In an important update, the Indian Railways has now said that sleeper class bogies in mail and express trains will not be replaced by AC coaches. It has dismissed reports which stated that the new semi-high speed trains are planning to remove current sleepers and general coaches in the express trains.
In a virtual press conference, Railway Board Chairman and CEO VK Yadav said, ‘We will definitely keep sleeper class coaches…Railways is not shutting it down.’
According to VK Yadav, Railways is working on a plan to increase the speed of trains in its current network, adding that the work of upgrading the track to achieve 160 km/hr speed has started.
He further stated that because of this fast speed, passengers in the sleeper class coaches will face problems, and therefore it has decided to make new AC-3 tier coaches, which will be launched by next year.
“Our aim is to make travel by AC trains much cheaper and its fare will be between S-3 and sleeper class range,” Yadav added.
The railways are planning to bring AC coaches of not only 72 but 83 berths in trains soon. AC coaches of 83 berths are being prepared in the railway coach factory, which will be launched on the track soon.
Currently, the 3rd AC coach has 72 berths or seats, but Railway is preparing to increase the seating capacity in trains through the new design of coaches. By increasing the seating capacity of passengers in trains, passengers will be able to get confirmed tickets easily.
According to the Railways, old tracks are being renovated on several routes across the country, due to which trains can run on these tracks at high speed. Keeping in mind the upgradation of tracks, the railway is now preparing to run many high-speed trains
Although some trains are running at a speed of 130 kmph, the intention of the Railways is to increase the numbers and run mail and express trains across the country at high speeds. And in order to increase the speed of the trains, the coaches are also being upgraded.
Railways is planning to have AC coaches in high-speed Trains rather than normal sleepers and general coaches. For trains running at semi-high speeds, aerodynamic and AC coaches are extremely important. However, some trains will still continue to have sleeper and general coaches. The change will largely happen in semi-high speed trains.
According to the Ministry of Railways, special coaches are being prepared at Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala and are expected to be ready in the next few weeks. Trains in the first phase will run on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah route. By next year, 200 more such coaches will be ready said the railway authorities.
It has been assured by the Railways that though such trains will not have sleeper coaches, the fare of such trains will be taken care of so that it is affordable for those who have been travelling in non-AC coaches.
The intention to run semi-high speed trains by the Railways is to cut travel time and avoid delays that the Indian Railways has always been infamous for. With the renovation of tracks, the Railways also intend to increase the speed of trains on general routes. However, travelling in these semi-high speed trains could be a little costly.