GUWAHATI, March 6 - The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is looking to speed up shift to the state-of-the-art Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches and replace the old conventional coaches in the trains operated by the zone.
Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR, told The Assam Tribune that the LHB coaches have many advantages compared to older conventional coaches in terms of both safety as well as passenger comfort.
�The key improvements of this new generation of passenger coach include performance parameters of passenger comfort, safety, and life cycle costs. The coaches being inducted are longer, yet lighter, maintenance-friendly and aesthetic in appearance. LHB coaches are designed in a such a way that they represent a steel light weight construction made from low corrosive and stainless steel, meeting all static and dynamic operational requirements and also meeting consideration of extreme environmental conditions,� he said.
Sharma said that the large vehicle size makes it possible to develop the LHB coach with more travel space, high passenger capacity and wider bays and doorways.
�The per metre length weight of the coach is approximately 10 per cent lesser than that of the conventional coach. It not only means lower haulage costs, but also less wear and tear of the coaches and tracks. The modular construction and integrating of the lighting into the interior ceiling and the luggage racks are characteristic features for the modern interior design,� he said.
NFR started using LHB coaches from July 2012. �At present NFR has 72 mail and express trains. Out of them, 12 have been fitted with LHB coaches. There are 194 LHB coaches in the composition of the 12 trains,� said the NFR CPRO.
Among the trains already fitted with LHB coaches are 12041/42 New Jalpaiguri-Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Shatabdi (11 coaches), 12520/19 Kamakhya-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Kamakhya AC Express (20 coaches), 12552/51 Kamakhya-Yasvantpur-Kamakhya AC Express (20 coaches), 15624/23 Kamakhya-Bhagat Ki Kothi-Kamakhya Weekly Express (20 coaches), 15655/56 Kamakhya-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra-Kamakhya Express (20 coaches), 22512/11 Kamakhya-Mumbai LTT Karmabhoomi Express (20 coaches), 12085/86 Guwahati-Dibrugarh-Guwahati Shatabdi (eight coaches), 12435/36 Dibrugarh Town-New Delhi-Dibrugarh Town Rajdhani Express (21 coaches), 20501/02 Agartala-Anand Vihar Terminal-Agartala Rajdhani Express (19 coaches) and 12504/03 Agartala-Bangalore Cantonment-Agartala Humsafar Express (14 coaches).
Besides, four trains running under the operational control of other zones but providing service to commuters in the NFR zone are also fitted with LHB coaches.
Sharma said that more trains would be fitted with LHB coaches in the next financial year, beginning from April. Among the trains about which final decision for conversion to LHB coaches has been taken is the 15668/67 Kamakhya-Gandhidham-Kamakhya Express. The cost of one LHB coach is between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore.
The LHB coach body is designed and manufactured by leading German company Linke Hofmann Busch Gmbh. The bogie of these coaches is designed and manufactured by M/S FIAT, Switzerland, which is now part of the Alstom Group. In 1995, Indian Railways had entered into a contract with M/S Hoffmann Bosch (now Alstom LHB Gmbh).
Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, was entrusted with the task of developing and manufacturing the coaches under a transfer of technology contract and the first four set of Alstom LHB design coaches was rolled out in 2002.