After introducing AC Economy Class, Indian Railways is firming up plans to convert General Second Class compartments of long distance trains into AC coaches to make the journey comfortable for the common man.
According to the plan, General Class compartments will become reserved AC coaches with seating arrangements for about 120 passengers.
The door system will also be replaced with automatic closing doors, keeping the AC facility in mind.
Besides the AC comforts, the train speed is also likely to be increased up to 130 kmph.
Once it becomes the AC General Class, the fare is also likely to be a little more than the earlier non-AC unreserved fare.
Barring premium services like Rajdhani and Shatabdi, all long distance Mail/Express trains have unreserved compartments for General Class passengers.
However, these unreserved coaches were converted into reserved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic and one has to reserve the tickets in advance for travel.
With Covid cases on the decline and the Railways restoring its normal services, unreserved General Class coaches are expected to be back in business.
The first AC General Class coach is likely to be manufactured in the Railway Coach Factory at Kapurthala in Punjab, said a senior RCF official.
The official further said "We are exploring making seating arrangements for more than 100 passengers. There could be between 120 and 130 seats in the proposed newly designed AC coach."
Besides AC facility, there would be other upgraded amenities as well for the passengers. With General Class becoming AC coach, the entire train would be a reserved class service.
The last time the General Class compartment was upgraded was in 2016 when the Railways introduced Deen Dayalu coaches.
Deen Dayalu coaches offered several passenger amenities such as cushioned luggage racks, padded seats, coat hooks, aqua-guard style water filtration system, bio-toilets, more mobile charging points, toilet occupancy indicators and water level indicators among other facilities.
Recently, the Railways introduced AC Economy Class for which the fare was lower than the AC-3 Class.
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