Indian Railways Is Building New Coaches To Fight Infection Post Covid-19 Travel

by Arun Kumar Das - Jul 16, 2020 03:45 PM +05:30 IST
Indian Railways Is Building New Coaches To Fight Infection Post Covid-19 TravelMumbai-Delhi August Kranti Rajdhani Express at Palghar. (Superfast1111/Wikimedia Commons
  • The railway’s new coaches have been built with hands-free amenities and plasma air purification.

Stepping up efforts to fight coronavirus infection, Indian Railways has come up with newly designed coaches that are equipped with hands-free amenities such as copper-coated handrails and latches,‬ and plasma air purification‬ among others for a Covid-19-free journey.

Besides, an indigenised ventilator is also in the making to supplement the government's healthcare facilities in the times of Covid-19 pandemic.

Preparing itself for post coronavirus travel, Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala has designed two coaches — one AC and the other non-AC — with many added features to stave off infection.

These two coaches are being sent to Jaipur for trial and likely to be a part of one of the mail/express trains, said RCF General Manager Ravindra Gupta.

The newly-designed coaches are equipped with foot-operated soap dispensers and toilet flushes, and door handles that can be operated with the forearm and handrails coated with antimicrobial copper to make the journey safer.

Retrofitting of more coaches with the anti-infection features would be carried out after the trial, Gupta said.

According to the railways, these added features in coaches would make rail passenger business more robust by boosting passenger confidence in train travel. The cost of retrofitting of the coaches with newly added features is about Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh per coach, said Gupta.

Hands-Free Amenities

These amenities include foot-operated water tap and soap dispenser, foot-operated lavatory door (outside), foot-operated latches in lavatory door, foot-operated flush valve, outside wash basin with foot-operated water tap as well as soap dispenser, forearm operated handle on the compartment door.

Copper-Coated Handrails And Latches

According to the railways, copper degrades the virus on the surface within a few hours’ time as copper has antimicrobial properties. If there is a virus on copper, Ion blasts pathogens and destroys the DNA as well as RNA inside the virus.

Plasma Air Purifier

There is a provision of plasma air equipment in the AC duct. Inside the AC coach, sterilisation of air and surfaces will be done using ionised air to make the coach Covid-19 and particulate matter resistant. There is also an improvement in ion concentration from 100 ions/cm3 to more than 6000 ions/cm3.

Titanium Dioxide Coating

Coating done by titanium dioxide that is nanostructured, functions as photoactive material. The water-based coating is eco-friendly that kills viruses, bacteria, mold, as well as fungal growth. Most importantly, it enhances indoor air quality. It is non-toxic and it has been approved by the food testing laboratory of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CE certified.

Considered to be a safe substance, titanium dioxide is harmless to humans. This coating is applied on washbasins, seats and berths, lavatory, glass window, snack table, floor and virtually every surface that comes in contact. The effective life of titanium dioxide coating is 12 months.

RCF, the production unit of the national transporter, is also in the final stage of manufacturing a ventilator crucial for critical corona patients.

Meanwhile, RCF has also claimed to observe all Covid-19 safety measures such as regular disinfection of workplace, thermal screening at factory entrance, personal hygiene of employees at the workplace, social distancing, public awareness announcements on Covid-19 safety, display of awareness posters for wearing face mask, safety check of all entries at campus entrance gate.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at

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