In a move to relieve travellers in sleeper coaches, Indian Railways has proposed to launch a new class of ‘Economy AC coaches’ with fares less than normal 3AC tariff.
The idea is to introduce fully AC trains on select routes to provide AC comfort to maximum passengers. A separate cell has been created by the Indian Railways to undertake an exercise to transform services by upgrading existing facilities in trains and stations.
The proposed fully AC train will have three-tier Economy AC coaches besides AC-3, AC-2 and AC-1 classes as part of the transformation exercise. The added feature will be automatic doors.
However, the passengers will not require blankets in the Economy AC class like other AC coaches.
“There will not be any chilling effect like in other AC classes and the temperature will be fixed around 24-25 degrees. The aim is to make the passengers comfortable and not make them feel the outside heat,” a senior Railway Ministry official told PTI.
Even though the fully AC train with more economy AC coaches is expected to cater to more passengers, the details of the economy AC class are to be worked out before deciding for manufacturing such coaches.
Of the ones currently on track, the Mail and Express trains have Sleeper, Third AC, Second AC and First AC classes. The fully air conditioned trains include Rajdhani, Shatabdi and recently introduced super fast Tejas express.
Humsafar Express, comprising 3-AC coaches only, with its added features like reading materials, detachable boards, comfortable seats, mobile charging points, mirrors, luggage racks, family and baby-friendly seats and toilets etc. has become very popular.
What the new Economy AC class has in store is still a mystery, but it’s definitely a beginning to comfortable travel.