Age-old coaches on trains a danger
Kochi: Old coaches that have outlived their utility are widely deployed in Express trains running through the Thiruvananthapuram division, posing a major safety issue.
For instance, a 23-year-old coach (No 92616) is being used in the Venad Express while 22-year-old bogie (93344) is deployed in the night-running Malabar Express.
“The rule doesn’t allow compartments with over 20 years of age to be used for Express trains. At the best they can be used in ordinary trains as the railways have now increased the maximum coach life to 25 years. However, using the coaches for Express trains running at nearly 60 kmph is a cause of concern. The respective officials are forced to do this due to coach shortage faced by the division,” said a railway employee with the mechanical division.
The division has in total 1,728 coaches and out of this 181 are in the 21 to 25 years category. While 429 are in the 16-20 years group, only 428 are below five years of age.
“On appearance itself, the coach used in Venad seems to be very old with rust seen in many parts. The railways must replace them as there are instances in the division itself when old coaches have resulted in mishaps. A coach broke into two while in transit at Alappuzha a couple of years back,” said Gireesh Kumar, a regular passenger.