Railway minister Suresh Prabhu not just wants to enrich the travel experience of railway passengers with retro-fitment mission, but also connect with our neighboring countries.
40,000 coaches will be upgraded in the next five years under the retro-fitment mission by railways and the first set of 1,000 upgraded coaches will be rolled out in the period between 2017-18. Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister said to IANS,
Mission retro-fitment is an ambitious programme to upgrade the level of furnishing and amenities in the coaches of Indian railways. It is one of the largest retro-fitment projects in the world, as 40,000 coaches of the Indian railways will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years.
Talking about the process involved, he further added,
The interiors of the coaches would be refurbished and the retro-fitment of Centre Buffer Coupler with balanced draft gear would add more to the safety of the passengers.
Centre Buffer Coupler has anti-climbing features which would prevent damage to life and property during accidents.
This feature is set to be installed in 15,000 new coaches and 35,000 old ones. Rs 15,000 crore has been sanctioned by the railways for this project.
The mission will be challenging as it has also to be ensured that it doesn't disturb the daily operation of trains. The cost for refurbishing one coach would be Rs 30 lakh while retro-fitting would cost Rs 28 lakh.
One could recall that the coaches of Humsafar Express, which was launched in January this year, were refurbished ones with new interiors and better amenities. In the year 2018-19, 3,000 more coaches will be upgraded.
The project is an attempt at providing passengers better amenities and increased safety mechanism while travelling. Apart from that, the ministry has also started taking steps to get connected with neighboring countries through trains. The first country part of this initiative will be Bangladesh. According to PTI, the minister said,
The Railways have already invested enough to connect to our neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmmar. We had talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India (in April) and we had a meeting with a couple of her ministers in Delhi two days ago.