Rail safety hits right track

Pile-proof LHB coaches for train trio

By Pinaki Majumdar
  • Published 27.02.17
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The new coaches for the three trains that halt at Tatanagar will roll out from March 2

Passengers of three trains halting at Tatanagar can look forward to a more comfortable journey, which again will be high on safety.

South Eastern Railway (SER) has decided to replace conventional ICF rakes of Howrah-Sai Nagar Shirdi Express (22893/22894), Howrah-Mumbai Express (12869/ 12870) and Santragachi-Anand Vihar Express (22857/ 22858) with anti-telescopic, pile-proof Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches that are already used in high-speed trains like Rajdhani and Duronto.

"The decision was taken to ensure safety and comfort of passengers. With the conversion, the accommodation capacity in all the three trains will also be enhanced," an SER spokesperson said over phone from its Calcutta headquarters.

The Shirdi Express, which is a weekly train, will chug on its maiden journey with LHB coaches on March 2 while the daily Mumbai Express will make its super-safe trip on March 3. The weekly Anand Vihar train will also roll out with LHB coaches on March 3.

Officials at Garden Reach headquarters of SER said the Mumbai Express would boast an additional 116 berths - 88 more in sleeper class, 12 additional one in AC-II and 16 in AC-III. The Shirdi and Anand Vihar trains will each boast 86 extra berths after the change. There will 64 additional berths in sleeper class, six more in AC-II and 16 extra in AC-II.

Designed by Alstom, Germany, and manufactured at the Kapurthala coach factory in north India, LHB coaches are currently used in three trains - Howrah-Mumbai Duronto Express, Howrah-Pune Duronto Express and Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express - that cross Tatanagar.

Asked how LHB coaches were more safer than the traditional rakes manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, a Tatanagar engineering division official said the unique German design made the compartments anti-telescopic, which means they don't flip in case of derailment.

"Also, LHB coaches are made of stainless steel as compared to mild steel (less ductile and heavier) in ICF coaches. This increases its shock-absorbing capacity. Furthermore, the special coupling system in LHB reduces the relative motion between two coaches. This prevents one coach from rising above or telescoping into another," the engineer explained.

Chotanagpur Passenger Association has welcomed the decision. "We had taken up the issue (of LHB coaches) for long-distance trains passing through Tatanagar. We hope more trains get these super-safe rakes soon," said Arun Tiwary, a senior functionary.

A frequent traveller and senior official of SCCI Vijay Moonka said apart from ensuring safer travel, a larger number of passengers would be able to board these refurbished trains. "Now, that is quite a big boon."

Which other trains should have LHB coaches? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com