Bogie boost for Rajdhani & Shatabdi

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  • Published 14.05.12

Super safe at 180kmph, invulnerable to derailment and hi-tech air-conditioning for optimum comfort during summer and winter. The ultimate coach of reliability will soon be on track for Ranchi.

The South Eastern Railway (SER) authorities have received a go-ahead from the Railway Board to replace the 20-year-old conventional coaches of two elite trains with Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches, developed by a German firm of the same name, and now also manufactured at Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala, Punjab.

Divisional railway manager (DRM), Ranchi, Gajanan Mallya said the new RCF-manufactured LHB coaches will benefit 2,500-odd passengers of Ranchi-Delhi Rajdhani Express and Ranchi-Howrah Shatabdi Express.

Mallya said the division had sought sanction for LHB coaches — each worth up to Rs 2 crore and the two elite trains have 22 bogies each — last year. “We have now been promised coaches for both Rajdhani and Shatabdi. The two trains will boast the new and safer bogies before the end of this financial year,” he added.

The LHB coaches are designed for an operating speed of up to 160kmph and tested up to 180kmph. They are 23.54 metres long and 3.24 metres wide, resulting in higher passenger capacity compared to conventional coaches.

These hi-tech bogies are “anti-telescopic”, which means they do not turn over even if the train derails or has a collision. The improved suspension system ensures more riding comfort, while the microprocessor controlled high-capacity AC system gives passengers season-wise optimum level of cooling as needed.

The Rajdhani is the main railway link to the national capital from the state capital. There are three trains scheduled on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. From Delhi, the trains return on Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays.

There are also three other trains on the Ranchi-Delhi route, namely Jharkhand Swarnjayanti Express, Sampark Kranti Express and the Garib Rath. But, Rajdhani, owing to its schedule and comfortable journey, remains the most preferred train on this sector.

On the other hand, the Ranchi-Howrah Shatabdi Express runs six days a week (except Sundays). Apart from the Hatia-Howrah Express, which plies at night, Shatabadi is the other superfast train. The third link on this route is an intercity express.

Passengers have been complaining of run-down coaches in these trains for more than three years. Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay too had requested SER authorities to look into the matter.

On May 8, when SER general manager A.K. Verma visited Ranchi, members of various passenger associations and business outfits had urged replacement of decades-old Rajdhani coaches.