Indian Railways works for better toilets and facilities for disabled
The Indian Railways has been focusing much on improving services. This time, its eyes are on the dismal state of toilets and facilities for the differently-abled. In fact, it is designing an entirely new toilet system, to be launched on the E5 Shinkansen series bullet trains. Men and women will have separate washrooms, which will have hot water and triple mirrors!
About the E5 Shinkansen series on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor
The Railways is spending Rs. 5,000cr to acquire the Japanese E5 Shinkansen bullet trains for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor project, which will cost the department roughly Rs 9,800cr; the remaining expenditure will be borne by Maharashtra and Gujarat. The 508km journey on the mostly elevated corridor (except for a 21km stretch between Virar and Thane) will take about two hours and seven minutes.
Separate toilets for men and women, also for the differently-abled
Apart from separate toilets for men and women, the E5 Shinkansen will have two spacious ones exclusively for passengers on wheelchairs. However, urinals and toilets will be placed on alternate coaches: toilets will be available on coach numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, while 2, 4, 6 and 8 will have urinals. Toilets for men and women will be placed similarly.
Breastfeeding rooms and more for comfort of passengers
The train will have multi-purpose rooms for breastfeeding and sick passengers. The 55 business class seats will offer passengers special luggage space. 698 seats will be classified 'standard class'.
More efforts towards easing travel for the disabled
The Railways also announced "systematic improvement" to ease travel for differently-abled passengers; it said concessions were offered to the orthopaedically handicapped, blind, deaf and dumb, as well as mentally retarded persons. All SLRD coaches will have lower berths for such people. Three thousand coaches are also being modified to include comfortable seating arrangements for the disabled.
Modernization of Indian Railways is a $130bn, five-year affair
Since Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu took charge, a slew of projects including Wi-Fi on trains, drone surveillance, executive lounges and easier ticketing options have been announced. It is planning induction of 40,000 upgraded coaches with improved interiors at a cost of Rs. 8,000cr. Railways is also mulling acquiring technology to run trains without guards. Modernization is being done under a $130bn, five-year project.