MADURAI: Indian Railways has decided to introduce an unreserved coach for women passengers in the centre of both local and passenger trains.
Sources from Southern Railway said the railway board had recently directed all railway zones to provide this facility. “The Railways is studying the feasibility of earmarking a coach or a portion of a coach in the middle of the trains for women passengers, without shifting the existing ladies compartments. Suburban trains will be exempted from this,” said the sources.
The ladies compartments in passenger and local trains are located next to the driver’s coach in the front of the train and near the guard’s compartment, in the rear of the train. According to the sources, a Cabinet Committee on Empowerment of Women has requested the Railways to consider shifting the ladies compartment to the centre to avoid inconvenience to women passengers.
Except Chennai division, all the other divisions in Southern Railway including Madurai, Salem, Tiruchchirappalli, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram operate only passenger and local trains. Passenger trains have 9 to 10 coaches while local trains run with 9 to 12 cars.
A senior Railway official expressed that there were genuine constraints in earmarking seats for women in 9-coach passenger trains. “The density of female passengers is being studied across the zones.
Meanwhile, the Southern Railway has requested passengers to provide feedback on the availability and proper functioning of toilets in railway stations, in Madurai division. According to a press release, railways had recently launched a drive to study the availability of toilet facilities in railway stations till April 20. The passengers can contact railway authorities at 0452 - 230 8250, to register their comments. The public can also contact Commercial Control, headquarters in Chennai at 90031 60995.