Capsizing of conventional coaches in three consecutive major train derailments since November last year has pushed the Railways to go for complete elimination of old-designed compartments at Integral Coach Factory (ICF) near Chennai and opt for modern LHB ones.
The Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches are equipped with modern technology to prevent capsizing of coaches during derailment.
As per the plan, manufacturing of ICF conventional coaches will be fully stopped from 2018-19 and production of LHB coaches will be expedited from 2017-18 in a big way to provide a safer and comfortable ride for passengers.
Nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derailed last night near Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh out of which four overturned. Earlier also several coaches capsized during the two major derailments near Kanpur in November and December last year, leading to greater causlaties.
While the production target of LHB coaches has been increased from 1,697 in 2016-17 to 2,384 in 2017-18, there will be 3,025 LHB coaches manufactured in 2018-19, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
According to railways rolling stock production programme, there will be only 801 conventional coaches manufactured in 2017-18 and subsequently no such coaches will be produced.
The official said a massive retrofitting exercise is being undertaken to convert existing conventional coaches into LHB ones by providing crashworthiness features in these coaches.
All safety parameters of LHB coaches like strong couplers and anti-climbing features are being provided during the retrofit exercise.
Currently, railways have about 50,000 conventional coaches which will be retrofitted with modern safety features in phases.