GUWAHATI, Feb 5 - Indian Railways is going to step up allotment of the new generation Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches for the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) and five more trains operated by the zone are expected to be fitted with such modern coaches by the end of next month.
LHB coaches are considered to have much better safety and comfort features, besides requiring less maintenance as compared to conventional coaches.
“Currently, we are operating 41 long-distance trains. Of these, 19 are running with LHB coaches, while the other 22 are still fitted with the conventional coaches manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has directed our zone to step up efforts for converting all trains to LHB from conventional rakes and asked the Railway Board to step up allotment of such coaches to our zone,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer of NFR, told The Assam Tribune.
He added that five more long-distance trains run by NFR are expected to be converted to LHB by March.
These trains are the 12505/12506 Northeast Express, the 12513/12514 Guwahati-Secunderabd Express, the 15903/15904 Dibrugarh-Chandigarh Express, the 15629/15630 Guwahati-Chennai Egmore Express and the 15929/15930 Dibrugarh-Chennai Egmore Express.
He said the NFR requires another 1,087 LHB coaches to fully convert all the remaining 22 long-distance trains. The cost of one LHB coach is between Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore.
Sharma said LHB coaches have much better safety and comfort features.
“LHB coaches have a maximum permissible speed of up to 160 km per hour as compared to the maximum speed of 110 kmph of a conventional ICF-designed coach. Besides, the LHB coach has unique features in its design that prevents it from derailing. It also has anti-climbing features that prevent coaches from climbing over one another even in adverse situations. The coach is fitted with pneumatic disc brakes which provide better braking at higher speeds,” said Sharma.
He said LHB coaches is fitted with superior suspension systems that give a much better ride quality and the air-conditioning in such coaches is microprocessor controlled.
“These coaches have better interiors and are more spacious as compared to a conventional ICF-designed coach. The LHB coach has Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) panels, modular toilets and honeycomb partitions. The outer body of an LHB coach is made of stainless steel and so incidence of corrosion is much less,” said the NFR CPRO.
An AC three-tier LHB coach has 72 berths compared to 64 berths in a conventional ICF AC three-tier coach.
“The LHB coaches are more maintenance-friendly. They need periodic overhaul at maintenance workshops only once in 36 months. ICF-designed coaches require periodic overhauling once in every 18 months,” he added.
LHB coaches are designed and manufactured by leading German company Linke Hofmann Busch Gmbh. The bogie is designed and manufactured by M/s FIAT, Switzerland, which is now part of the Alstom Group. In 1995, Indian Railways had entered into a contract with Hofmann Busch (now Alstom LHB Gmbh).