The Railways has undertaken a massive exercise of refurbishing 40,000 coaches with upgraded facilities and enhanced safety features at an estimated cost of about Rs 15,000 crore.
Existing coaches will be retrofitted with refurbished interiors, improved seating arrangement and newly-designed bio-toilets among other modern facilities.
The refurbishment would cost about Rs 30 lakh per coach.
Besides, the state-run transporter will strengthen safety features in all existing conventional coaches equipping them with strong couplers to prevent capsizing during accidents.
The LHB coaches are already equipped with strong couple system while conventional coaches do not have it.
The Railways would involve private players for the massive job of retrofitment of 40,000 coaches, slated to be completed over the next five years.
"It is a challenging task as nowhere else has any railway undertaken work on such a scale," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here today after launching the retrofitting programme.
While 15,000 new coaches will be manufactured with improved interiors during this period, about 25,000 coaches will be retrofitted with upgraded amenities and improved interiors.
While some coaches will undergo retrofitment at railway workshops, private players will also be roped in for the job through bidding process.
Prabhu said a decision has been taken to stop manufacture of conventional coaches from April 1, 2018.
The Railways is also focusing on the safety front by equipping all conventional coaches with centre buffler couplers (CBC), a strong coupler system which prevents coaches from capsizing.
While LHB coaches manufactured at Kapurthala and Raebareli factories are equipped with centre buffler couplers, the conventional coaches manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai do not have this system.
Now it has been decided to equip all conventional coaches with CBC which enhances safety by providing anti-climbing features. It would cost about Rs 28 lakh to equip CBC in a coach.