INDIA: A initial 24 coaches which have been fitted with new interiors, colour schemes and passenger amenities as a ‘model rake’ for a mid-life refurbishment programme were unveiled at Delhi’s Safdarjung station on January 11. Indian Railways said it was ‘committed with renewed vigour to improve upon the interior furnishing of coaches across all classes’.

The refurbishment was undertaken by IR’s Carriage Rehabilitation Workshop in Bhopal in association with Vadodara-based Hindustan Fibre Glass as part of an Rs315m programme covering 111 coaches of various types which are to be completed in 2016-17.

The structure of the 12 to 15-year old coaches has been strengthened, and the interiors completely replaced. Fire-retardant composite panels without visible screws have been installed, while stainless steel panelling is fitted in luggage compartments.

Sleeping car upper berths have ‘ergonomically designed’ ladders, while snack tables for side berth passengers have an ‘innovative’ design. LED lighting has been fitted, including berth reading lights in GSCN cars, with LED berth reservation indicators to assist passengers boarding at night.

Instead of curtains, powered blinds have been provided in FAC coaches and roller blinds in ACCW coaches.
There are public address and passenger information systems in all cars, and power sockets are provided. The toilets have been fitted with larger mirrors, new washbasins, controlled discharged water tap, odour control systems and ventilation fans. Waste bins are provided in all cars.

Fire safety measures include the provision of fire extinguishers, installing new cables and conduit and moving electrical systems to non-passenger areas.

The cost of upgrading coaches to the standard of the model rake is put at around Rs1·8m for non-air-conditioned cars and Rs2·5m for air-conditioned vehicles.