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Railways set to launch India’s first passenger cum cargo coaches

Borrowing the concept of belly freight, Indian Railways will soon use coaches that will carry passengers and freight (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ani1yadav)

Taking a leaf from the aviation sector, the Indian Railways will soon have double-decker coaches that will carry freight as well as passengers. The first of such coaches which are based on the belly freight concept are being designed by Kapurthala’s Rail Coach Factor and these are expected to be rolled out this month itself.

These coaches will accommodate 46 passengers for whom there will be seats on the executive upper deck which will also include a pantry and toilets. On the lower deck there will be space to store up to six tonnes of cargo. It will be fully air-conditioned.

It was during the Covid pandemic that this concept emerged in the Railways when they earned revenue mainly from transportation of cargo while the passenger movement was low. Nearly three designs have been submitted for approval and the costs are being worked out. It is expected that each coach will cost between Rs.2.70 to 3 crores.

Sharing details an official told the media that the concept has been borrowed from airplanes in which goods are transported in the lower deck of the passenger aircraft while people occupy the upper deck.

The prototype will be sent for trial to the Research Designs and Standards Organization, Railways’ research and development organization and once approved they will be manufactured. The authorities are planning to come up with two such trains with 20 coaches each. They will run regularly as scheduled service on a fixed route between designated points.