach would cost about Rs 30 lakh while retro-fitting would cost Rs 28 lakh.
The coaches of Humsafar Express launched in January this year were the refurbished coaches with new interiors and better amenities.
According to Ministry of Railways officials, railways plans to roll out the first lot of 1,000 modernised coaches in 2017-18, which would be increased to 3,000 in 2018-19.
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