In line with its efforts to contain the spread of novel coronavirus and ensure passenger safety, the Indian Railways has rolled out specially designed coaches for post-coronavirus travel. To develop these coaches, the Railways has spent Rs 3 lakh per non-AC coach and Rs 6 lakh per AC coach.
The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala has manufactured two such coaches. These coaches have amenities like foot operated washbasins, dispensers and toilet flushes, door handles that can be operated with the forearm and handrails coated with copper to prevent the spread of infection.
"Copper has anti-microbial properties. When the virus lands on copper, Ion blasts pathogen and destroys the DNA and RNA inside the virus," India Today quoted a Railways official as saying. This post-COVID-19 coach also has a provision of plasma air equipment in AC duct that "will sterilize the air and surfaces inside the AC coach using ionized air to make the coach coronavirus and particulate matter resistant."
Apart from this, the coach also features fixtures that are coated with titanium oxide. The titanium oxide coating that covers all surfaces costs around Rs 2.5 lakh per coach whereas the plasma ion system costs around Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 lakh per coach. Apart from this, all other fixtures are not very expensive. Thus, the cost per non-AC coach amounts to Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 lakh per annum and Rs 5 to Rs 6 lakh per annum per AC coach.
General Manager, RCF, Kapurthala was quoted by PTI as saying, "We are doing internal research and we also invite the industry to come and give us cheaper options. We have a solution but we need something that will last a million operations."