Railways upgrading all passenger trains to 100% air-conditioned
14 September 2020
Indian Railways is redesigning all non-air-conditioned rail coaches, including 3-tier Sleeper Class and unreserved General Class coaches- be it sleeper class, general class or sitting coaches or 2S - as AC coaches, thereby making the entire range of passenger trains fully air-conditioned.
While this will allow the common man an upgraded experience without losing the low-coast travel option, the Railways will rebrand upgraded Sleeper Class coach as “economy” AC 3-tier Class, placing these between the current AC 3-tier Class and non-AC Sleeper Class.
Reports say the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala has started converting all non-AC coaches to AC coaches.
Reports citing Rail Coach Factory officials said, the conversion of a non-AC coach to AC coach will cost Railways 10 per cent more, even as it will make AC 3-tier Class affordable.
This will benefit both the passengers, and Indian Railways as with the conversion to the AC setup, sleeper coaches can have 83 berths, compared to 72 berths in the normal non-AC condition.
For unreserved General Coaches, there will 100 seats. The increase in the number of seats, Railways hopes to make services more profitable without compromising passenger comfort.
At the same time, travel experience for the passengers will improve, hence it’s a win-win situation.
Earlier, the UPA-1 government (2004-09) tried to roll out an economical AC 3 train by introducing the Garib Rath Express where a side-middle berth was added to increase capacity and profitability. However, passengers complained of discomfort and overcrowding, and those coaches were eventually discontinued.
Unlike in the earlier case when the Railways created new Economy Class AC coaches, adding a berth between side-upper and side-lower berths, in the present case of upgrading sleeper and general coach to AC coaches, space is being arranged by moving the electric units, and the space for storing bedsheets and blankets.
Hence, there will be no issue of space and discomfort.
In the first batch, around 230 non-AC coaches are being converted into AC coaches, at a cost of Rs2.8-3 crore per coach.