New Delhi: Indian Railways plan to add a middle berth along the corridor of coaches in trains barring Rajdhani Express in order to accommodate more passengers and boost revenues.
This will be done in regular and air-conditioned sleeper berths.
Currently, a three-tier sleeper coach has only two side berths along the corridor. This allows both passengers to sit in separate seats facing each other without blocking the aisle. While a non-AC sleeper coach has total 72 berths, an AC three-tier coach has 64 berths.
However, the railway ministry is now working towards adding nine berths in non-AC sleeper coach and eight berths in AC three-tier coaches on the side by raising the upper berth and fit another berth in the middle.
Fund has already been allocated and the retrofitting work will begin next month, Niraj Kumar, Executive Director, (coaching) told PTI.
It would cost about Rs1.5 lakh per coach to do the retrofitting work. “While the Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) has approved the changed design, we have also got the safety clearance to go ahead with retrofitting work in 12,500 non-AC sleeper coaches and 1,500 AC coaches in our workshops,” said Kumar.
“We have already done it in three coaches in Jhelum Express on an experimental basis”, he added.
There is a considerable increase in passengers. The number of AC three-tier passengers increased from 20.61 million in 2005-06 to 23.89 million while the number of passengers in non-AC sleeper coaches rose from 177 million to 205 million during the same period.