The much-hyped train was announced in the 2011-12 budget
The adage “Old wine in a new bottle” will be apt to describe the much-hyped Duronto AC Express between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam, the launch of which has been delayed by more than a year.
The rake of the decades-old Rajadhani Express has been sent to the Lallaguda workshop for a major overhaul and vinyl-wrapping to give it a ‘Duronto look', according to reliable sources. Even this may take about a month by which time the summer heat may subside.
It may be recalled that the Secunderabad-Visakhapatnam Duronto was announced in the 2011-12 budget by the then Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee. The launch has been delayed for want of a dedicated rake. The present Rajdhani rake allotted to the Duronto, made by Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Perambur, was in service for more than 20 years.
The Railways had suddenly decided to replace all Rajdhani rake with the LHB rake. The LHB rake, procured for Durontos, are coming in handy for this purpose.
There are around 30 Duronto Expresses running at present. Some of them are Day/Intercity type (below 700 km) Durontos and Sleeper Class Durontos, which are running mostly with conventional coaches. Many of the ICF conventional Durontos got new rakes. Almost all the AC Durontos are running with LHB rake only. All long distance AC Duronto (11 of them), except Lokmaya Tilak Terminus-Allahabad and Pune-Nizamuddin, are running with LHB coaches only.
Now Secunderabad -Visakhapatnam, Chennai-Madurai and Chennai-Trivandrum, all AC Durontos, will get old Rajadhani rake.
The Secunderabad-Vskp Duronto will be the third Duronto of SCR. The other two Secunderabad-LTT and Secundrabad-Nizamuddin have brand new LHB rake. One fails to understand why Visakhapatnam should be given old Rajdhani rake. New ICF rake can be allotted pending allotment of LHB rake, feel railway activists from the city, who have been closely monitoring the developments.
Why LHB rake?
One may wonder why so much fuss over LHB rake. The Linke Holfmann Bush (LHB) coaches are manufactured with German technology. LHB coaches, costing Rs.1.5 crore to Rs.2 crore each, are superior to conventional coaches and can run at maximum speed ranging between 160 and 200 km/ph. They are anti-telescopic and cannot turn turtle in the event of any derailment or collision.
LHB coaches have an improved suspension system and offer superior comfort. LHB coaches are fitted with microprocessor controlled high capacity air conditioning system, which gives passengers better comfort during summer and winter season. These coaches have capacity to accommodate about 72 passengers in each AC-3 coach as against 64 passengers in other AC-3 conventional coach.
The noise level of LHB coaches is hardly 60 decibels while it is around 100 decibels in conventional coaches. The disc brake system of LHB coaches is superior to that of conventionally used thread brake system.