RCF, Kapurthala plans to produce as many as 248 coaches.
A few days ago, the prototype of the Indian Railways AC 3-tier economy class was finalized for oscillation trials at the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in Lucknow. The AC 3-tier economy class coach is meant to be an air-conditioned and affordable version of the non-AC Sleeper class. The task of developing this coach was given last to Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, last year, which is the maker of the LHB coaches in India. According to an IE report, AC 3-tier is the only travel class that makes a clear profit for Indian Railways. AC 3-tier economy class is expected to offer AC travel to the masses while keeping it affordable.
According to officials, the entire coach has been reimagined from scratch. Ravinder Gupta, General Manager of RCF, was quoted in the report saying that the factory will start the series production by February-end. RCF, Kapurthala plans to produce as many as 248 coaches. At present, the cost is estimated at between Rs 2.8 to 3 crore per coach, which is around 10 per cent more than the existing AC 3-tier coach. The earning potential of these coaches is also higher for the national transporter, owing to more capacity. The next aim is to redesign Indian Railways’ general unreserved compartment and turn that, too, into an air-conditioned class, the report said. Following are some key features of the AC 3-tier economy class:
The new coach, instead of 72 passengers, has a seating capacity of 83 passengers. In a first, the extra seating space was achieved by shifting the high-voltage electric switchgear, now installed on board all coaches, to the underframe.
In this coach, every berth has its own, individual AC vent. For this, the whole AC duct system in the coach was redesigned.
In a new initiative, each coach has been provided with a wider, and one disabled-friendly, toilet entry door.
The berths boast new, modular design. The ladder used by passengers for climbing to upper berths has a new design. According to designers, this one is non-intrusive. In the middle and upper berths, there is now increased headroom.
The new coach has foldable snack tables in both longitudinal and transverse bays, as well as holders for phones, water bottles, etc.
The interior of the coach has aircraft-like luminescent aisle markers, as well as illuminated berth indicators, luminescent berth numbers integrated with night lights.
The eastern ad western-style toilets boast new design.
The coach has adjustable window curtains. The fire safety system complies to the world benchmark of EN45545-2 HL3 for materials.