A new coach factory to manufacture stainless steel coaches will come up at Kolar near Bangalore with the project cost to be shared by the Ministry of Railways and Karnataka government.

The Karnataka government has provided land free of cost for the new factory which will manufacture 500 stainless steel coaches per annum, Alok Johri, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, New Delhi said here on Wednesday.

A MoU has been signed for the upcoming project costing Rs. 1,460 crore, Mr. Johri told reporters at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop after flagging of the fourth oil-fired steam locomotive meant for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Stating that the State government would also bear the cost escalation, Mr. Johri said the factory would become fully functional by March 2018.

He said the Railway was manufacturing around 4,000 coaches per year through its coach manufacturing units at Kapurthala in Punjab, Perambur in Chennai and Rae Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

The number of coaches manufactured at the Rae Bareilly plant would increase from 150 at present to 300 next year. It would touch 1,000 coaches in a couple of years, he said.

Regarding the status of the new coach factory at Palakkad in Kerala, Mr. Johri said the Railway had purchased land from the State government at a cost of Rs. 34 crore for the project.

Owing to financial constraints, the factory would be set up under the PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode, he said adding that the Railway had received one offer. He said the Railway had focussed on fire alarm system and planning for better exit for coaches in the wake of instances of fire accidents on trains. In addition to introducing fire retardant materials, he said the Railway had plans to redesign the doors.

There was a relook at emergency windows and designs had been worked out in this regard, Mr. Johri said.