In an ambitious move towards modernization, Indian Railways is set to revolutionize its Mail-Express trains by upgrading their coaches to the standards of the Vande Bharat Express. This transformation aims to enhance the speed, safety, and comfort of these trains, allowing them to operate at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour.


Key Highlights of the Upgrade:


  • Increased Speed and Efficiency: The upgraded Mail-Express trains will soon hit the tracks at a speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour, a significant increase from the current maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour of the old ICF coaches.


  • Transition to Vande Bharat Coaches: The old ICF (Integral Coach Factory) coaches, known for their heavy iron construction and designed for lower speeds, are being replaced with the modern, lightweight, and sturdy stainless steel coaches akin to those used in the Vande Bharat Express. This not only enhances speed but also safety and durability.


  • Improved Safety Features: The new coaches will be equipped with automatic doors, similar to those in metro trains, which open only when the train comes to a halt, significantly increasing passenger safety.


  • Manufacturing Base: The ICF coaches, traditionally manufactured in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and known for their heavier weight due to iron construction, will be phased out. The new coaches, designed for higher speeds, will herald a new era in passenger train travel in India.


  • Cost and Capacity Benefits: While the old ICF coaches were more expensive to maintain and offered less seating capacity (Sleeper – 72 & AC-3 tier – 62), the Vande Bharat coaches are expected to be more cost-effective and potentially offer more seating due to their efficient design.


  • Safety and Durability: One of the critical drawbacks of the old ICF coaches was their tendency to pile up during accidents, leading to significant casualties. The new Vande Bharat coaches are designed to mitigate such risks, ensuring a safer travel experience.


Implementation Timeline:

With around 40,000 ICF coaches currently in operation across Indian Railways, the transition to Vande Bharat coaches is expected to take four to five years.

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