To deal with the increasing number of passengers, the railway ministry has decided to add another middle berth along with the corridor of coaches in trains in coming days. The new scheme to add another berth would not be applicable in Rajdhani Express.
The Indian railways have decided to take this step to accommodate more passengers in a single train and to boost revenues as well. According to the report, the new scheme of adding another berth will be done in all regular and air-conditioned sleeper berths.
According to the railway data, the number passengers in of AC three-tier coaches have been increased from 20.61 million to 23.89 million in 2005-06. While, the number of passengers in non-AC sleeper coaches have been increased from 177 million to 205 million in the same period.
At present, the three-tier sleeper coach has the system of only two side berths, one side lower berth and one side upper berth, along with the corridor of the coach. The current arrangement allows both passengers to sit in separate seats facing each other without blocking the passageway. Now, the ministry has decided to add one more berth in that arrangement.
The new arrangement of rising the upper berth and fit another berth in the middle would allow nine passengers in every coach to get a confirmed berth in regular coaches and eight passengers in AC three-tier coaches. At present, a non-AC sleeper coach has total 72 berths; an AC three-tier coach has 64 berths.
Niraj Kumar, Executive Director, (coaching) said that the railway ministry has already allocated the funds to start the retrofitting work from next month. According to him, the cost of retrofitting would be about Rs 1.5 lakh per coach.
The Research Design and Standard Organization (RDSO) has given its approval for the changed design. The retrofitting work in 12,500 non-AC sleeper coaches and 1,500 AC coaches will be given the needed safety clearance now. He further said that the retrofitting work has been completed in three coaches in Jhelum Express on an experimental basis.