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Indian Railways in an attempt to make train journeys more comfortable for women passengers travelling with infants has fitted foldable "baby berths" on the side of lower main berths of the Lucknow Mail as part of a pilot project.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra has appreciated the initiative taken by the railway and congratulated Union Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw for the same.

"This is just how I would like to see Indian Railways differentiate itself globally: through ‘human-centric’ design. @AshwiniVaishnaw Given your education & experience, a lot is expected of you. But wonderful to see you lead with both head AND heart!," Anand Mahindra wrote on Twitter.

Indian Railways introduced the "baby berth", which are hinged to the lower main berths, can be folded and secured with a stopper when not in use. It has been aligned to the main berth.

On the AC-3 coach of Lucknow Mail, two "baby berths" of 770 mm in length, 255 mm in width and 76.2 mm in height were fitted to berth number 12 and 60 of the second cabins on both ends of coaches on April 27.

"This has been done on a trial basis and will be expanded once we get positive feedback from passengers. Once we try it out more and record the feedbacks, we will put the necessary details on CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) where it can be booked on request," an official of the Northern Railway said.

"The (booking) system will be like the one we currently use to offer senior citizens lower berths. So, once, a passenger says yes to travelling with a child, we will offer the berth to them. However, it is now at a nascent stage," the official said.

Currently, there is no mechanism to book the lower berth for women who are travelling with infants. Sources indicated that once this facility is expanded and commercialised, ladies using it would have to pay a higher fare for the service.

The railways now charges the full fare for a child of five to 12 years. Earlier it was 50 per cent of the fare.

Officials said the final design of the berth will be an improved one -- probably covered on both sides and with padding on railings.

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