Economy AC 3-tier coach with 83 berths
The new AC coach, which is likely to replace Sleeper coaches in Mail/Express trains, has more comforts than the AC 3-tier coach! “We have tried to make up for the lesser space by providing personalised comfort features to passengers,” Ravinder Gupta, GM of RCF told TOI. “Some of the features match aircraft and luxury cars. All this has been done with only a marginal increase in manufacturing cost,” Gupta said.
More comfortable seats which are also fire-proof
The top 10 salient features of the new Economy AC coach are:
- 83 berths as against 72 in AC-3 tier
- Personalised AC vents for every berth
- Personalised reading lights for every berth
- Fire-proof berths with enhanced comfort
- Disabled-friendly entry/exit and one divyang-friendly toilet per coach
- Modified ladders for climbing middle and upper berths
- Personalised socket for charging mobiles and USB points
- Snack table with side berth as well
- Illuminated seat numbers
- 160 kmph speed potential keeping in mind future needs
Personalised AC vent for every berth
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is upgrading the Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonals with an aim to run trains at speeds of up to 160 kmph. According to railway officials, sleeper class coaches cannot take speeds greater than 110 kmph, hence there is need for Economy AC coaches that can replace sleeper-class coaches in Mail/Express trains. However, railways has clarified that sleeper coaches will continue to be used in trains running at 110 kmph. The fares for the Economy AC coaches are expected to be higher than sleeper class but lower than AC-3 tier tariff.
Manufactured on the LHB platform
The prototype coach will now be tested by the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), and depending on the feedback, changes will be incorporated in subsequent coaches. The Railway Board has given nod for manufacturing 100 Economy AC coaches in the ongoing financial year and 148 more in 2021-22.
Redesigned ladder to climb to middle and upper berths
The new coaches are also keeping in line with the demand growth for AC travel in the last few years. According to the National Rail Plan, data analysed from 2010-11 to 2017-18 for all passenger categories of Indian Railways shows that railway passengers have grown at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 2% per annum. The maximum growth has been witnessed in AC category out of which AC-3 tier passengers have increased at CAGR of 10.33%.