From passenger amenities to safety, Indian Railways undergoing massive makeover
Indian Railways has been working not just to improve its image but also to better passenger amenities, speed and safety. From reading lights, improved access to upper berths, LED displays and bio-toilets, the public transporter is trying to shed its image of a bygone era. Here are some of the key steps taken by Indian Railways to upgrade its service quality:
1. New premium trains and coaches: A number of premium trains like Humsafar, Tejas, Antyodaya, UDAY, Mahamana, Gatimaan Express and coaches like Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti, have improved passenger amenities over the last four years. These trains have better passenger amenities like LED display, aesthetically designed ladders, more charging points, vinyl coated floors and reading lights.
2. Project Swarn: Railways has launched Project Swarn with an objective of improving passenger experience in premium train services. Under Project Swarn, 14 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains will be converted to a gold standard. Work in 12 Rajdhani and 14 Shatabdi trains has already been completed. The objective of Project Swarn is to significantly improve the passenger experience across 9 dimensions which include coach interiors, toilets, onboard cleanliness, staff behavior, catering, linen, punctuality, security and on-board entertainment.
3. Project Utkrisht: Railways has upgraded two rakes of Shan-e-Bhopal Express (Train No.12155/12156). "Upgradation of 140 rakes in divisions on lines of Shan-e-Bhopal Express has been taken up from 2018-19 onward under Project Utkrisht", said the Railways in a statement.
4. LHB coaches: Railways has decided to roll out Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB coaches), which are technologically superior and have better riding, aesthetics and safety features. It has also stopped production of old ICF design coaches from the year 2018-19 onwards.
5. Fire retardant material in coaches: To improve fire safety preparedness, Railways has equipped coaches with fire retardant furnishing materials. A parameter called Heat Release Rate has been added in the material specification of all major interior furnishing materials as per latest European norms, in order to improve fire safety in coaches.
6. Safety in newly manufactured coaches: All newly manufactured Power Cars and Pantry Cars now come equipped with fire detection and suppression system. Fire and smoke detection system and double acting doors have been provided in all newly manufactured Air-Conditioned (AC) coaches.
7. Safety in existing coaches: Steps have been taken to improve safety features in existing coaches also. Safety features like fire & smoke detection system, fire detection and suppression system and fire extinguishers in non-AC coaches and Double Acting doors in AC coaches will be provided on the identified class of coaches in a progressive manner.
Railways has also planned to get rid of its infamous 'largest open toilet' tag by fitting bio-toilets in all the train coaches. It is also working to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by March 2020.