The casualties in the Rajdhani Express tragedy, in which at least four people died and 22 others injured, would have been compounded had it not been for the state of art Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches.
Based on German technology, the LHB coaches are equipped with several safety features which prevent a coach from getting pushed on top of another or tumbling over after derailment, sources in the Railway Board told Deccan Herald. Soon after the derailment coaches stuck to the ground, preventing more casualties, they added.
Though 8 coaches of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in Bihar’s Saran district on Wednesday, the casualty was minimal due to the LHB coaches. Also, casualty has been less in earlier incidents involving trains with LHB coaches compared to trains with conventional coaches, sources said.
Made of stainless steel, LHB coaches have more inbuilt advance features and can absorb shock and impact of derailment more effectively. They are anti-telescopic and cannot turn turtle in the event of any derailment or collision. They also provide more comfort to passenger due to improved suspension system, a senior official said.
At present, 600 LHB coaches are made per year in the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala and Raebareli. Initially used in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, now these coaches are used in mail and express trains too. The Railway plans to replace all conventional coaches with LHB coaches in phased manner.
The microprocessor-controlled high capacity air conditioning system in the coaches help monitor temperature within during summer and winter.
The Railways has imported two rakes comprising 20 coaches from Germany in early 2000 and then started manufacturing LHB coaches at the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, after transfer of technology, sources said.
The sound level of LHB coaches is hardly 60 decibels while it is about 100 decibels in conventional coaches, said the official.