New Delhi, Apr 24: Indian Railways would require 22,500 new coaches for its mail, express and passenger trains during the Eleventh Plan (2007-2012), the Lok Sabha was informed today. In a written reply, Minister of State for Railways R Velu said the existing passenger coaches are made of corten steel and are comparatively heavier and not sturdy in the structural strength.
''Coaches of this design are more prone to corrosion and demand higher attention during the major overhauls. The carrying capacity of these coaches is also limited. The service life of such coaches has been prescribed as 25 years,'' Mr Velu pointed out. The Minister said superior quality LHB stainless steel coaches, acquired through a Transfer of Technology, had already been inducted into some Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
Mr Velu also said the Ministry had recently taken a policy decision to start manufacture of superior design stainless steel coaches even for all other mail, express and passenger services in a phased manner.
These coaches have higher carrying capacity, higher service life of 35 years owing to corrosion-resistant properties, higher periodicity between overhauls, aesthetically appealing interiors and upgraded passenger amenity items.
About 100 such coaches have been planned for manufacture during 2008-09.
In order to enhance safety in coaches, he said Railways had evolved a 'crashworthy' coach design along with provision of Central Buffer Coupler.
Mr Velu said such a coach would provide 'anti-climbing' features and enhance passenger safety in case of an accident.
Production of these coaches has already commenced in the production units during 2007-08 and about 135 crashworthy coaches have already been manufactured.