INDIA: The first Indian Railways double-deck rolling stock to feature air-conditioning was officially launched by Minister of Railways Dinesh Trivedi at Howrah station on October 1.

The Ministry of Railways said the successful development of an air-conditioned version of the double-deck stock by the Research Development & Standard Organisation and Rail Coach Factory is 'a clear illustration of Indian Railways' capabilities in design and manufacturing'.

The diesel locomotive-hauled Howrah - Dhanbad Express runs five days a week.

The nine-coach trainset comprises seven double-deck vehicles offering 128 seats each, plus two generator cars. The coaches feature an 'aesthetically pleasing' stainless steel body, Eurofima type bogies with air springs and control emission toilets. The maximum speed is 110 km/h, and the stock are limited to routes where platforms and overhead electrification has been modified to provide adequate clearance.