Railways slow on equipping trains with LHB coaches
New Delhi: The Railways are yet to equip all important express and mail trains with modern LHB coaches as a safety measure even as today's train derailment near Jaunpur brought the focus back on the need for replacing outdated bogies.
Five persons were killed and 50 others injured when eleven coaches of Howrah-Dehradun Doon Express derailed near Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh today.
"Had there been LHB coaches the severity of the accident would have been less," Railway Board Member (Engineering) AP Mishra said.
The Kakodkar committee on safety has also strongly recommended replacement of all conventional coaches with LHB coaches in experess and mail trains as a safety measure.
Admitting the need for replacement of all conventional coaches, Mishra said "Railways have plans to replace gradually all conventional coaches with LHB coaches in all express and mail trains."
The German technology-based LHB coaches are anti-telescopic and cannot turn turtle in the event of any derailment or collision. These coaches also have fire-retardant quality and advanced couplers which are comparatively safer during the accident.
Currently there are about 1000 LHB coaches and about 45,000 conventional coaches being operational railways.
LHB coaches are used only in premier trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto.
While it costs Rs 1.5 crore to manufacture a conventional coach, the LHB coach costs about Rs 2.5 crore.
Keeping the urgency in mind, railways have decided to manufacture about 800 LHB coaches in the current fiscal, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The LHB coaches, manufactured under technology-transfer from Germany, have automatic couplers to join two coaches. Unlike conventional coaches where one needs to go inside the coach and move through the vestibule to uncouple two coaches, these advanced couplers can be very easily uncoupled from the outside.