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How have Indian Railways coaches/rolling stock evolved over the years?  
1 Answers
Aug 03 2011 (21:23)
Coach Construction/Seating Arrangements

Entry# 449     
↪ abbas*^~
How have Indian Railways coaches/rolling stock evolved over the years?

Aug 03 2011 (21:14)
Blog Post# 214597-0     
ThE BoSs*^~   Added by: ↪ abbas*^~  Aug 03 2011 (21:23)
Q. History of the coaches????
Ans. Next, logically, is the turn of the 'rolling stock'
Over the years, many things have changed in this area too. I remember, as a child, getting into a third-class general compartment — through the window, literally pushed in by someone on the platform. Well, now all the windows have a grill provided for the safety of the passengers. And having done away with the third-class, the second-class is now our lowest class. The second class sitting coaches attached to most day-time intercity expresses are a relatively
new breed — airy and comfortable — and equipped with cushioned seats which I could not dream of in my childhood.
As a boy, I recall whenever we had booking in a sleeper coach, the ubiquitous question was 'in 2-tier or 3-tier?' The immense popularity of 3-tier sleeper coaches have ensured the phasing-out of the once-used '2-tier sleeper-cum-sitting coach'. The 3-tier sleeper coach has got itself promoted from '3rd class 3-tier sleeper' to '2nd class 3-tier sleeper' to 'sleeper class' !!! Since its introduction, the sleeper coaches have constantly and gradually improved — now we have cushioned berths, luggage chains, and more recently, tube-lights in place of bulbs, etc. Some coaches even have a small folding tray-table, and a mirror, which have all contributed to the passengers comfort, and therefore, the popularity of this coach.
But what I miss most now is the old First Class Coach....
In those days, the first class coach had several compartments — with one door on each side of each compartment. Each compartment was really like a living room, with four berths, plenty of space, and an attached toilet for every compartment ....!! Travelling in these coaches was real luxury, I thought (and many of the readers would agree). Thereafter came the 'corridor-type' coaches, which replaced the old, grand first class coach. As we move to the 21st century, the Railways is gradually phasing-out even the corridor-type first-class coaches (which are getting replaced with Airconditioned sleeper coaches). In the same manner, the present 'pantry car', I feel, is a poor substitute of the old 'dining car' or 'restaurant car' Enjoying a lunch or breakfast in the dining car of a moving train was an experience in itself. And I vividly recall the days when the coaches were not vestibuled and interconnected; and therefore, special stops at way-side stations were earmarked to help the passengers go to the dining car, or to return to their coaches after the meal. The Railway time-tables indicated these stops as 'Passengers enter Dining Car'/ 'Passengers leave Dining Ca?' !!! In most trains though, the privilege use of the dininglrestaurant cars was available to upper class (first and airconditioned) passengers only.
On the food front, the metallic thalis used in the past have got replaced with aluminium foil casseroles, making the handling as well as waste disposal more convenient and hygienic.
As a child, I remember that for us, the Airconditioned Class was simply out of reach. My impression (may be incorrect) of this class was that nobody buys a ticket for travelling in this class. That means, all the passengers were either very senior railway or government officials, or Members of Parliament, etc., availing themselves of a 'privilege pass'. The introduction of airconditioned 2-tier sleeper coaches in the late seventies has changed the scenario. Encouraged by the stupendous success of the AC 2-tier coaches, the Railways have, in recent years, introduced the AC 3-tier coaches, which also have proved to be a run-away hit — considered by the travelling public as 'value-for-money'. We will be witnessing growing use of the AC 3-tier coaches to replace the first class and AC 2-tier coaches in the days to come.
Together with the AC 2-tier and AC 3-tier sleeper coaches came the concept of bed-rolls which has indeed made the travel lighter and burden-free for the passengers. Prior to this, the travel-bag service was available from certain important stations for some selected trains, but it was seldom availed of by the passengers, I think. I remember an incident when upon boarding the 8002 Up (then 2 Up) Howrah-Mumbai Mail at Nagpur with my family including my three-year old daughter, we were told that there was no stock of bed-rolls in the AC 2-tier coach. To our dismay, we didn't have anything with us either. However, the conductor promptly sent a message from a way-side station; and so when the train reached Bhusawal Jn., a travel-bag with bed-rolls was promptly waiting to be given to us!
I'm sure many of you have noticed recently the coaches of new design, which has, among other things a new type of vestibule which makes crossing over from one coach to another in a moving train less scary. We are also beginning to see a totally new design of coaches (the differences are noticeable from the entrance door itself) — with designs from DB, Germany and manufactured at Rail Coach Factory / Integral Coach Factory. I often think that the one 'coach' which has perhaps remained unchanged for years is the guard's coach of a goods train!!!
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