Indian Railways is all set to roll out 806 air-conditioned three-tier economy class coaches this year in a bid to offer the cheapest and the best AC travel in the world. Currently, 25 such coaches are in operation -10 in the Western Railway, 7 in North Central Railway, 5 in the North Western Railway, and 3 in Northern Railway.
All these new coaches will be economical and the fares will be between the current AC 3-tier and non-AC sleeper class travels. They will be rolled out simultaneously from railways’ 3 coach factories - Rail Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, and the Modern Coach Factory in Rai Bareilly.
The concept was worked upon because the government wanted to introduce affordable AC travel. As per the internal discussion of the railway board, the new class will be named 3E. The coaches were conceptualized by the RCF and the work on design started on war-footing in October 2020. The new coaches can carry more passengers as the number of berths have been increased from 72 to 83.
By 2021-22, the railway will have 806 AC 3-tier economy class coaches. All the coach factories will work simultaneously to manufacture these coaches. The Railways is getting future-ready and ensuring that all citizens get a much better travelling experience than ever before, a railway official said.
Some New Features
Several design improvements have also been made for enhancing passenger comfort like redesigning the AC ducting to provide individual vents for each berth. Each coach is provided with a wider and 1 disabled-friendly toilet entry door which is a new initiative. The coach also has improved and modular design of seats and berths, foldable snack tables in both longitudinal and transverse bays, injury-free spaces, and holders for water bottles, mobile phones, and magazines.
A new ergonomically improved design of ladder for accessing the middle and upper berths is also a new feature. There is an increased headroom in the middle and upper berths as well. The design has been improved for both Indian and Western style lavatories while public address and passenger information systems have been installed, the officials said.
There is also improved fire safety by ensuring compliance to the world benchmark of EN 45545-2 HL3 for materials, thus meeting the high requirements of the new fire protection standard. Currently, some of these coaches are being utilised in the New Delhi Duronto and the Jaipur Duronto in Western Railway, Dehradun-Prayagraj Express, Prayagraj-Jaipur Express in NCR. In North West Railway, some of the trains with such coaches include the Jaipur-Chennai Central Express, Jaipur-Coimbatore Express. The Lichchavi Express which runs between Anand Vihar and Sitamahri station too has such coaches in the Northern Railway zone.
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