Shift to AC-only trains, a cool option

Indian Railways recently announced that a new design of air-conditioned (AC) economy coach had been introduced in Prayagraj-Jaipur Express and within a year nearly 1,000 such coaches would be attached in many long-distance trains. While this new type of coach has 83 berths against 72 in a regular 3AC coach, the fare structure for this coach is 8 per cent lower than in the latter.

This development follows the rather equivocal announcement by the Railways last year that non-AC coaches would be replaced in mail/express trains, which would be made fully air-conditioned. The plan was not affirmed clearly and it was lost in the verbiage about developing a new AC economy coach, air-conditioning being a requirement for speeds above 130 km/hour and the need to provide all passengers a comfortable journey.

There was, however, a move towards AC-only coaches as the manufacturing units of the Railways were asked to boost manufacture of AC coaches while limiting manufacture of non-AC coaches to power/luggage vans and short-distance electrical multiple unit (EMU) type coaches and this policy continues.

Another significant announcement on trains was made by the Prime Minister on August 15, that 75 Vande Bharat Train 18s, the modern semi-high-speed train, would connect 75 cities of the country in 75 weeks.

The Hindu businessline
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