BENGALURU: A total of 180 out of the 1,200 train coaches in the Bangalore Railway Division are Linke Hofmann Busch (LFB) ones. Replacing the conventional coaches with the safer LHB ones will be a costly affair mainly because these coaches cannot generate power on their own, feel top railway officials.
A high-level railway meet held in New Delhi in the wake of the Indore-Patna Express derailment that caused 146 deaths, has decided to speed up the replacement of old coaches with the German-designed ones. As of now, the Rajdhani Express (Bengaluru to Delhi) Shatabdi Express (Bengaluru to Chennai), Duronto Express (Bengaluru to Delhi) and the Duronto from Yeswanthpur to Howrah make use of the LHB coaches.
Top railway officials reiterate that LHB coaches are definitely more safer than traditional ICF-manufactured coaches due to two aspects. “An LHB coach has the anti-climbing or anti-telescopic feature in-built which means that one coach will never climb or slide into another. The other aspect is the coupling between coaches, known technically as Centre Buffer Coupling. This is a big safety feature between coaches,” said a top mechanical engineer of the Division. The Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala is the only one in the country which manufactures LHB coaches. While the conventional coach costs Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.25 coach depending on a general compartment or sleeper coach, LBH coaches are likely to cost at least Rs 1.5 crore each.
Elaborating on the power set-up in the regular coaches, the official said, “Below each coach we have a motor and a battery for electricity generation. A belt provided on the wheel and axle generates power which charges the battery and is used for all electricity requirements within a coach. The electricity generated for each coach is just 120 ampere hour,” said an official. This is totally self-generated and involves no cost. However, in the case of LHB coaches electricity requirement is very high due to the air-conditioning. “Two power cars are provided in each of these trains. The requirement here is 1100 ampere hour per coach.”
Diesel is used to generate the electricity in LHB coaches and this raises the fuel requirement manifold, the official added. “Every kilometre travelled by a train involves consumption of 3 litres of diesel just to meet the power requirements like lights and air conditioning. This is not so in the normal coaches.