Trains to be fitted with biodegradable toilets soon

Railway passengers can bid bye to stinking toilets and unclean railway stations, once rail coaches with bio-toilets hit the rails.

The central workshop of South Western Railway in City, established in 1924, undertaking preventive maintenance schedules of railway coaches, will be soon fixing biodegradable toilets to the coaches.

U Subba Rao, Chief Workshop Manager, Central Workshop, Ashokapuram, said the railways, in association with Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), has developed a bio-toilet system with anaerobic bacteria that feeds on human excreta and converts it into water with pH value 7 (pH value means the level of alkalinity or acidity of the product. If it is below 6.5, it is considered acidic and above 7 alkaline).

These bacterias can live without oxygen and are not killed by ordinary disinfectants that are used while cleaning, and survive for several years. It would be a major breakthrough in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene in railway stations, said Rao, adding that the technology may be adopted by various sectors in future.

P A Salahudheen, Deputy Chief Workshop Manager, said the system had been introduced in Trivandrum-Bangalore Kochuveli Express on a pilot basis and had been successful. This has made the department pursue the project seriously, which plans to fit such bio-toilets to more than 124 coaches for the current year.

Rs 3.2 lakh per coach

Each toilet will cost Rs 80,000 and with each bogie having four toilets, the expense will be Rs 3.2 lakh per coach, he said.

The tanks will be fitted underneath and the process of biodegrading would take a couple of hours. This will not cause any inconvenience to the passengers, he added. An indent has been made in this regard for which the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will be the nodal agency.

The necessary materials have been procured, while the work will be started in the next three months.

The staff of the railway workshop have been sent to Gwalior for training for successful implementation of the same, he added.

Currently, the workshop is fitting controlled discharge toilet system (CDTS) to Low Hopman Bosche bogies, which has a retention tank that is fitted with sensors and will open only when the train exceeds 30 km/hour. The CDTS may be found in trains like Shatabdi and Rajadhani Express.