IR’s Production Plants are now 100% LHB Coach Manufacturing Units; all Railway Workshops modernized
Indian Railways, so as to better the safety standards in rail travel, have decided to fully go with Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) design coaches and stopped production of the old ICF design coaches with effect from April 2018. This decision will mark the distinction among all other major policy decisions taken by Ministry of Railways in the recent past to revamp the Indian Railways.
Meanwhile, in Union Budget for 2017-18, Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley announced a fund called ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK). The fund has been created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore, which is to be utilized over a period of five years for replacement, renewal as well as for upgradation of critical safety assets. Also, in 2018-19, a provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been made out of RRSK to fund essential works for ensuring safety.
The coaches are designed for an operating speed up to 160 km/h and could go up to 200 km/h
. However, they have been tested up to 180 km/h. Their length of 23.54 m and a width of 3.24 m means a higher passenger capacity
, compared to conventional rakes (US: consists). The tare weight of the AC chair car was weighed as 39.5 tonnes. They are considered to be “anti-telescopic”, which means they do not get turned over or flip in case of a collision
These coaches are made of stainless steel and the interiors are made of aluminium which make them lighter as compared to conventional rakes.
Each coach also has an “advanced pneumatic disc brake system” for efficient braking at higher speeds, “modular interiors” that integrate lighting into ceiling and luggage racks with wider windows. The improved suspension system of LHB coaches ensures more riding comfort for the passengers
compared to conventional rakes.
The air conditioning system of the LHB coaches is of higher capacity
compared to the older rakes and is controlled by a microprocessor which is said to give passengers better comfort than the older coaches during summer and winter seasons. They are relatively quieter as each coach produces a maximum noise level of 60 decibels
while conventional coaches can produce 100 decibels.
Each LHB coach costs between ₹ 15 million to 20 million, whereas the power car which houses a generator costs about 30 million. In 2016, IR declared that all ICF coaches will be replaced by LHB coaches to provide more safety and comfort.LHB Coach advantages over ICF Coaches:
The LHB coaches can travel at a higher speed.
The maximum permissible speed for LHB coaches in 160 kmph. These coaches have been tested at speeds ranging 200 kmph. While the ICF coach is permitted to travel at a maximum speed of 110 kmph.
The LHB coaches are anti-telescopic.
These coaches do not penetrate into the adjacent coaches in case of accidents. During collision or derailment, the LHB coaches do not climb on the adjacent coaches
, due to the use of Center Buffer Couling(CBC), instead of the dual buffer system.
The LHB coaches are 1.7 meters longer
than the conventional ICF coaches. This enhances the seating capacity
of the LHB coaches.
The coaches are equipped with FIAT bogie, which has lesser moving parts than the ICF bogie. This results in high durability
of the bogie and requires less maintenance.
FIAT bogie facilitates higher speeds.
The weight per meter of this coach is less
than the ICF coach and is easier to haul.
As the coach is newly designed, the materials used for manufacturing the coach are of superior quality and require less maintenance.
Ride Index of the LHB coaches is 2.5–2.75, less than the ICF ride index of 3.25.
These coaches are equipped with “controlled discharge toilet system” (CDTS) and Bio-toilets
, which are environmental friendly.
The LHB coaches use “advanced pneumatic disc brake system” for efficient braking at higher speeds
The coaches have Modular interiors
. Noise generated by these coaches is 40% less
than the ICF coaches.
The Air Conditioning in theses coaches is of higher capacity and is controlled by a micro-processor
These coaches are of lower cost
when compared to the ICF coaches.
The ICF coaches require Periodic Overhaul(POH) once in 18 months. While the LHB coaches requires POH once in 24 months
. Even the maintenance cost is less
than that of ICF coaches.Demerits:
Due to CBC coupling
, the LHB coaches experience more jerks
The LHB coaches are not self generating
like ICF coaches. A separate generator car has to be used
for its power usage purpose.