PPassengers of Mangalore-bound express train were pleasantly surprised on Monday. They happened to be the first few commuters to travel by second class Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches introduced by Southern Railway.
The coaches that were idle due to lack of safety clearance from authorities for several months finally chugged out of the Central Station. Unlike the conventional coaches, the red-and- grey compartments have several safety features, additional seats and ladders for the upper berths in first class air-conditioned compartments.
“These coaches run at a speed of over 160 KMPH. LHB coaches have been designed with safety features like anti-climbing feature, wherein there would no telescopic effect if there’s an accident,” said a senior railway officer.
Although second class LHB compartments were delivered to Southern Railway, sources said they were not used for several months due to non-availability of power cars. Against this backdrop, two Power Cars were added to Chennai-Mangalore Express paving the way for running the second class LHB coaches.
“LHB coaches have the advantage of extra seats. While the conventional coaches have only 72 seats per coach, 80 seats are available in LHB compartments. Similarly, third class AC and second class AC coaches have eight and four extra seats respectively when compared to conventional coaches,” said another official.
Acknowledging that LHB coaches have better seats, passengers said they were facing few problems like unfoldable bottle holders fixed between two lower berths. “Still, three people can comfortably be seated on the lower berths,” said Sakthivel, who was travelling to Salem.