Indian Railways Development Fund
Reuters File

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched one of the largest retro-fitment drives of the country on Tuesday, June 13, under which 40,000 old and battered coaches will be upgraded to comfortable trains with better safety features.

"Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious programme to upgrade the furnishing and amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways. This is one of the largest retro fitment project in the world," said Prabhu. 

The project aims at refurbishing all the old coaches in the next five years.

Supertrain Tejas Express starts 3 hours late; yet reaches destination a minute before schedule

The new coaches will have attractive berth covers, modified berths, reading lights, LED lights, modular bio-toilets, powered venetian blinds and anti-graffiti coating. The modernised coaches will also boast of enhanced passenger security, including fire and smoke detection system, double acting compartment door, round edged furniture to prevent injuries, braille signage, and more mobile and laptop charging ports for the convenience of passengers.

A major takeaway of the retro-fitment drive is that coaches will be stronger and will not climb on other coaches in case of an accident as they will be fitted with centre buffer couplers, which have inherent anti-climbing property.

The total cost of modifying and retro-fitting 40,000 coaches will be nearly Rs 15,000 crore. "The cost of refurbishing one coach will be nearly Rs 30 lakh while that of retro-fitting will be Rs 28 lakh," said Ravindra Gupta, member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board.

The government plans to roll out the first lot of 2,000 modernised coaches in 2017-18.