CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu may soon get another UDAY Express as the Southern Railway is planning to replace the Chennai-Bengaluru double-decker Express with UDAY coaches. At the same time, the first UDAY Express between Coimbatore and Bengaluru is likely to commence operation on March 15.
The decision to provide another Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY) Express was taken in the backdrop of complaints over the poor quality of double-decker coaches due to design and maintenance.
Particularly, the railways is unable to redress complaints or it is unable to replace the coaches probably due to lack of spares. Technical constraints in power generating system have made the maintenance an uphill task. “The 10 coaches of Chennai-Bengaluru DD AC Express would be phased out in a few months. Mostly the train will be upgraded as UDAY Express,” said a senior railway official. The double-decker train was introduced on April 25, 2013, with 10 coaches and the number of coaches was later reduced to nine.
The official added that the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, has manufactured a new set of double-decker rakes and if those were allotted to the SR, they would be refurbished as UDAY Express. The UDAY coaches are double-decker AC coaches with the provisions of LCD passenger information system, Wi-Fi, modular toilets and anti-graffiti vinyl wrappings interior and exteriors. In addition, the coaches will have dining space in the middle-deck area with provision of automatic vending machines for tea, milk and coffee. Railway sources said the proposal were also aimed at easing the constraints faced at the Basin Bridge yard in maintaining double-decker coaches.
“The rake of Coimbatore-Bengaluru UDAY Express is likely to be linked with proposed Chennai-Bengaluru UDAY Express. Spare coaches will ease hurdles in maintenance,” added the official. Though capacity of a double-decker coach is 120, the first four coaches will have 104 seats as 16 seats are removed to set the mini-pantry and dining area.