The Northeast Frontier Railway introduced Linke-Hofmann-Busch (LHB) coaches to the Guwahati-Bikaner Express on Saturday, around a year and nine months after the train met with an accident in Jalpaiguri district.
On Saturday, a minister of the Assam government flagged off the train with LHB coaches from Guwahati station. Senior railway officials were also present at the event.
The train now has 22 LHB coaches, said sources.
In January last year, 12 coaches of the train bound for Guwahati jumped off the tracks at Domohani, a locality in Mainaguri block of Jalpaiguri.
The train had been running with Integral Coach Factory (ICF) coaches, the conventional coaches that are used in most Indian Railways lines. Six of its coaches were severely impacted. Nine persons died while 36 others got injured in the accident. Several victims were migrant workers from Bengal.
The weekly train, which connects the Northeast with north India, covers a distance of over 2,300 kilometres.
After the accident, questions were raised as to why the railways are not changing the old ICF coaches with LHB ones, considered to be safer for long-distance trains.
“The train, however, continued to run with the ICF coaches for another year and nine months. Finally, the railways made the change today. The LHB coaches provide better riding comfort. Moreover, in the case of any accident, the impact is less which thus lessens the risk of casualty or injury of the occupants,” said a former railway official.
An official of the NFR agreed.
“The LHB coaches are more spacious and comfortable with better passenger amenities. Also, from the security point of view, the improved suspension system and the hydraulic shock absorbers are better than conventional rakes,” said the source in the NFR.