Kochi/Shoranur: Kerala's most popular train Venad Express has begun its run on lightweight aluminium coaches. The interiors have been elegantly decked up and there is now ample space to stretch out your legs between chairs.
Passengers have welcomed the changes wholeheartedly but they have a word of caution - install CCTV cameras to catch those miscreants who scribble on seats. Plus, the train has to keep its schedule.
Venad Express conducts services between Thiruvananthapuram and Shoranur, a distance of 311 km to and fro daily once. And it is the sole short-distance train to have Linke-Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches in Kerala.
An LED board would soon be installed in the AC chair coach to alert passengers on details such as the current station. An indicator too would be put up at the door to alert if the toilets are occupied.
Plug points would be installed near the seats.
One of the second sitting coaches will have a snacks counter.
The train will have one AC chair car, 15 second-class sitting, three general second class, pantry car, and two luggage-cum-brake van coaches. Even the seats in the general coach would have push-back seats.
Lights and fans in the train would be powered by the engine using the head-on generation method.
The Venad received the LHB coaches after a long wait. Now, Venad also sports blue coaches, akin to Shatabdi trains. Railway authorities said that the three general coaches, that do not have chair cars, would also be given chair cars.
Venad, which started services in 1972, was the first double-decker train in Kerala during the 1980s. However, this was discontinued due to security reasons.
The Railways used imported LHB coaches for the first time in 2000 for the Jan Shatabdi Express. Subsequently these coaches began to be manufactured at the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab. In case of accidents, LHB coaches would not pierce into one another. As the bogies are light they produce the least noise. It was also found that the LHB coaches can be run at a speed of 180km per hour.
German locomotive manufacturer Linke-Hofmann-Busch of Germany had originally developed the LHB coaches. The company was renamed Alstom LHB GmbH in 1998 after its takeover by Alstom.