Southern Railway modifies AC coaches to make them safer in Covid-19 conditions

Southern Railway has introduced 13 pairs of intra-state trains with effect from 07.09.2020 after temporary suspension of intra-state trains as requested by the Govt of Tamil Nadu. Now these intra-state train services are also originating/terminating from/at Dr MGR Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore-two important terminals serving Chennai city.

The extension of train services to Chennai has brought in an increase in the patronage of train services as compared to the patronage that earlier  train services enjoyed when it was not touching Chennai but ran upto Arakkonam or Chengalpattu. Similarly, 7 pairs of special mail/express trains are being run in the State of Kerala.

  • Southern Railway has taken several steps to ensure safe travel for passengers during Covid Pandemic. 
  • O­nly passengers with confirmed tickets and those who are asymptomatic are o­nly allowed to travel. 
  • Thermal screening of passengers is done at the entry point itself. 
  • Regular sanitization of coaches, toilets are being done at terminals.
  • In addition to this several modifications have been done in the air-conditioning parameters to ensure safe journey of passengers in Air-Conditioned coaches also. 
  • Guidelines issued by Ministry of Health, Family welfare and Railway Board are being strictly followed and adhered to in all aspects.
  • RDSO has issued special instructions specially for temperature setting of AC coaches to cater to Covid situation.
  • And as a measure of abundant precaution, issue of bed rolls have been discontinued and curtains have been removed in all AC coaches. 

Temperature Setting:

As a safety precaution, Linen is no longer provided to passengers and as such, the temperature of the LHB AC coaches has been increased from the usual 23 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius using the microprocessor Controlled Unit in the AC Coaches so that the passengers are comfortable. In Non-LHB AC coaches, Electronic thermostats have been modified with a setting of 24 to 26 deg C.

Air Changes Per Hour:

All AC coaches are provided with Roof Mounted Modular AC Package Units called  RMPUs which works to take out the stale air from inside the coach and replace it with fresh air from outside. Railway board has issued guidelines to increase the rate of the fresh air intake. This has been done by increasing the setting of fresh air per minute per passenger from earlier setting of 0.25 m3 to 0.35 m3 per minute per passenger. This setting will ensure that the air is changed at least 12 times per hour, thus increasing the fresh air inside the coaches. Previously the air change per hour setting was 6-8 times.

Quality of Air:

The quality of air inside the AC Coaches are ensured through Air– sanitization. By regular cleaning and sanitization of filters the quality of Air is maintained. These are cleaned during maintenance after every trip. During Periodic Over Hauling, AC ducts of all coaches are cleaned using Robotic procedure.

Thus it can be seen that with the train services including AC coach services in Southern railway being restored in a phased manner with the lifting of lockdown, all measures are being taken to keep the AC coaches in compliance with the stipulations of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Safety Protocols.

Source: Southern Railway-Press Release | Image Credit (representational): MoR