ICF starts rolling-out rakes for full trainsets

This is to avoid exposing new coaches to the vagaries of weather while they are parked in yards. The first two rakes comprising 22 coaches each were sent to South Western Railway.

PERAMBUR: The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here has started rolling out full trains (all rakes) instead of manufacturing coaches which were delivered in installments. Zonal Railways across the country can now place orders for all the rakes required for a train rather than the coaches alone.

After reports of brand new Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches worth several crores of rupees getting damaged due to theft of fittings or weather conditions, senior officials decided to manufacture train rakes in their full composition.

The first two – comprising 22 coaches each, including two two-tier AC and six three-tier AC coaches, were sent to the South Western Railway for the Mysore-Varanasi-Mysore Express trains.

These rakes were put into operation within a week. We are sending spare coaches for these trains so that an old coach is not attached in the event of any requirement. Earlier, we used to manufacture coaches and park them along yards in Chennai Division. Weeks or months later, zones across the country took piecemeal delivery. By then the brand new coaches gathered dust and got damaged due to various reasons, including creepers and rodents,” a senior ICF official said on Wednesday.

Saying that the new method of delivering coaches was a step forward, the official said that zonal railways would now place order for trains and not coaches. “The newly manufactured rakes can be put to operation and maintenance without any delay. For instance, if the order is for Chennai-New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express, we know the composition of that train and will manufacture the coaches accordingly.”

The ICF, which is the largest manufacturer of railway coaches in the world, hopes to roll out a record 4,000 LHB coaches this fiscal. The Indian Railways had taken a policy decision to do away with the conventional ICF design coaches (painted in blue) and replace them with LHB coaches built with German technology.

Violent jerks

Asked about violent jerks on the running trains, a senior official in the Southern Railway said that couplers used for the LHB rakes were actually meant for goods wagons and hence the jerks. “We are trying to replace the couplers with balance draft gears that might minimise the jerks though it would not be possible to eliminate them completely. Long-term solution would be to revert to the Research Designs and Standards Organisation for correcting the design aspects,” the official added.